Climate change and environmental deterioration have become central to cities’ urban development plans. As a result, the European Union’s IURC program facilitates the exchange of challenges and solutions internationally to accelerate the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life in urban areas.
This first online session of 2024 was an opportunity for cities to contribute insights and propose thematic areas they would like the program to explore, which will help define the IURC NA Thematic Networks for the following two years. Becoming part of these networks allows cities to attend in-person events and virtual meetings where they will discuss best practices on circular economy and waste management, nature-based solutions, and sustainable urban mobility and transport, amongst others.
By joining this webinar, delegates learned about the European Green Deal and the EU Urban Initiative, heard from city representatives about the benefits of joining the thematic networks, and became part of the international network of reference for sustainable urban development.
- The EU Green Deal:
- The IURC program is aligned with the priorities of the EU Green Deal
- The EU faces annual financial losses of 12 billion euros due to climate change.
- The EU Green Deal, initiated in 2019, aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, decoupling economic growth from resources, and transforming climate challenges into opportunities.
- The EU Green Deal spans various industries, with an allocated budget of almost 580 billion EUR for climate action in the upcoming period.
- The multi-level approach and funding strategy includes supporting innovative actions, testing new urban solutions, and promoting capacity and knowledge building within policy development.
- IURC North America’s Network:
- IURC North America’s third phase involves eight city pairings, comprising eighteen cities from ten different countries.
- Cities within the cohort collaborate with partners and join a broader network of IURC cities from past phases and that are interested in exchanging knowledge with peers.
- The network facilitates knowledge exchange through online sessions and in-person events.
- City-Specific Impact and Learning:
- Cities like Zaragoza and Ottawa highlight the importance of knowledge exchange and practical learning within IURC.
- IURC serves as a pathway for cities to engage in global conversations, allowing alignment with other cities, like the partnerships formed during the second phase.
- Participants, such as the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and San Diego, stress the need for active involvement in IURC to benefit from the available opportunties offered by the program.
- San Diego emphasizes the unique focus on decarbonization and desires to continue participating in the program to advance discussions into the next phase.