Supporting national, regional and local authorities across Europe to prepare for the transition towards climate neutrality within cities
Cities are at the forefront of the transition towards greater sustainability. An increasing number of European cities are active pursuing the transition towards climate-neutrality, aligning with the objectives set by the European Green Deal Strategy. Furthermore, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, calls for having at least 100 climate neutral cities in Europe by 2030. The Communication on the European Climate Pact calls for a large engagement of all relevant actors to build a greener Europe and support the achievement of the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals[[A/RES/70/1: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development_ https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E]], bringing together regions, local communities, civil society, industry, social partners and schools.
While willing to commit to start the path towards climate neutrality, cities are also being confronted with national, regional and local specificities, which create both challenges and opportunities. Member States and Associated countries are characterized by inherent diversities and needs when addressing legislations and regulations, funding and financing needs and opportunities, as well as geographical, climatic and socio-cultural peculiarities. The uniqueness of the European cities requires tailored national support, translating the European objectives into the local ambitions while keeping citizens needs at the core.
Specific national networks for these cities will support translating and tailoring the goals of the European Green Deal Strategy and all relevant initiatives launched within this framework to the local specificities in close collaboration with national and local authorities, stakeholders and citizens.
The proposal should:
- In coordination with the ‘Missions Core Network’[[As described by the Horizon Europe Missions Work Programme 2021 call: HORIZON-MISS-2021-COOR-01 - Coordination of complementary actions for missions]], support the set-up of dedicated national networks for supporting cities in their transition towards climate neutrality in the form of multi-stakeholders national platforms, promoting collaboration, cross-learning and training, exchange and replication of best practices between the European, national, regional and local level.
- Mobilize and support a large number of urban authorities in engaging in climate-neutrality transitions in line with the overarching objectives of the European Green Deal, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the upcoming New EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, the Renovation Wave for Europe Strategy, the European Climate Pact and 2030 Climate Target plan;
- Disseminate and promote the use of supporting material for cities developed by the Direct Action grant Scientific and technical services by the Joint Research Centre – Mission on ‘Climate-neutral and smart cities’, included under Other Actions in Annex 12 of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022 and other relevant initiatives (e.g. relevant material developed by the one-stop-shop to be established under the Horizon 2020 topic LC-GD-1-2-2020 on ‘Towards Climate-Neutral and Socially Innovative Cities’[[https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/lc-gd-1-2-2020]]).
- Identify country-specific challenges, best-practices and opportunities concerning at least:
- Regulatory Framework: including interaction between national, regional and local legislations/regulations relevant for the transition to climate neutrality at city level.
- Funding and financing: through direct/indirect application of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs)[[https://ec.europa.eu/info/energy-climate-change-environment/implementation-eu-countries/energy-and-climate-governance-and-reporting/national-energy-and-climate-plans_en]], Cohesion Policy Funds and Recovery and Resilience Facility provisions.
- Urban morphology: through the mapping of geographical, climatic and socio-cultural contexts.
- Governance structures: through analyses of citizens’ and stakeholders’ roles in decision-making processes, existing living labs and hubs for innovative participative governance.
In order to support cities in evidence-based policy making for climate-neutrality, such investigation could benefit from the experience of the Joint Research Centre and relevant initiatives as the Community of Practice on Cities[[The Community of Practice-CITIES (CoP-CITIES) is an initiative of the European Commission (co-led by the JRC and DG REGIO). It is open to external stakeholders such as cities and networks of cities, international and intergovernmental organisations and research bodies. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/communities/en/community/cop-cities]] and the City Science Officers Initiative network [[The initiative aims to develop and implement and Urban Science Academy to better connect universities-cities and businesses. It is currently framed in the context of the Community of Practice on Cities. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/communities/en/community/city-science-initiative]]. The results should aim at supporting local authorities’ capacity building through dedicated activities such as: trainings, webinars and peer-exchange.
Applicants must take into account and assure that national hubs build on planned or ongoing national, regional or local activities aimed at achieving climate-neutrality in cities. The action should substantially raise the capacities and extend capabilities of existing national networks and hubs.