International Urban Cooperation (IUC)

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    From 16 to 19 July, Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Crețu is in China. Monday in Beijing, the Commissioner will participate in the annual EU-China High Level Regional Policy Dialogue with Vice-Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People's Republic of China, Mr Lin Nianxiu. On this occasion, and in the context of the EU’s new International Urban Cooperation programme, five joint declarations are planned for signature between Chinese and European cities: Kunming and Granada (ES); Haikou and Nice (FR); Yantai and Rome (IT); Liuzhou and Barnsley (UK) and Weinan and Reggio Emilia (IT).

    Wednesday in Zhengzhou, Commissioner Creţu will deliver the closing remarks at the EU–China High Level Forum: Innovation for Green and Smart Cities, a side event in the EU-China Summit taking place on  16-17 July in Beijing.

    "My visit to China symbolises our excellent cooperation on regional and urban development policy over the last 12 years," said Commissioner Creţu, "Under our International Urban Cooperation Programme, EU and Chinese cities exchange best practices and develop solutions to tackle common challenges linked to urbanisation, with commitment and hard work on both sides."

    The dialogue with China on regional policy was launched in 2006. Since then, both sides have met annually in 'High-Level Meetings' and agreed joint statements setting out work priorities.

    This call is for EU regions interested in the development of cooperation opportunities with the Brazilian States of Paraná, Pernambuco and Pará. You could register your expression of interest until the 15th of June 2018 (midnight). 

    The EU awarded regions will be visited by the 3 Brazilian counterparts on purpose to promote their best practices on innovation themes or sectors of common interest. Through the entire project, an on-line platform will allow participants to exchange knowledge on the selected areas. On a later stage of the exchange of experiences two experts from each of the selected EU regions will take part in a conference in Brazil involving the three states and the Federal government. The costs related to the participation of European experts will be covered by the project.

    INNOV-AL Platform is a EU funded project for the promotion of decentralised innovation policies and cooperation in territorial cohesion. The project is supported by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission (DG REGIO). The objective is to support the dissemination of the EU regional policy experience and good practices and to develop further cooperation between national and regional authorities and specialised agencies in the three Brazilian States as well as between Brazilian partners and EU regions on the implementation of decentralised, regional-level innovation and smart specialisation policies. Participating regions could have the possibility to conclude cooperation agreements or alternatively engage directly in concrete cooperation activities identified through the networking and knowledge exchange process. Please check the call overview here ( to read more about this project and check out the short description of the three Braizlian States open for pairing and cooperation.

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Sustainable and innovative cities and regions – 2016/2019

Connecting cities and ideas for better urban living

Cities are growing and changing so fast that many authorities are struggling to cope. More people can mean more economic activity and wealth, but it can also mean added strain on energy, water, health, transport and housing facilities. All this, in turn, puts pressure on the environment, and more widely on climate change.

This is why the European Union is launching a three-year programme to promote international urban cooperation. Europe’s cities want to link up, build and share knowledge and solutions with other cities and regions.

In this first phase of a long-term strategy of fostering urban diplomacy – a vehicle of EU external relations – the IUC boosts sectoral, transversal and international urban cooperation and exchange with key city partners (public and private) in Asia and the Americas (box). With a budget of over EUR 20 million, IUC activities support Habitat III goals as well as the Paris COP 21 declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The IUC will build on existing cooperation through:

  • City-to-city cooperation on sustainable urban development
  • Sub-national action under the Global Covenant of Mayors initiative
  • Inter-regional cooperation on innovation for local and regional development

Target countries include China, India, Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. For the Covenant initiative, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)  are included.

City-to-city cooperation on sustainable urban development

Building on the success of the World Cities project and drawing on the solid approach of the EU-funded URBACT network, city pairs will be supported in their efforts to design, implement and manage sustainable urban practices in an integrated and participative way. Local action plans will be developed through an inclusive multi-stakeholder process and include specific activities and economically viable pilot projects to be implemented in the short term in order to ensure results and open up market opportunities. These plans will help drive thematic clustering of knowledge, exchange and best practices among cities facing similar challenges.

Sub-national action under the Global Covenant of Mayors initiative

Cities and other sub-national authorities will be encouraged to join a global initiative to tackle climate change challenges focused on mitigation, adaptation and universal access to energy, in line with the principles of the EU Covenant of Mayors. Support on methodologies, governance, training and capacity building will be provided, as well as technical assistance to encourage implementation of ambitious climate commitments. A powerful knowledge-sharing element will spur inter-city cooperation, learning and innovation.

Inter-regional cooperation on innovation for local and regional development

Support will focus on ways to improve and internationalise regional innovation and cooperation in and between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean. The programme will stimulate the development or strengthening of regional strategies involving SMEs in the innovation sector, and it will promote international value chains.  It will collect and share experience, good practice and lessons learnt to enable knowledge management and development.  The Smart Specialisation (S3) platform established by the European Commission will act as a multiplier to further promote knowledge sharing inside the EU as well.

Tackling the funding gap

To address a recognised barrier for progress on urban development, the IUC programme will engage with major international financial institutions and partners to link city decision-makers with potential funders. EU business will be an important partner for activities under the components on sustainable urban development.


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