International Urban Cooperation (IUC)
Join the IUC city-to-city cooperation programme
Cities in the member states of the European Union who wish to exchange with a city facing similar challenges in another global region are encouraged to apply for the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) city-to-city cooperation programme on sustainable urban development. The programme aims to foster links between EU cities and those in Latin America and the Caribbean, India, Japan, and North America. Through the programme, local leaders will be able to connect and gain new perspectives on pressing sustainable development issues.
Successful candidates will be paired with a city that faces related challenges, allowing both parties to cooperate, build connections and share knowledge. Representatives from each city will take part in study tours, staff exchanges, trainings and seminars, etc. and will develop together a local action plan to drive sustainable urban development in the selected area.
By joining the IUC city-to-city cooperation, your city will:
COMMIT – Cooperate for at least 18 months with your international peers, allocate resources and time to develop a successful cooperation which will last beyond the lifetime of this programme
LEARN - Get access to new ways of approaching challenges and benefit from a wider pool of good practices to draw upon; receive support in identifying innovative business models for financing local action
SHARE - Help others to solve issues by sharing your own experiences and relaying knowledge
EXCHANGE - Open your city to dialogue and partnership with new global peers, and relevant stakeholders (public and private)
SHOWCASE - Profile your best practices and achievements internationally
IMPLEMENT - Work with new partners to make your vision of sustainable urban development a reality through developing a Local Action Plan for sustainable urban development in a sector of your choice
Deadline for EU cities' applications: 21st of September
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Commissioner Creţu meets Vice Chairman Hu in EU-China 2017 Summit event
The 19th bilateral Summit between the EU and China took place on 1-2 June 2017 in Brussels in the framework of their strategic partnership. On the agenda were issues relating to trade, climate change and migration as well as foreign policy and security challenges.
As a key Summit side event, Commissioner Creţu met Mr HU Zucai, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Brussels on 31 May. The Commissioner and the Vice-Chairman reviewed recent cooperation actions on regional and urban policy, and the plans for next steps, notably the recent launch of the EU-China city-to city component of the EU's new International Urban Cooperation programme. In the presence of the Commissioner and the Vice Chairman, nine cities - 5 from China and 4 from the EU, with Prague set to join the IUC programme as the fifth EU city - signed a Joint Declaration committing them to the IUC programme and to promoting longer-term cooperation on sustainable urban development themes.
Earlier in the day, and as part of this Summit side-event, DG REGIO and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China organized a regional and urban policy seminar: the "12th High Level Dialogue on Regional and Urban Policy Cooperation". The seminar was opened by Normunds Popens, Deputy Director General of DG REGIO, and Liu Sushe, Director General, Regional Economy, NDRC.
In his remarks, Mr Popens drew attention to the growing priority attached to urban development in the EU, reflected in the EU's Urban Agenda of 2016. He added: "the EU and China have also signed up to the New Urban Agenda under Habitat 3 agreed in Quito in October last year. We in the European Union are committed to implementing this Agenda internally through our European urban development programmes and externally through our city-to-city cooperation with our major partners such as China". The seminar was also the occasion for the launch of a new joint "Report on EU-China Regional Policy Cooperation, 2006-2016".
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.