City pairings

Starting a city-to-city cooperation!

The European Union's International Urban Cooperation (IUC) initiative in North America had an open call for US cities that wish to cooperate with a city in the European Union (EU) facing similar challenges on their path to achieving sustainable urban development which closed on 6th April, 2018.

The five successful US 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. The five cities will together develop Local Action Plans and pilot projects that are informed by their exchanges. The EU-US city pairs will be announced in late April.

  • COMMIT – Cooperate for a minimum of 18 months with your European peers and allocate sufficient resources and time to develop successful cooperation that will last beyond the lifetime of this program. 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.

FAQs updated to March 16, 2018.

What are cities committing to?

Selected US 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 program, 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).

Mobilizing 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?

US cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to 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 to achieve the ambition of the actions planned.

To increase the reach and impact of this city-to-city pairing, we encourage cities that are part of regional planning associations, regional councils of governments, and/or other regional governing bodies to apply.  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.

For more information, please refer to our FAQs, or contact