City-to-City pairings

City-to-city pairings

Through the IUC programme, cities and regions across Europe have entered into partnerships on sustainable development with counterparts from around the globe. For a full list of city pairings so far, see the table below:


EU City
Paired city

Donostia-San Sebastián


City of Donostia-San Sebastián


186 095


60.9 km2


Eneko Goia Laso

Si-take. [CC BY-SA 3.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons


174 507


524.2 km2


Hiroshi Sakurada


Climate adaptationEnergy transitionIntegrated urban-rural development
Urban mobility

Sustainable Development Goals


The cooperation between Donostia-San Sebastián and Hirosaki started with a kick off meeting on 9 November 2017 in Brussels. Both cities were introduced at the Japanese embassy in Belgium where general information was shared about the cities and about possible fields of cooperation.

It was decided that the cooperation will focus on smart cities, solar panels in municipal buildings and former landfill sites, mobility, and ICT for citizen information and participation purposes.

The prevention of natural catastrophes implies a more resilient city. Hirosaki, due to the catastrophes that occurred in 2011, became aware of the need for energy independence. In the case of Donostia - San Sebastián, the city concluded that they want to implement a Smart City Plan through their climate change strategies. The goal is the same. Hirosaki is planning a district heating system in the core of the urbanised city. This is not possible for Donostia - San Sebastián, so they are doing it instead within new residential urbanisations.


On 23 April 2018, a 5 day study visit to the city of Hirosaki took place, during which the Donostia - San Sebastián delegation had the opportunity to learn about renewable energy use, waste management, energy management, refurbishment of historical buildings and smart city planning.

On 1 October 2018 Hirosaki’s delegation visited Donostia - San Sebastián to share information about sustainable tourism, mobility strategies (electrical mobility), smart cities and building refurbishment policies.

From 11 – 12 October 2018 the 3rd exchange meeting of IUC Japan and the 2nd IUC city to city event took place in Brussels.

The key knowledge shared through the cooperation has related to:

  • The widespread use of renewable energies.
  • The use of photovoltaic solar panels for the consumption of the building itself.
  • The use of derelict urban spaces for the placement of photovoltaic solar panels.