Moving forward with the Urban Agenda for the EU

24-11-2017

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the Pact providing for the creation of 12 urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes, all partnerships are now in operation. Recent developments include the launch of a permanent secretariat for the Urban Agenda, and the identification of the Urban Agenda for the EU as the Union’s main delivery mechanism for the UN's New Urban Agenda. The publication of action plans by the first four partnerships is also expected soon. Yet in spite of the positive assessment provided by the Commission’s recent report on the Urban Agenda, challenges still remain, with the CITIES Forum in Rotterdam on 27-28 November 2017 providing a useful platform for discussing how to move forward. This briefing is a further update of an earlier one originally published in June 2016.

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the Pact providing for the creation of 12 urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes, all partnerships are now in operation. Recent developments include the launch of a permanent secretariat for the Urban Agenda, and the identification of the Urban Agenda for the EU as the Union’s main delivery mechanism for the UN's New Urban Agenda. The publication of action plans by the first four partnerships is also expected soon. Yet in spite of the positive assessment provided by the Commission’s recent report on the Urban Agenda, challenges still remain, with the CITIES Forum in Rotterdam on 27-28 November 2017 providing a useful platform for discussing how to move forward. This briefing is a further update of an earlier one originally published in June 2016.