European and global cities chart path to sustainable urban development at IUC event

Over 250 representatives of local and regional governments from across the world will meet today in Brussels (Belgium) at the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme’s second annual City-to-City event. The one day conference will give delegates the chance to discuss ongoing sustainable urban development pilot projects with global partners.

“European cities join forces in working for sustainable urban development. The IUC programme puts cities facing similar issues in touch with one another so that they can learn from their partner’s approach. In many cases, this cross-border cooperation leads to innovation and new job opportunities. It is the dedication of the cities and regions that truly makes the programme work,” said Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, European Commission.

Through the IUC programme, cities from Europe and other global regions are paired together, jointly committing to design and implement pilot projects that enhance sustainable development at the local and regional levels. The IUC identifies innovative financial programmes that local actors can use to fund their sustainable urban development actions.

The IUC is one of the key instruments to implement the EU’s contribution to major international agreements on urban development and climate change, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Urban Agenda for the EU.

“The IUC programme is an ambitious one. It asks cities and regions to go beyond borders to share knowledge, establish relationships and find solutions. We are delighted that delegates from China, India, Japan and North and South America have travelled to Brussels to discuss their sustainable urban development activities,” said Hilde Hardeman, Head of Service of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.

Barcelona (Spain) and New York City (USA), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Surat (India), and Pavlos Melas (Greece) and San Justo (Argentina) are among the IUC pairings that will present the details of their cooperation. To date, over 60 pairings have been established between local governments through the IUC programme.

Signatories of the Global Covenant of Mayors, including Toyota (Japan), Vitória (Brazil), and Gwangju (South Korea), will also take to the podium to provide examples of inspiring local climate action. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is supported under the IUC programme, forming one of the programme’s three components.

In addition to leaders of global cities, attendees will be addressed by representatives from the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and UN Habitat during a special session on financing sustainable urban development and climate action.