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  1. Governance, partnership: Projects aimed at increasing the application of multilevel and transnational or cross-border governance, designing and testing appropriate governance structures and mechanisms. Also cooperation between public institutions on any theme.

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Call key data

EIT Urban Mobility and NetZeroCities - Twinning Learning Programme

Funding Program

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Call number




31.05.2024 23:59

Link to the call

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

This Call for applications to join the NetZeroCities (NZC) Twinning Learning Programme is for cities who wish to embark on a 20-month tailored learning programme for knowledge sharing and transfer of good practices with the recently selected NZC Pilot Cities Cohort 2, toward climate neutrality.

Call objectives

The NZC Twinning Learning Programme is a structured and expert-facilitated city-to-city learning programme. It aims to enable a two-way knowledge transfer between Pilot and Twin Cities, focusing on climate-neutrality ambitions and activities tackling multiple emission domains and systemic barriers. The specific objectives of the Programme are threefold:

  • To enable learning and inspiration between Pilot and Twin Cities;
  • To facilitate institutionalisation of learning and knowledge transfer across different city departments and stakeholders;
  • To build long-lasting collaboration between Pilot and Twin Cities beyond the scope of the Programme.

The Twinning Learning Programme for Cohort 2 Twin Cities will start in late September 2024 and last for 20 months (until May 2026). The Programme is made up of three modules, namely Getting started, Co-creating and Capitalising, see Figure 1 below. The framework is built around dedicated milestones and outputs. It is designed as a facilitated process while leaving enough flexibility for cities to choose the focus for the knowledge transfer and shape the learning journey. Throughout the Programme, Pilot Cities will share their pilot activities’ implementation experience and empower the transfer of innovative measures to Twin Cities while being inspired by good practices already tested in Twin Cities.

Module I: Getting started marks the beginning of the Twinning Learning Programme and focuses on building a relationship between Pilot and Twin Cities and identifying their learning needs and interests. Module I incorporates two online sessions - a kick-off meeting of the Twinning Learning Programme with all Pilot and Twin Cities and an online workshop to define the learning needs. By the end of this Module, cities will have designed their respective Twinning Learning Roadmaps, which include the solutions and approaches that the Twin City is willing to appropriate and transfer from the Pilot City to their local context and the Pilot City’s learning interests based on the Twin City’s best practices.

Module II: Co-creating aims to deepen and accelerate city-to-city learning by addressing the enabling factors and barriers for the transfer of solutions and approaches to the local context. Module II is structured around a mix of online and in-person activities, including two site visits. It offers the visiting cities an opportunity to get a first-hand learning experience about the practical implementation of different solutions and approaches from the host city. Moreover, this Module will go beyond individual learning and involve the activation and engagement of the local ecosystem in each city. It will enable the Twin City to carry out a Transferability assessment – a practical exercise to explore the enabling conditions for transferring solutions and approaches from the Pilot City to the Twin’s local context and, consequently, assess their transferability potential.

Module III: Capitalising wraps up the learning experience between the cities by reinforcing the knowledge transfer and collaboration commitment in a Twin City Action Plan. This Module incorporates both online and in-person activities, providing space and support for the Twin City to propose an Action Plan for transferring solutions or approaches and reinforce continued collaboration and partnership between cities beyond the Twinning Learning Programme. Finally, the Twin City is expected to present the Action Plan to the Pilot City and the local ecosystem to share the learnings and provide concrete indications about future steps.

Each learning Module will be facilitated by NZC partners. It will enable open and constructive discussions among Pilot and Twin Cities while supporting and accelerating knowledge transfer. Facilitators will ensure the quality and consistency of the NZC Twinning Learning Programme. They will encourage the active participation of city representatives, collect input from the different exchanges and monitor the transfer of learning and good practices.

The Twinning Learning Programme aims to support local authorities in developing or further developing knowledge on innovative approaches to reach their climate neutrality commitments. Twin Cities are expected to have enhanced their capabilities after completing the Programme on the following three levels:

  • At an individual level, with a minimum of two city representatives who will be participating in the learning programme for 20 months,
  • At the institutional level within the administrative and governance framework of the municipality, sharing the learnings across different municipal departments,
  • At a societal level, benefiting the local ecosystem by supporting climate neutrality actions on technology, innovation, learning and knowledge by bringing together different partners from universities to local businesses.

At the start of the Twinning Learning Programme, the participating Pilot and Twin Cities will receive an information pack explaining the programme in more detail.

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Expected effects and impacts

NetZeroCities (NZC) is a multi-year project designed to help cities overcome the current structural, institutional, and cultural barriers they face to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. NZC recognises the need for cities to develop specific strategies that are tailored to suit local and regional contexts, and will support them by developing, promoting, and integrating new and existing tools, resources, and expertise into an online platform accessible to all cities (Mission Platform). The project enables city teams to tailor and advance their capabilities related to systemic change, citizen engagement and democratic, participatory governance, capital and financial structuring, and social innovation; and facilitate access to relevant expertise in their journey towards climate neutrality.

The NZC Mission Platform provides support in the co-creation of Climate City Contracts with local stakeholders and citizens. Drawing up, signing, and implementing Climate City Contracts is a central feature of the EU Mission on 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030. The Climate City Contract is a set of innovative governance tools, comprising a Commitments document, an Action Plan and an Investment Plan. While not legally binding, the Climate City Contract-Commitments document constitutes a clear and highly visible political commitment to achieving climate neutrality, sending a crucial message to the EC, national and regional government, stakeholders, and citizens that the city is willing and ready to journey towards climate neutrality. The Action Plan and Investment Plan set out how climate neutrality will be achieved by 2030.

In the context of NZC project, the NZC Pilot Cities Programme supports large scale piloting activities to exploit, deploy, and scale R&I and systemic solutions combining social, cultural, technological, nature-based, regulatory, and financial innovation, and new business and governance models to underpin the climate transition. In January 2024, Cohort 2 Pilot Cities were selected, and over their two-year journey (starting in May 2024), these 26 Pilot Cities will test and implement systemic and locally designed innovative actions that work across thematic areas, from the energy systems and the built environment to mobility, and leverages various levers of change in support of transforming systems, for cross-sectoral and city-wide impact. Within the NZC Pilot Cities Programme, Pilot Cities will be providing opportunities for Twin Cities to follow in their footsteps, transferring and/or scaling approaches and solutions relevant to their context.

The NZC Twinning Learning Programme will guide selected Twin Cities in their learning efforts from Cohort 2 Pilot Cities, with a practical focus on transferring the systemic transformation methodologies and innovative approaches demonstrated by the NZC Pilot Cities Programme Cohort 2 Pilot activities, to underpin the climate transition. To that end, the Twinning Learning Programme will include identification of good practices, action-oriented goal setting, co-creation activities and site visits in Pilot Cities and Twin Cities, facilitated and structured learning exchanges, and supported development of an Action Plan for Twin Cities outlining the learnings from the pilot activities and transferability of actions to their specific local contexts, through the twinning exchange.

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Expected results

As a Twin City you commit to the following elements of the NZC Twinning Learning Programme:

  • Participation in the twinning exchange (by signing a peer learning agreement at Director of the Department level). This is a two-way exchange in which both Pilot and Twin Cities commit to completing and participating in the Modules, as outlined in Figure 1, and attend a study visit to the paired Pilot City and host a site visit for the paired Pilot City in their city.
  • Preparation of a transferability assessment. On completion of the twinning exercise, the Pilot and Twin Cities are expected to complete a transferability assessment of learnings, good practices and/or policies that could be taken up in their own context.
  • Preparation of a Twin City Action Plan. On completion of the Twinning Learning Programme and based on the learnings from the Pilot City/ies, the Twin City is expected to write an Action Plan on concrete actions that could be taken to implement innovative approaches to reach climate neutrality commitments, in their own city. This report should include:
    • a statement of the problem and the likely solutions.
    • an assessment of the feasibility of the pilot activity solutions in their local context.
    • an action plan for developing or further developing a similar project as in the Pilot City

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Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

EU Member States
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Iceland (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom

eligible entities

Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

Local authorities (from small, mid- and large-sized cities, metropolitan areas, districts, any other public administration linked to the city) based within EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries, who are non-Mission Cities, i.e. cities who are not listed among the 112 cities participating in the EU Cities Mission, and who are not already Twin or Pilot Cities, can apply.

Twin City applicants must be supported by an enabling environment, allowing the transfer of learnings from the innovative pilot activities to their local context. This support is based on the applicant city demonstrating an existing climate neutrality commitment before or by 2050, in the application process.

Twin Cities should ensure adequate human resources and time (a minimum of 12 hours per month) to engage in the 20-months Twinning Learning Programme and assign between 1-2 (recommended) city representatives per Twin City, with at least a proficiency level of B2 English. Twin City representatives should be city practitioners or experts who can use the knowledge gained to institutionalise the learnings within the municipalities in their local contexts. To ensure that Twin City participants gain the most from the in-person exchanges, travel costs will be reimbursed up to a given amount (see section 4.3). Further information on this will be made available to successfully selected Twin City applicants.

This Call is addressed to individual Twin City applications rather than to a group of cities applying together. The logic behind requesting individual Twin City applications lies in the impact of higher potential for learning and allowing Pilot Cities to focus on an individual city’s learning needs.

other eligibility criteria

A budget of 900 EUR per city representative is earmarked for the site-visits of the Twinning Learning Programme. This budget is foreseen to cover reimbursement of travel and hosting costs of Twin Cities. This includes travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs for up to two Twin City representatives per selected Twin City to attend a site-visit to the respective Pilot City, and hosting costs, when hosting the site visits of the Pilot City/ies.

Each Twin City should be represented by two city practitioners from their local authority, who will be responsible for the implementation of the Twinning Learning Programme modules, hence, their participation in the site-visits to their respective Pilot City/ies. Reimbursement of travel costs for more than two practitioner representatives from Twin Cities will not be covered by the Twinning Learning Programme. However, this should not prevent the Twin Cities from involving additional practitioners and/or politicians from the exchanges with their Pilot City/ies.

The travel and accommodation cost reimbursements will be subject to providing original supporting documents. Exact guidelines and procedures will be shared with the selected Twin Cities.

Beyond the reimbursement of travel costs, no further budget is available, and no financial compensation can be granted to Twin Cities for the implementation of the Twinning Learning Programme.

Additional information


Administration & Governance, Institutional Capacity & Cooperation, 
Air Quality, Biodiversity & Environment, Climate & Climate Change, Water quality & management, 
Rural & Urban Development/Planning

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

Additional Information

The application form is structured as a questionnaire to collect the information about the city, the motivation for applying to the programme and to assess alignment with the NZC Pilot City Programme Pilot Activities.

Tailored questions are included in the application form to collect relevant information needed for evaluating the involvement of Twin Cities in the Twinning Learning Programme and their motivation to be paired with the proposed thematic areas of the different Pilot activities. Twin City applicants should use the online catalogue of Cohort 2 Pilot City profiles, to explore and gain full understanding of the different pilot activities, allowing them to tailor their application form with the objectives, addressed barriers, enabling opportunities and description of the pilot activities. However, the information available in the Pilot City profiles is by no means exhaustive as additional and alternative options may arise during the exchanges with the paired Pilot City/ies as part of the twinning learning journey (this is particularly relevant to the last four sections of the Pilot City profiles – transferable features, enabling conditions for replicating, and Pilot Cities’ learning needs).

The completion of the Open Call for Twin Cities application form, in line with the Pilot City profiles, will enable NZC consortium members to pair the Twin City with the relevant Pilot Activity.


European Institute of Innovation & Technology
+36 14 819 300

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