Starting a city-to-city cooperation!

The European Union's International Urban Cooperation (IUC) initiative in North America launched calls for proposals for US and Canadian cities that wish to cooperate with a city in the European Union (EU) facing similar challenges on their path to achieving sustainable urban development.

The 2017 calls for US and Canadian cities have now closed.

Successfully-selected US and Canadian cities will each be paired with an EU city tackling related challenges in sustainable urban development, allowing the pairs to build cooperation, share experiences, and exchange knowledge. Representatives from each city will take part in study tours, staff exchanges, trainings, and seminars. Each EU-US and EU-Canada city-pairing will together develop Local Action Plans and pilot projects that are informed by their exchanges.


By joining the IUC city-to-city cooperation, US and Canadian cities will:

  • COMMIT – Cooperate for a minimum of 18 months with your European peers and allocate sufficient resources and time to develop successful cooperation which will last beyond the lifetime of this programme. There is no maximum length for the city-to-city pairing, but participating cities will only receive support for up to 18 months.
  • LEARN – Exchange views on 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 knowledge.
  • EXCHANGE – Open your city to dialogue and partnership with new peers in the EU, and relevant stakeholders.
  • SHOWCASE – Increase the profile of your city's or region's best practices and achievements internationally.
  • IMPLEMENT – Work with new partners to make your vision of sustainable urban development a reality through developing a Joint Local Action Plan for sustainable urban development in a sector of your choice.


We are delighted to announce that the following North American and EU cities have been selected to partner with one another over the next year, tackling a range of sustainable urban development challenges in their cities.

North American CitiesCountryEU CitiesCountry
MontrealCanadaManchesterUnited Kingdom
WindsorCanada                   Vitoria-Gasteiz         Spain
MéridaMexicoWest AthensGreece
Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara          MexicoHamburgGermany

US cities

The 2017 call for US cities to apply has closed, but a new call will open in Spring 2018. Please check back here for any information about upcoming calls, or write us at

Canadian cities

For Canada, we had only one call that identified six (6) EU-Canada city pairings.

What are cities committing to?

Selected US and Canadian cities cities must commit to cooperating intensively with their partner EU city for at least 18 months, and to share their progress with the partner city, the IUC programme, and as appropriate with the wider public.  Cities also agree to develop a Local Action Plan on an identified thematic priority in sustainable urban development. Afterwards, cities commit to reporting on their progress and on concrete actions (e.g. pilot projects) to be carried out in the future. The cities involved in the pairing will sign a Partnership Agreement (i.e. Memorandum of Understanding).

Mobilising a critical mass of diverse stakeholders and key partners (e.g. academia, civil society, business partnerships) working at different levels is a crucial component for the successful development of a Local Action Plan throughout the planning, roll-out, and implementation of the plan.

Participating cities will become part of a larger international community of peers and stakeholders engaging on sustainable urban development through the EU's International Urban Cooperation initiative.

Measures and actions to be implemented should aim at contributing to the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New Urban Agenda, the Sendai framework, and the Paris Agreement, enhancing quality of life in urban areas.

Who can apply?

To ensure a successful exchange and roll-out of measures and actions, cities need to commit an adequate amount of time and resources sufficient both to implement the work and achieve the ambition of the actions planned.

For more information, please refer to our FAQ for US cities (updated Sept. 8, 2017), FAQs for Canadian cities (in English, updated Sept. 25, and en français), or contact

US cities

US cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply.

To increase the reach and impact of this city-to-city pairing, we are encouraging the pairings of metropolitan areas which may include a number of local authorities working together and coordinating the governance of their respective constituencies.

Applying as a metropolitan area (e.g. a larger city coordinating the pairing in partnership with smaller local authorities in the area) would be considered an added value.

Canadian cities

Canadian cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants are encouraged to apply.

Note: While 100,000 population is intended to be the standard city size, to ensure Canadian cities are paired with EU cities of a similar size, communities in the three Territories and communities in sparsely populated areas of the North of Canada’s Provinces will also be eligible regardless their size.