Join the IUC programme

New call open now! Start a city-to-city cooperation today!

Cities in the member states of the European Union who wish to exchange with a city facing similar challenges in another global region are encouraged to apply for the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) city-to-city cooperation programme on sustainable urban development. The programme aims to foster links between EU cities and those in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. Through the programme, local leaders will be able to connect and gain new perspectives on pressing sustainable development issues.

Successful candidates will be paired with an international city that faces related challenges, allowing both parties to cooperate, build connections and share knowledge. Representatives from each city will take part in study tours, staff exchanges, trainings and seminars, and will develop together a Urban Cooperation Action Plan to drive forward sustainable urban development.

By joining the IUC city-to-city cooperation, your city will:


Cooperate for at least 18 months with your international peers, allocating resources and time to develop a successful cooperation which will last beyond the lifetime of this programme.


Get access to 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.


Help others to solve issues by sharing your own experiences and relaying knowledge.


Open your city to dialogue and partnership with new global peers and relevant stakeholders (public and private).


Profile your best practices and achievements internationally.


Work with new partners to make your vision of sustainable urban development a reality through developing a Local Action Plan for sustainable urban development in a sector of your choice.

To take part in the IUC city-to-city exchange programme, fill in the form at the link below:

Join the IUC

The new deadline for applications is 8 March 2019 (23:59 CET)

What are European cities committing to?

Chosen cities must commit to cooperating intensively with their partner city for at least 18 months, and to sharing regular updates on their progress. Cities also agree to develop a sustainable urban development Urban Cooperation Action Plan on the identified knowledge sharing priority. After this period, cities commit to reporting on their progress and on concrete actions to be carried out in the future. Each city will sign a Partnership Agreement to this effect.

The pairing will also be required to develop a Urban Cooperation Action Plan. The Urban Cooperation Action Plans must include activities and economically viable pilot projects that are capable of being realised in the short term, thereby opening up market opportunities and encouraging the involvement of EU research, businesses, other levels of government and the local community.

Participating cities will become part of a large community of peers and stakeholders engaging on sustainable urban development.

In order to ensure a successful exchange and roll-out of measures and actions, cities need to commit an adequate amount of time and resources to implement the work. These resources should be sufficient to the ambition of the actions planned.

Measures and actions to be implemented will contribute to achieving the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New Urban Agenda for the European Union, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement, enhancing quality of life in urban areas.

Who can apply?

Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants are encouraged to apply. Groups of municipalities will also be eligible to apply, but only if their total population still exceeds 100,000 inhabitants and a clear administrative contact of the lead urban authority has been identified and provided, as well as the commitment of the others concerned.

Mobilising a critical mass of stakeholders and key partners is a crucial component for the successful development of a Urban Cooperation Action Plan. These actors should be included in a multi-level and multi-stakeholder (e.g. academia, business, etc.) partnership, through the planning, roll-out and implementation of the Urban Cooperation Action Plan. 

Sub-national governments, such as regions and provinces, are invited to support cities applying, but they will not be considered eligible applicants themselves.

FAQ document

For more information, download the FAQ document (current version from Feb. 7, 2019) or contact