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EUI: City-to-City Exchanges – Capacity Building
European Urban Initiative
date - 2nd stage
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The Call for Applications for city-to-city exchanges is now open, providing support to urban authorities in addressing implementation challenges related to sustainable urban development.
A city-to-city exchange brings together an urban authority (‘the applicant’) facing a specific implementation challenge related to Sustainable Urban Development and another urban authority from a different EU Member State with expertise which could help tackle this challenge (‘the peer’) for a short-term, quickly implemented visit. In principle, city-to-city exchanges are bilateral in nature, but a second peer may be included, if justified.
A city-to-city exchange is a bottom-up, on-demand activity. The content, timing and format of the exchange are defined by the applicant according to their specific needs related to the design and implementation of Sustainable Urban Development. The peers must be identified by the applicant.
The objective of a city-to-city exchange is to improve the capacity of the applicant to tackle the identified challenge through a process of peer learning and sharing of expertise. Peers are expected to share practical knowledge and know-how tailored to the identified challenge and the urban context of the applicant.
- To improve the capacities of cities in the design of sustainable urban policies and practices in an integrated and participative way
- To improve the design and implementation of sustainable urban strategies and action plans in cities
- Peer learning activities
- City-to-city exchanges: In-person visits (followed by an online exchange, when justified) carried out among groups of two or three cities. Peer cities share new working methods and innovative approaches on specific implementation challenges identified by the applicant city.
- Peer Reviews: Several article 11 SUD strategies are reviewed simultaneously by peers. Peer reviews may be organised as EU-wide events, events for a Cluster of EU Member States, or countryspecific events.
- Capacity building events: Urban and managing authorities, and relevant stakeholders exchange information with each other and with the Commission on relevant urban challenges and on the implementation of Article 11 SUD strategies seeking for on synergies and learnings from with UIA/EUI-IA, URBACT IV and the UAEU. Organised in various formats (seminars, workshops, trainings) and at different scales (EU-wide, multi-country, or countryspecific), mixing expert-led and peer learning.
- Productive, smart and connected: Research and Innovation, Digital transition, Localising production, Decarbonised mobility, Culture and sustainable tourism, Support to Small and Medium Entreprises and entrepreneurs
- Green: Sustainable soil and land use, Resilient environments, Climate adaptation, Clean and healthy environments, Biodiversity and nature protection, Energy transition, Circular Economy
- Just and Inclusive: Inclusion, Access to housing, Education and employment, Access to essential services
- Place based: Safe and secure urban environment, Balanced territorial development (including urban-rural linkages), Urban regeneration, Sustainable urban planning
Regions / countries for funding
Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs)
Only urban authorities from EU Member States are eligible to apply. There is no minimum population requirement for the city, town, functional urban area or suburb. Relevant stakeholders may also participate in the exchange alongside the urban authority if justified in the application.
Urban authorities may be:
- A Local Administrative Unit defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb (corresponding to DEGURBA code 1 or DEGURBA code 2 of Eurostat).
- An association or grouping of urban authorities with legal status of organised agglomeration composed by Local Administrative Units, where the majority (at least 51%) of inhabitants lives in Local Administrative Units defined according to the degree of urbanisation (DEGURBA) of Eurostat as cities, towns or suburbs (corresponding to DEGURBA code 1 or DEGURBA code 2).
Applications are invited from any eligible authorities on a rolling basis. However, applications from specific categories of urban authorities will be evaluated with priority:
- urban authorities in less developed regions (first priority) and transition regions (second priority)
- urban authorities with less than 500,000 inhabitants
- urban authorities that have participated in an EUI peer review
- urban authorities that have not yet benefited from an approved city-to-city exchange
- urban authorities resubmitting a previously rejected city-to-city exchange application
other eligibility criteria
City-to-city exchanges offer short-term opportunities for peer learning. City-to-city exchanges can be as simple as one visit between two cities. However, reciprocal visits are also possible. When duly justified, an applicant may define up to three visits per application if a series of events is most suited to tackling the identified challenge.
A visit may last between two to five days. Applicants are expected to implement the visits as soon as possible following approval (i.e., as early as within the first month following notification of approval). At the latest, all visits must be completed within 5 months of notification of approval (e.g., for an exchange approved on 10 May consisting of three visits, all must be completed by 10 October).
When duly justified in the application form, one ONLINE EXCHANGE per application may be organised as a follow-up to an in-person visit(s). This may allow the applicant and peer(s) to further discuss the challenge addressed, providing additional, updated information. It may be easier to mobilise specific staff from peer or applicant cities since no travel is required.
Applicants are required to produce a follow-up report in English and share it with EUI PS within one month of the exchange. The content of the report should include the following information:
- Participants (including name, position, institution, city, financed by EUI or not)
- Objectives of exchange
- Agenda (including format and duration)
- Current situation and challenges
- Expected impact from the city-to-city exchange
- Key takeaways / recommendations for applicant to tackle the implementation challenge
- Any follow-up actions proposed (e.g., additional exchanges to be requested, introductions to be made by peers, additional resources to be shared by peers, suggestions for capacity building events)
If an exchange consisted of several events, only one follow-up report should be provided documenting all events. Receipt and validation of the follow-up report will be required in order for EUI to approve the Reimbursement Form.
The follow-up report will be uploaded on the space for exchange for capacity building on Portico. This will allow other community members to view it, comment on it, post their suggestions or contact the application or peers to discuss further. Reports from city-to-city exchanges will be grouped by theme according to the thematic taxonomy and included within any thematically relevant EUI knowledge and capitalization activities.
Six months after the exchange, the applicant is invited to evaluate lightly whether the input received brought about any tangible benefits e.g., improvements in the design and implementation of the SUD policy addressed or related projects, improvements in day-to-day working practices within the applicant institution and among stakeholders. A survey will be shared with the beneficiary to capture their opinion on the exchange overall, the improvement of their capacities, and the quality of the support from peers.
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)
max 3.5 years
Financial support is offered to city-to-city exchange participants. The financial support is provided under the form of lump sums and is paid directly to each participating city (applicant city and peers). The expenses covered are staff costs (only for the peers), travel costs and per diem (accommodation and subsistence). For more information, please consult pages 14-15 of the Call Document.