Closer to Brussels, no. 21 "Urban Agenda"

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closer to





Digital Transition Energy Transition

Urban Mobility

Air Quality


UE URBAN AGENDA Table of Contents 3

Preface Jacek Krupa Marshal of the Małopolska Region


Urban agenda – opportunity, not obligation Jan Olbrycht


Pact of Amsterdam: cities in the forefront Lambert van Nistelrooij


EU Urban Agenda: Polish experience Magdalena Załęska


Polish perspectives on the Urban Agenda for the EU Lea Scheurer, Mart Grisel


Urban Agenda – the quintessence of multi-level governance Aleksandra Olejnik


Quaestio iuris: Pact of Amsterdam

Editor in chief: Renata Jasiołek Design: Loyal Solutions


Contact: Małopolska Region Brussels Office Rue du Luxembourg 3, 1000 Brussels Belgium

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Ladies and gentlemen, The EU Urban Agenda, in spite of its name, affects more than only cities and improving the lives of their inhabitants. Cities cannot exist without regions, just as regions cannot exist without cities - they are irreversibly connected by a network of dependencies, interacting with one another. That is why cities are inextricably linked with the regional policy. It is now estimated that approx. 80% of the people with higher education at working age live in cities, towns or in the suburbs. At the same time, urban centers are characterized by such problems as unemployment, poverty or exclusion. They are common across Europe. For this reason, cities cannot be overlooked in pursuit of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. It is they who play the key role in facing the most pressing challenges of the Old Continent. Local authorities, being the closest to the residents - the citizens of the EU - have a real impact on their daily lives. The EU Urban Agenda is thus a realization of the principle of subsidiarity that lies at the heart of the European Union. I am happy to offer you another e-magazine, Closer to Brussels, where you can find a reliable analysis of Polish progress in the work for the Urban Agenda, as well as views of the Members of the European Parliament specializing in this subject: Jan Olbrycht and Lambert Van Nistelroooij. I wish you all an enjoyable reading and I encourage the cities of the Małopolska Region to join the EU Urban Agenda. Jacek Krupa Marshal of the Małopolska Region

EU Urban Agenda


Dr Jan OLBRYCHT PhD in Sociology, lecturer, expert, politician and social activist. Former mayor of Cieszyn, former Marshal of the Silesia Region. An active member in many European local and regional government organisations. Expert in Regional policy and Urban development. Member of the European Parliament since 2004. Vice-Chairman of the Regional Development Committee in the years 2004-2009. Vice-Chairman of the special Committee on Political Challenges in the years 2010-2011. Vice-president of the European Peoples Party Group at the European Parliament responsible for intercultural dialogue and interreligious affairs in the years 2011-2014. Currently member of the Committees on Budgets (standing rapporteur on Multiannual Financial Framework in the European Parliament) and deputy member of the Regional Development Committee. Co-founder, and since two cadencies, President of the European Parliament’s URBAN Intergroup which brings together 87 MEPs from different political groups and parliamentary committees which aims to tackle together the urban related issues. The Intergroup cooperates with 128 partners which represent the interest of the European cities or work in the Urban development fields at the European, the national, the regional and the local level.


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URBAN AGENDA - opportunity, not obligation

First of all, when discussing the urban agenda, one has to explain to the reader why do European documents repeat the term “agenda”. It would be easier to use the words “plan” or “programme”. However, what is striking in official documents is the lack of the term “policy”, or “urban policy” in this particular case. As members of the European Parliament acting as part of the URBAN Intergroup for a long time, we are not only calling for the strengthening of the so-called urban dimension of the EU cohesion policy, but also point to the need to develop a European urban policy. Such a policy would have to include elements such as: a desirable model of urban development, land-use policy orientations, policy elements related to mobility in urban areas, environmental protection, and air quality in particular, guidelines for public services in cities, desirable housing policy orientations, and so on.

The decision concerning the creation of a European urban policy does not have much support. The reason for this includes concerns for new commitments cities would have to undertake, along with the imposition of certain standards in many areas.

EU Urban Agenda


The proposed text of the urban agenda was adopted on 30th May 2016 in the form of a document named the Pact of Amsterdam.


In our opinion, as MEPs involved in urban issues, determining such a framework at European level would allow for a more efficient use of financial facilities, including European funds. The decision concerning the creation of a European urban policy does not have much support, neither among EU Member States, nor regional authorities, nor even city officials. The reason for this includes concerns for new commitments cities would have to undertake, along with the imposition of certain standards in many areas. The intention of the members of the European Parliament is to create a support system for cities, facilitate their activities, and allow greater sharing of good practices. Today, official EU documents are defined as agendas, i.e. action programmes for the coming years. Such documents include the Leipzig Charter, the Toledo Declaration, the Riga Declaration, or the recently adopted Pact of Amsterdam, that is, the urban agenda. The latter document is different from the rest. It contains not only intentions and plans, but also proposes new forms of cooperation between many entities in improving the existing and creating new legal and financial frameworks. After many consultations, the proposed text of the urban agenda was adopted on 30th May 2016 by Representatives of the Governments of the Member States in the form of a document named the Pact of Amsterdam. It should be noted that the agreements contained therein are not compulsory and do not impose new obligations on Member States. The Governments of the Member States agreed on

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the Pact, declaring a willingness to cooperate with city authorities, non-governmental organizations, the European Commission, and experts in searching for better legislative solutions, better ways of funding and broadening knowledge on urban development. The Pact of Amsterdam contains a list of 12 major thematic areas associated with how cities function. So-called “partnerships” are forming around each thematic area, i.e. groups of 15 various entities tasked with developing a detailed action plans within 3 years, present specific propositions for improving existing solutions, as well as indicating future solutions that are beneficial for cities, governments, and the entire European Union. As of today, there are 12 partnerships, and the lists of entities participating in each of them are available. I am very pleased that Polish cities have engaged in their establishment and will be able to help make significant contributions to the development of new solutions. I encourage all cities to take advantage of this unique moment that opens a window of opportunity for them.

The Pact of Amsterdam contains a list of 12 major thematic areas associated with how cities function.

EU Urban Agenda


Lambert van Nistelrooij Lambert graduated cum laude in social geography from the Catholic University in Nijmegen. At the age of 24 he started as a member of the municipal council. From 1982 to 2004 Lambert was a member of the Provinciale en Gedeputeerde Staten in the Dutch region of Noord-Brabant. Lambert has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. As a member of the Dutch political party CDA, he is a MEP for the European People’s Party. As an MEP he has focused on regional policy, research, innovation, energy and the Digital Agenda. Currently, he is a member of the Committee on Regional Development and a substitute member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He is coordinator of the Intergroup on Active Ageing. Lately Lambert has been working on the European Structural and Investment Funds as the main negotiator, the European Fund for Strategic Investments as rapporteur, the Structural Reform Support Programme as rapporteur, the Biobased Industry Initiative as rapporteur, and the Digital Single Market.


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PACT OF AMSTERDAM Cities in the forefront

More than 70% of Europeans live in an Urban Area, a number that will rise to 80% within the following 30 years. How these Urban Areas develop will play an important role in the future of the EU and that of sustainable development. Now the importance of Urban Areas increased, it is therefore self-evident that Europe turns its gaze more and more towards regional and local governments. The Pact of Amsterdam, agreed May 2016 under the EU presidency of the Netherlands, aims to contribute to this. It was my proposal to agree on a Pact with the cities and the European institutions. A pact in this form solves mutual problems at a legal level. The cities and local authorities have direct experience in issues like ageing, migration and poverty and deserve direct relations with the EU. The pact strives to involve Urban Authorities in the design of policies, to mobilise them for the implementation of

Urban Areas develop will play an important role in the future of the EU and that of sustainable development.

EU Urban Agenda


it and to strengthen the urban dimension in the EU policies’. This should lead to a new way of working, making EU policy more urban-friendly. The EU focus hereby lays on better regulation, funding and exchange of experience through the so-called smart cities.

The pact strives to involve Urban Authorities in the design of policies, to mobilise them for the implementation of it and to strengthen the urban dimension in the EU policies.

In the framework of the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the cities in Europe have agreed on twelve themes. Based on these themes, partnerships are formed. To ensure a real impact on the ground, these partnerships have a bottom-up approach. 1.5 years after the ratification of the Pact, all partnerships have been established. The partnerships on poverty, migration, housing and air quality were established firstly, in 2016. Urban mobility, digital transition, circular economy and employment followed in early 2017. Sustainable land use, responsible public procurement, energy and climate followed


in the summer of 2017. Each of these partnerships presented or will present an action plan according to their specific theme. These non-binding contributions will attribute to the revision of existing EU legislation. Partnerships work with a frontrunner/ follower aspect, which is a vital part in the Urban Agenda. Take for instance the ‘digital transition’-partnership where the Dutch city of Eindhoven is involved as a frontrunner. Frontrunners and followers are paired, whereby it’s the latter task to invest, develop and demonstrate. This concept underlines the strong interrelation between smart cities and the regional and urban development, through so called Smart Specialisation-strategies. Cities do not operate alone, they are surrounded by regions. Therefore a smart city can only exist by having a smart relationship with its surroundings, the regions. Cities and regions have to choose its priorities, use the benefits and share the acquired knowledge. This way there is no need to re-invent the wheel and every actor can focus on their own competitive advantages. All this aims towards to goal of achieving a more comfortable situation for the millions of Europeans living in Urban Areas. Both the Netherlands as well as Poland are playing key roles in urban partnerships. For instance, in the partnerships ‘Housing’, which aims to have affordable housing of good quality with a focus on public affordable housing, the Netherlands is involved as Member State, while the city of Poznan

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is an Urban Partner. The partnership ‘Circular Economy’ reverses the roles; hereby Poland is involved as Member State, while the Dutch city of The Hague is one of the urban areas. This partnership focuses on waste management and the sharing economy. The partnership ‘Urban Poverty’, to which the city of Lodz is a partner, will launch the Homeless Bill of Rights during the CITIES Forum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Aim of the bill is to empower cities to take a human rights based approach to tackling homelessness.

A smart city can only exist by having a smart relationship with its surroundings, the regions.

As of early November, several concrete measures have been taken, but still much work needs to be done. I want to underline the visibility of the partnerships in the coming years. Better communication from the EU’s side is needed to reach the citizens in Europe: ‘Let the Stars Shine’. By the end of the year the Council will issue a report on the progress of the Urban Agenda and the Partnerships. Hopefully this will bring the cities in the forefront. With MEP Jan Olbrycht we debate this on the 20th of November in Katowice during the international urban conference ‘City 2017-City Management’.

To ensure a real impact on the ground, these partnerships have a bottom-up approach.

EU Urban Agenda


EU URBAN AGENDA Polish experience

It will soon have been a year and a half since the adoption of the Amsterdam Pact establishing the EU Urban Agenda (EUAM). It has introduced a new model of cooperation between the EU institutions, cities and urban partners, and thus a new dimension, to the European debate on urban development and their impact on the shape of the EU policies.

Magdalena Załęska A Counselor in the Regional Policy and Cohesion Department of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland at the EU. Previously, an employee of the Ministry of Development and the Directorate General of the European Commission for Regional and Urban Policy.


Announcing the call for the first three pilot partnerships, accompanying the adoption of the EUAM, met a great interest of Polish cities, including, above all, medium-sized cities. Subsequent calls, during the Slovak and Maltese Presidencies, also focused the attention of the city authorities in Poland, thus forcing the Ministry of Development, acting as the coordinator of the process in Poland, to face the often difficult selection of Polish candidates for partnerships. In line with the provisions of the Amsterdam Pact,

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the decisions of the EUAM partnerships are made by the EU-28 Directors General in charge of urban policy, during meetings organized by individual Presidencies of the EU Council. What is the result of Polish efforts in the EUAM? Undoubtedly, at first glance, we get a very favorable picture. In terms of our activities, we are among the leading countries in our region of Europe - we are members of the total of nine of the twelve EUAM partnerships established, being co-coordinators of two. In five of them, we participate at the city level, in the other four - at the ministerial level. We are happy with the involvement of sectoral ministers - the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of the Environment (in cooperation with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management) whose presence in the EUAM partnerships strengthens the belief that urban issues, naturally inherent in the nature, often integrate specific thematic areas determining the development potential of cities.

The decisions of the EUAM partnerships are made by the EU-28 Directors General in charge of urban policy.

The partnership architecture of Poland is as follows: Dutch Presidency Partnerships: • air quality (Ministry of Energy in cooperation with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management partners), • urban poverty (Lodz - a partner) , • housing (Poznan – a partner),

EU Urban Agenda


Slovak Presidency Partnerships: • closed-loop economy (Ministry of Development – a partner), • jobs and skills in the local economy (Kielce - a partner), • adaptation to climate change (Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management – partners),

Issues realized within the EUAM partnerships, which should be complementary to each other and coherent with the main objectives.


Maltese Presidency Partnerships: • energy transformation (Gdansk – a cocoordinator with the City of Roeselare and London), • sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions (Ministry of Development - cocoordinator with the City of Bologna), • urban mobility (Gdynia – a partner). It is impossible to present the assumptions and involvement of Polish actors in all of the partnerships here. In a few words, I will briefly introduce one of them - the Partnership for the Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions, adopted under the last “Maltese” package and co-coordinated by the Ministry of Development, together with the City of Bologna. The partnership includes 7 cities (Bologna, Antwerp, Cork, Lille, Stavanger, Stuttgart, Zagreb), 6 countries (Poland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal) and 10 other partners (among others, DG REGIO, DG ENV, DG R&I, URBACT, EUROCITIES).

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The main areas of the activities of the partnership include: • urban sprawl / smart densification, • nature-based solutions, • innovative tools and policy approaches. The partnership inaugurated their works in July 2017 and already finalized the so-called Orientation Paper which was presented by the representatives of the Ministry of Development at the latest meeting of the EU-28 Directors General in charge of urban policy in Tallinn, on October 24, 2017. Similarly to other Maltese partnerships, the partnership coordinated by Poland and the City of Bologna is committed to working out their Action Plan by the end of 2018. It is worth recalling that the proposals for concrete solutions in Action Plans are intended to contribute to shaping the future and revising the existing legislation and the EU initiatives within: better lawmaking, funding and the strengthening of knowledge and exchange of experiences between European cities. Poland has always been interested in crosscutting issues realized within the EUAM partnerships, which should, in principle, be complementary to each other and coherent with the main objectives. This approach presents a particular challenge in the case of the partnership coordinated by Poland and the City of Bologna which is inherently horizontal. Examples include, for example, the areas at the interface of partnerships for urban mobility, housing, or air quality. The task of the partnership coordinators

is to develop solutions that are fully complementary and avoid duplications of other partnerships. The active involvement of Polish cities and ministries in the EUAM partnerships resulted in new challenges faced by the Ministry of Development and also by the actors of urban policy in Poland. First and foremost, how to “integrate” and exploit the potentials of the cities, including the medium-sized cities that do not formally participate in the EUAM partnerships, and how to effectively promote the results of the EUAM partnerships in Poland. The City Partnership Initiative (PIM), one of the strategic projects of the Government’s Responsible Development Strategy of February 2017, seems to be a response to the challenges, with its assumptions adopted in June 2017. The PIM is a program for the exchange and promotion of knowledge and experience between cities and other entities involved in shaping and implementing the

City Partnership Initiative is a program for the exchange and promotion of knowledge and experience between cities and other entities involved in shaping and implementing the urban policy of Poland.

EU Urban Agenda


urban policy of Poland. The project involves the creation of national networks of cooperation and exchange of experiences involving cities of different sizes. The objectives and actions foreseen for the PIM implementation are consistent with the EUAM priorities as well as with the UN Cities Programme Update. A significant part of the networks within the PIM thematically corresponds to the EUAM partnerships, others reflect Polish characteristics to a greater extent. The first PIM pilots, in urban mobility, air quality and revitalization, are just starting up, more than 30 cities have been called in, and the Ministry of Development, which coordinates the PIM project, is currently preparing the first meeting of the leaders and partners of all networks.

EUAM has granted the Polish cities a new impetus and opened up new perspectives for development, co-creating an urban agenda at the European level.

What are the assumptions for cooperation between the EUAM partnerships and PIM networks? In addition to the common thematic areas, the activities undertaken within the framework of the PIM are to ensure the flow of information between European and national networks / partnerships and the possibility of the given PIM network to contribute to the EUAM. A representative of Poland participating in the EUAM thematic partnership is supposed to act as a link between the activities and recommendations developed within the EUAM, and those activities undertaken within the respective thematic networks of the PIM, in order to effectively translate them into local and national levels. It is still too early to judge the processes duly. There is no doubt, however, that it can


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be stated that the EUAM has granted the Polish cities and actors involved in urban policy a new impetus and opened up new perspectives for development, co-creating an urban agenda at the European level. The first discussions concerning the future of the EUAM resounded at the October meeting of the EU-28 General Directors responsible for city affairs in Tallinn. The Cities Forum 2017 in Rotterdam, with a wide range of representatives from the European Commission, authorities, organizations and city partners, will be a great opportunity to present the previous experience of the work in the context of the EUAM partnerships with respect to the future role of the EUAM. We are, therefore, fond of the fact that the voice of Polish cities is growing louder in the debates, we enjoy the activities and increasingly strong positions of Polish cities in cross-linking with the EU cities and co-creating the European urban policy, we are pleased to have a new model of the cooperation of urban actors in Poland built. We gather experience, build a potential that can provide us with good solutions for the future. I believe we shall exploit the opportunity.

EU Urban Agenda


POLISH PERSPECTIVES on the Urban Agenda for the EU

WHAT IS THE URBAN AGENDA? About the EUKN The European Urban Knowledge Network EGTC is the only independent Member State driven network in the field of urban policy, research and practice. The network provides strategic knowledge support to its members and also has a long track record in policyoriented research commissioned by various presidencies of the Council of the EU or by other institutional partners. Since 2016, the EUKN has been part of the consortium forming the Technical Secretariat of the Urban Agenda for the EU, together with Ecorys (lead partner) and EUROCITIES.


The year 2016 marked a milestone for urban policy in the EU. Building on years of rising attention for the urban dimension of EU policies, it was the Dutch Council presidency in the first half of 2016 that launched the Urban Agenda for the EU. The founding document, the Pact of Amsterdam, describes the key objective – involving urban authorities in achieving better regulation, better funding and better knowledge – and presents the working method of the Urban Agenda.

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The main delivery mechanism of the Urban Agenda are Partnerships assembling actors from local, regional and national authorities, European institutions, umbrella organisations, and an array of stakeholders. They make the heart, soul and brain of the Urban Agenda process. Each of these Partnerships works on one of the twelve priority themes set out in the Pact of Amsterdam. Despite differences in the degrees of urbanisation between the EU Member States, the Urban Agenda for the EU is a common European endeavour. In this endeavour, Poland is one of the most active participants. In line with the multi-level and multi-stakeholder governance approach, six Polish cities, three Polish national ministries and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management are part of the process. Two Partnerships are even co-coordinated by Polish representatives: the one on Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-based Solutions (by the Ministry of Economic Development, together with the city of Bologna) and the one on Energy Transition (by the city of Gdańsk, together with the cities of London and Roeselare). The European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) talked to the Polish representatives in the Partnerships, asking them to share their thoughts on the state of their Partnerships, their evaluation of the process thus far, and their ideas for the future of the Urban Agenda for the EU. In the following, we

Lea Scheurer Has been working for the European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) Secretariat as a researcher and programme manager since 2016. A political scientist by training, she developed a strong interest in the the multi-faceted governance challenges of European urban policy-making. At the EUKN, Lea is involved in the design, coordination, and implementation of the EUKN’s research and communication activities for member countries and external partners. Mart Grisel

Has been the Director of the EUKN since its establishment. Mart has more than 14 years of experience in European knowledge exchange and cooperation with EU Member States, the European Commission and European institutions. His academic background is in French, Comparative Literature, and in Strategic Urban Studies. He oversees the network’s general management and relations, and provides his professional expertise to the EUKN’s partners. Mart has been strongly involved in the establishment of both the Urban Agenda for the EU and the global New Urban Agenda.

EU Urban Agenda


provide an overview of what they told us. PARTNERSHIPS: REASONS TO JOIN, ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES

Głównym mechanizmem realizacji Agendy Miejskiej są Partnerstwa. Każde Partnerstwo pracuje nad jednym z dwunastu tematów priorytetowych określonych w Pakcie Amsterdamskim.

The Partnership representatives all mention common reasons to become engaged in the Urban Agenda for the EU: They want to exchange with other public officials and experts, based on their specific thematic expertise. A main driver for cities’ engagement is to counteract existing challenges felt on the local level, inter alia by learning from other partners’ good practices. For instance, the city of Poznań sees the lack of affordable housing as a significant barrier for the city’s development. Within the Housing Partnership, Poznań shares its experiences in finding innovative and effective sources of funding for investments in affordable housing, building on the “Poznań Affordable Housing” programme that had received funding from the European Investment Bank within the so-called Juncker Plan. Similarly, the Ministry of Economic Development wanted to share its experiences from the preparation of the Polish Circular Economy Roadmap with the Circular Economy Partnership. The Polish Partnership members we talked to were all in all very satisfied with their Partnerships’ achievements so far. Obviously, the records of the longest-running Partnerships with draft Action Plans ready (Urban Poverty, Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, Air Quality, Housing) differ from those that are currently working towards


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the formulation of actions (Jobs and Skills, Urban Mobility, Circular Economy, Digital Transition) and those that just had their kick-off meetings (Energy Transition, Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-based Solutions, Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement, Climate Adaptation). Finding a thematic focus, assessing each partner’s interest and potential contribution, setting up dedicated working structures, and producing first deliverables are described as important achievements. We also heard what challenges the Partnerships face from the Polish participants’ points of view. These challenges generally depend on the composition and on the stage of development of the Partnership. The bottlenecks we heard include difficulties in prioritising issues and finding a thematic focus, having to deliver results within a very tight schedule, organising the communication between partners and the common work most efficiently, lacking human resources to fulfil the Partnership work comprehensively, and identifying stakeholders willing to contribute. COORDINATION AND INTEGRATION: KEY SUCCESS FACTORS

integrated action. However, to make use of this potential, cooperation between stakeholders – those directly involved in the Partnerships and those beyond – is absolutely crucial. We learned that the Polish Partnership members use both existing and newly established exchange mechanisms to reach out to other (Polish) stakeholders and to coordinate within their own organisations. Some cities have dedicated working groups (Gdańsk) or specific internal meetings to discuss Partnership-related issues (Łódź). In order to spread the Partnership work to a wider group of Polish stakeholders, online channels (organisations’ own websites/Facebook pages such as Mobilna Gdynia) and existing networks are used. The city of Łódź distributed a translated version of the Public Feedback survey, which was conducted in July and August 2017 to gather input on the draft Action Plan, among non-governmental organisations, urban networks, and urban centres in Poland. The Ministry of Economic Development coordinates the “Partnership Initiative of Cities” – a strategic project of the Strategy

As early as 2007, the Leipzig Charter placed the need for an integrated approach to urban development very visibly on the European policy agenda. Ten years later, the complexity of societal challenges calls for integrated approaches more than ever. The Urban Agenda for the EU offers a governance structure conducive to such

EU Urban Agenda


for Responsible Development of Poland to improve the development conditions and supporting the integrated and sustainable development of Polish cities. Besides, the ministry manages a Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Group on the Circular Economy, a forum for discussing the Circular Economy Roadmap with around 200 stakeholders and representatives of other ministries. The Ministry’s Innovation Department, represented in the Circular Economy Partnership, uses this group as the main communication channel on the topic of circular economy. The Polish representatives in the Air Quality Partnership – the Ministry of Energy and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management – regularly exchange information on the Partnership work progress internally and with other ministries. Especially, they cooperate closely with the Ministry of Environment, which is responsible for the realisation of the Polish National Air Quality Programme 2020. Following an integrated approach also means identifying the relevant crosscutting issues and cooperating with other Partnerships. We learned that the latter is already happening, for instance between the Housing and Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees Partnerships and between the Urban Poverty and Housing Partnerships. Planned cooperation includes a joint meeting between the Urban Mobility and Air Quality Partnerships during the CITIES Forum in Rotterdam in November 2017. Several Polish representatives stress the need for enhanced cooperation between


Partnerships, despite the positive existing efforts. As the circular economy as a concept exemplifies the importance of horizontal issues, the Circular Economy Partnership will discuss the theme of governance separately to tackle the cross-cutting problems and to highlight the links with other Partnerships. Similarly, the Polish Coordinators of the Sustainable Use of Land Partnership stress that their Partnership theme is highly cross-cutting and has common themes especially with Urban Mobility, Housing, Urban Poverty and Air Quality. In an exemplary manner, they have identified several horizontal issues as crucial for their Partnership: effective urban governance, sound and strategic urban planning, innovative approaches, urban regeneration, provision of adequate public services, and promoting smart mobility and multi-modality. “The main issue of the Partnership will be ensuring complementary with the other Partnerships because the main topics are widely horizontal. It will require a specific approach in order to cooperate regarding similar topics while avoiding the duplication of solutions.” (Natalia Łajdych, Ministry of Economic Development, Department of Development Strategy, Urban Policy Unit – cocoordinating the Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-based Solutions Partnership)

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IMPACT AND OUTLOOK The Pact of Amsterdam suggests a threeyear duration for each Partnership. There have been three rounds of Partnership launches since early 2016: four under the Dutch presidency, four under the following Slovak presidency, and four under the Maltese presidency. A recent EUKN report, investigating the implementation of the Urban Agenda actions one year after the adoption of the Pact of Amsterdam, found that the achievements, challenges and needs differ depending on the “age” of each Partnership. What many of the Polish representatives we talked to share is the expectation that the Urban Agenda will contribute to enhancing the “urban voice” in European policies. This corresponds to the assessment that cities are now regarded as crucial players also on a national and global scale. At the same time, our interlocutors stress that a positive feature of the Urban Agenda is the consideration of small and mediumsized cities next to metropolises.

Agenda Miejska przyczyni się do wzmocnienia “głosu miast” w polityce europejskiej. Pozytywną cechą Agendy Miejskiej jest branie pod uwagę małych i średnich miast, obok metropolii.

Some of the Polish Partnership members who shared their experiences with us find that the participation of Polish representatives in the Urban Agenda for the EU has raised awareness on urban issues in the Polish discourse, while some think that the potential impact can only be assessed once the results of the Partnerships are available to the public and can be discussed in the civil society.

EU Urban Agenda


On the national level, the “Partnership Initiative of Cities”, established by the Ministry of Economic Development, is an interesting mechanism to involve Polish cities in the process and to further strengthen and diversify the national urban policy discourse. A recent call invited cities to apply for three pilot networks (on revitalisation, air quality and mobility), which are planned to run until the beginning of 2019.

“The idea of common work on specific issues and exchange of knowledge and information could be a base of future European cooperation.”

“Cities shall and will be empowered to better manage development challenges.”

The Polish representatives in the current Urban Agenda Partnerships helped us understand what it means for them to be part of this newly established European cooperation structure and how they hope the process will develop. The widespread engagement of Polish actors shows that officials on different governmental levels assign high relevance to the Urban Agenda.

(Mariusz Czepczyński, City of Gdańsk – co-coordinating the Energy Transition Partnership)

The year 2020 will be a key moment for urban development in the EU. One of the reasons is that the current multiannual financial framework, including the cohesion policy framework, will be superseded by a new regime, whose general orientation is still vastly unknown. Also, the current Partnerships will end around that time. Most of the Polish members of the Urban Agenda Partnerships are strongly in favour of continuing the Partnership work even beyond the year 2020 in some way. The Partnership approach is seen as an appropriate tool to implement, monitor and evaluate the results, to address issues that could not be dealt with sufficiently, to identify lessons learnt from the Partnerships’ operation, and to network, cooperate, and exchange good practices.


(Włodzimierz Korona, City of Kielce – member in the Jobs and Skills in the Local Economy Partnership) CONCLUSION

Talking to them, we learned that various exchange mechanisms are in place in the Polish entities represented in the Partnerships – to reach out to stakeholders and citizens, to address cross-cutting issues, and to explore common ground with other Partnerships. However, more systematic knowledge on the emerging networks and exchange mechanisms is crucial to help the Urban Agenda for the EU tap its full potential. The EUKN will continue to contribute to gathering this knowledge, building upon its recent research activities on integrated urban development in Europe (study “Ten Years After the Leipzig Charter”, May 2017) and the implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU (study “One Year Pact of Amsterdam”, July 2017).

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In the same vein, the political discussion about the future of the Urban Agenda needs to be led now, clarifying its post2020 orientation. Our conversation with the Polish Partnership members shows how high the expectations of those most closely involved are. Stay connected: Stakeholders are invited to register to the website of the Urban Agenda for the EU ( and take part in interactive discussions on the Partnership topics and the Urban Agenda process.

EU Urban Agenda


Aleksandra Olejnik Aleksandra Olejnik, born 20 June 1987 in Lodz. A postgraduate student at the Faculty of Management at the University of Lodz, research work on innovation in urban centres. A co-ordinator and advisor on the City of Lodz’s activity with international organizations and political actions in the Committee of the Regions and the Council of Europe. A specialist in the creation and implementation of innovative projects in cooperation with private entities and academic centres. A plenipotentiary of the President of the City of Lodz in the scope of the actions connected with the Urban Agenda.


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The quintessence of multi-level governance

The characteristic feature of the Urban Agenda is that it is an informal agreement. Specifically, it consists in the creation of the so-called “Partnerships�, i.e. cooperation between the representatives of EU Member States, local, regional, European institutions and urban development experts. Accession to the Partnerships is voluntary and their main task is to develop a methodology for the implementation of their 12 thematic objectives. Each Partnership offers a great deal of flexibility both in terms of creating solutions in a particular topic and in terms of the shape of their cooperation; its goal is to find effective solutions for better funding, better regulation and better exchange of experiences - the three pillars of the Urban Agenda in the context of shaping and implementing European Union policies. This type of a premise is focused on organic work and stimulating the collective action of various actors.

Its goal is to find effective solutions for better funding, better regulation and better exchange of experiences - the three pillars of the Urban Agenda

EU Urban Agenda


European institutions are primarily concerned with developing recommendations for optimizing existing tools.

The breakthrough moment for the Urban Agenda was the adoption of the so-called Amsterdam Pact during the Dutch Presidency of the EU (2016). On its basis, the first four pilot Partnerships, dedicated to air quality, urban poverty (participation of the city of Lodz), housing (participation of the city of Poznan) and integration of migrants and refugees, were established. Lodz has been actively involved in the Partnership for Urban Poverty. These activities were divided into four subgroups: revitalization of dilapidated areas, prevention of child poverty, the social exclusion of Roma and help for the homeless. Lodz actively worked as a co-coordinator in the first subgroup, related to the recommendations related to better funding, better regulation and better exchange of knowledge on dilapidated areas. Ultimately, the recommendations developed by the first four Partnerships should take the form of a so-called “Action Plan”, so first, the results of the Partnership’s work were publicly announced in July and August 2017, followed by the completion of the Action Plan based on a discussion between the Partnerships and the conclusions drawn from public consultations. It is worth emphasizing that the recommendations developed by individual Partnerships are treated as positions which, by virtue of the form, are not voted on, and therefore do not have to be implemented. Whether the given action is adopted and whether it falls within the scope of the European Union’s activities will depend on its quality and on the real likelihood of implementation.


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European institutions are primarily concerned with developing recommendations for optimizing existing tools, identifying and providing recommendations concerning the bottlenecks that block the use of European funds, and optimising the use of urban centres as a driving force in the development of the European Union. The process itself and the inclusion of individual actors should be linked to the emphasis and recognition of the role of cities in European processes. For the first time in the history of the EU, we are dealing with actors from many fields in the decisionmaking process, on equal terms and having the same voice, regardless of whether they represent the national, regional or local level. For this reason, the Urban Agenda, which operates at this stage as an informal agreement, is a breakthrough in devoting so much attention to urban areas and the forms of its implementation - the quintessence of multi-level governance.

For the first time in the history of the EU, we are dealing with actors from many fields in the decisionmaking process.

EU Urban Agenda


QUAESTIO IURIS „Pact of Amsterdam”

Agreed at the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) (…)

Preamble The European Union is one of the most urbanised areas in the world. Today, more than 70% of Europe’s citizens lives in an Urban Area. The UN projects that by 2050 this percentage will reach 80%. The development of Urban Areas will have a major impact on the future sustainable development (economic, environmental, and social) of the European Union and its citizens. (…) The need for an Urban Agenda for the EU In order to realise the full potential of the European Union and deliver on its strategic objectives, the Urban Agenda for the EU strives to involve Urban Authorities in achieving Better Regulation, Better Funding and Better Knowledge (knowledge base and exchange): • EU legislation is to a large extent implemented in Urban Areas and has direct and indirect implications for Urban Authorities. EU legislation sometimes has conflicting impacts and its


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implementation at local level can be difficult. Therefore, EU regulation should anticipate these difficulties. • Urban Authorities are among the key beneficiaries of EU funding. Access to existing funding is however sometimes administratively burdensome. The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to improve accessibility and coordination of existing funding possibilities and to contribute to their simplification. • Knowledge on how Urban Areas evolve is fragmented and successful experience can be better valorised, diffused and exploited. The Urban Agenda for the EU therefore intends to enhance a better urban policy knowledge base and the exchange of good practice. Delivering the full potential of Urban Areas requires a joint approach between both sectoral policies and the different levels of government. A balanced, sustainable and integrated approach towards urban challenges should, in line with the Leipzig Charter on sustainable European cities, focus on all major aspects of urban development (in particular economic, environmental, social, territorial, and cultural) in order to ensure sound urban governance and policy. There is a need to enhance the complementarity of policies affecting Urban Areas and to strengthen their urban dimension. This can be achieved by involving all levels of government, by ensuring coordination and effective interaction between policy sectors, in full respect of the subsidiarity principle and in line with the competences of each level. The Urban Agenda for the EU

offers a new form of multilevel and multistakeholder cooperation with the aim of strengthening the urban dimension in EU policy. Each stakeholder is free to determine its own level of participation in the Urban Agenda for the EU. In order to address the increasingly complex challenges in Urban Areas, it is important that Urban Authorities cooperate with local communities, civil society, businesses and knowledge institutions. Together they are the main drivers in shaping sustainable development with the aim of enhancing the environmental, economic, social and cultural progress of Urban Areas. EU, national, regional and local policies should set the necessary framework in which citizens, NGOs, businesses and Urban Authorities, with the contribution of knowledge institutions, can tackle their most pressing challenges. The Urban Agenda for the EU acknowledges the polycentric structure of Europe and the diversity (social, economic, territorial, cultural and historical) of Urban Areas across the EU. Furthermore, the Urban Agenda for the EU acknowledges the importance of Urban Areas of all sizes and contexts in the further development of the European Union. A growing number of urban challenges are of a local nature, but require a wider territorial solution (including urban-rural linkages) and cooperation within functional urban areas. At the same time, urban solutions have the potential to lead to wider territorial benefits. Urban Authorities therefore need to cooperate within their functional areas and with their

EU Urban Agenda


surrounding regions, connecting and reinforcing territorial and urban policies. (…) I Objectives and scope of the Urban Agenda for the EU The Ministers affirm that: 1. The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to realise the full potential and contribution of Urban Areas towards achieving the objectives of the Union and related national priorities in full respect of subsidiarity and proportionality principles and competences. 2. The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to establish a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies and legislation with a potential impact on Urban Areas and also to contribute to territorial cohesion by reducing the socioeconomic gaps observed in urban areas and regions. 3. The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to involve Urban Authorities in the design of policies, to mobilise Urban Authorities for the implementation of EU policies, and to strengthen the urban dimension in these policies. By identifying and striving to overcome unnecessary obstacles in EU policy, the Urban Agenda for the EU aims to enable Urban Authorities to work in a more systematic and coherent way towards achieving overarching goals. Moreover, it will help make EU policy more urban-friendly, effective and efficient. 4. The Urban Agenda for the EU will not create new EU funding sources, unnecessary administrative burden, nor affect the current


distribution of legal competences and existing working and decision-making structures and will not transfer competences to the EU level (in accordance with Articles 4 and 5 of the Treaty on European Union). Scope 5. In line with the Council Conclusions of 19 November 2014 (Doc. 15802/14), the Urban Agenda for the EU will fully respect the subsidiarity principle and competences under the EU Treaties. Moreover, the Urban Agenda for the EU is based on the European Council Conclusions adopted on 26/27 June 2014, which state that, in line with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the Union must concentrate its actions on areas where it makes a real difference. It should refrain from taking action when Member States can better achieve the same objectives. The Urban Agenda for the EU focuses specifically on three pillars of EU policy making and implementation: • Better regulation (…) • Better funding (…) • Better knowledge (base and knowledge exchange) (…)

6. The Urban Agenda for the EU will rely on the principle of an integrated approach to sustainable urban development as the guiding principle to achieve the goals of the three policy pillars. The Urban Agenda for the EU will, in addition to the organisations mentioned in the Pact of Amsterdam, make use of existing European policies, instruments, platforms and

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programmes such as the opportunities offered by Cohesion Policy, including its sustainable urban development strand, Urban Innovative Actions, URBACT, ESPON, the ‘Covenant of Mayors’, Civitas 2020, RFSC (Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities), EUKN. It will make full use of the European Innovation Partnership ‘Smart Cities and Communities7’ as established by the Commission. 7. The Urban Agenda for the EU will foster coherence between urban matters and territorial cohesion, as set out in the Territorial Agenda 2020. The Ministers responsible for Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters will be periodically informed by the DG meeting on urban matters about the development of the Urban Agenda for the EU. 8. The Urban Agenda for the EU will contribute to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Goal 11 ‘Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ and the global ‘New Urban Agenda’ as part of the Habitat III process.

and inclusive growth, the initial list of Priority Themes (in no particular order) for the Urban Agenda for the EU is as follows (see Work Programme of the Urban Agenda for the EU for an indicative description of the themes): 10.1 Inclusion of migrants and refugees. 10.2 Air quality. 10.3 Urban poverty. 10.4 Housing. 10.5 Circular economy. 10.6 Jobs and skills in the local economy. 10.7 Climate adaptation (including green infrastructure solutions). 10.8 Energy transition. 10.9 Sustainable use of land and NatureBased solutions. 10.10 Urban mobility. 10.11 Digital transition. 10.12 Innovative and responsible public procurement. Source: system/files/ged/pact-of-amsterdam_en.pdf

9. The Urban Agenda for the EU should be implemented in full transparency. All interested parties should have equal access to information about the state of play of the Urban Agenda and should have equal possibilities to contribute to the Urban Agenda for the EU. Priority Themes and cross-cutting issues of the Urban Agenda for the EU The Ministers agree: 10. That, taking into account the priorities of the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable

EU Urban Agenda


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