International Urban Cooperation (IUC)

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.

Publications

Leaflet PDF en es pt - hi jp zh

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