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International urban and regional cooperation to rethink sustainable urban and innovative models for a greener and better future

Severina Markova



Monday, June 27, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 6
European Commission, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI)
Greener Urban Futures
NE 26


Since 2016, the European Union IURC programme (previously IUC) financed under the Partnership Instrument (FPI) and the strategic support from the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG-REGIO) of the European Commission, has contributed to bring together cities and regions from across the globe to work jointly towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the European Cohesion Policy, the New Urban Agenda or the Urban Agenda for the EU objectives. In 2022, when thematic clustering will increase the possibilities for cities and regions to enlarge their networking scope, we plan to use this event at WUF as an opportunity to showcase success stories that can be transferred and replicated by other cities as well as a chance to connect emerging pilot projects with financial institutions representatives and spur future investments in sustainable urban development. During 90 min.: 1st part: Two of our cities and one of our regions will answer to the following question presenting a success story/relevant Case Study: How can cities/regions be designed/rethought/co-created to contribute to the transition to net-zero emissions through attractive and financeable pilot projects? Cities Interventions may include among others: - Snapshot presentation of pilot projects with an international urban cooperation component. - Projects & Initiatives cities are involved in through the case study presented (existing networking); possibilities of transferring & building on the knowledge of the audience and other cities/regions (future networking). - Lessons learned and areas of improvement. 2nd part: the City Climate Finance Gap Fund– European Investment Bank (EIB) Two financial stakeholders, the City Climate Finance Gap Fund– EIB and The Urban Resilience Fund (TURF), MERIDIAM will provide feedback on the case studies exposed, providing opportunities and areas of improvement in order to make these projects eligible to receive funding from an investor perspective. Interventions will be guided by a moderator from the private sector, ACCIONA (currently leading the coordination of the IURC programme by the Central Services), supported by interactive tools (Mentimeter or Slido style). Closing remarks from European Commission DG REGIO will highlight possibilities of EU Programmes to support financially the implementation of pilot urban development solutions. 3rd part. Let us walk the WUF together! A speed networking session will be open after the closing remarks to let the audience initiate new contacts and walk through the WUF together, establishing their future pathways in sustainable urban development. A summary of do’s/don’ts, in the form of takeaways/recommendations enriched by the exchange with the audience and a list of key actors sharing common challenges and solutions, will be the tangible result of this networking session. 


The IURC program uses peer-to-peer exchange of best practices to accelerate sustainable urban development worldwide and boost cities’ efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals, aligned with the current European Policies (EU Taxonomy and Green Deal). Through thematic clustering, the programme works on 3 main networks: Ecological Transition- Green Deal; Urban/Regional Renewal-Social Cohesion; Innovative Sustainable & Carbon Neutral Ecosystems aiming at tackling 3 cross-cutting challenges: Digital transition and smart city; Energy Transition and Climate Change & Post Covid Recovery. One of the key objectives for this event is to highlight and share existing and replicable methods that cities are using to move towards net-zero emissions in urban areas, capitalising on the benefits of thematic clustering and international cooperation to improve innovation and increase the impact of their pilot projects. The second objective is to address the gap - identified during the first phase of the programme IUC (2016-2019) - between envisioning the pilots and transforming them into finance-ready projects, through the involvement of all stakeholders from the very beginning.

Session speakers

Moderator Roland Hall
Senior Advisor to DG REGIO at the European Commission
European Commission
Mr. Christian Specht
First Deputy Mayor of Mannheim
Mannheim City Council
Mr. Nicolas Gharbi
Principal Advisor, City Diplomacy and International affairs
Madrid City Council
Ms. Sandra Susana Montoya Ramírez
Analyst for International Relations
Valle del Cauca Region - Propacífico
Mr. Wojciech Deska
Senior Urban Sector Specialist, Urban Advisory Division, Projects Directorate
European Investment Bank
Mr. Salim Bensmail
Executive Director of The Urban Resilience Fund (TURF)