UIA projects were in the spotlight of the annual event that brings together key stakeholders from European, national and local levels to debate the progress of the Urban agenda for the EU, the urban dimension of the Cohesion Policy. The Cities Forum took place on 27-28 in Rotterdam. The urban event organised by the European Commission is solely focused on topics surrounding sustainable urban development.
On the first day the partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU organised a series of workshops across the City of Rotterdam. In addition a workshop was organised around the Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) and how cities can contribute to achieve these goals. At the partnership workshop for urban mobility, the UIA Permanent Secretariat provided an overview of the five projects funded in this topic which have just started their implementation this month. UIA funded cities that are involved in the partnerships as members in their own right presented their innovative solution in the partnership workshops of Circular Economy (Maribor and Ljubljana), Urban Poverty (Lille) and Jobs and skills in the labour market (Rotterdam). The Permanent Secretariat is now working directly with the coordinators of the different Partnership in order to explore synergies and possible cooperation.
The second day the progress and future direction of the Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the Cohesion Policy was discussed against global urban policies, strategies and goals. A new platform was launched called URBIS that aims to assist cities in improving their investment capacities. Mayors, Ministers, Commissioners and other high level speakers reflected on their current challenges and shared their visions on the way forward towards better urban policy making and urban investments.
A workshop on innovation cities organised in cooperation with EUROCITIES and URBACT saw the projects from Barcelona, Lille, Nantes, Madrid and Bologna presented in the form of speed networking sessions. The presentations build on the one year of project implementation that has already taken place since they were awarded UIA funding in October 2016. They served as a source of inspiration for participants. The seminar was closed by a panel discussion with representatives of the European Commission, URBACT and UIA who shared with participants their views on what Europe can do to support urban innovation in the future and what are the key elements for urban authorities to take a risk and experiment bold solutions.