The Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly is delighted to announce it has been appointed as the Irish Urban Contact Point (UCP) for the European Urban Initiative (EUI), having been nominated by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The EMRA was only last year reappointed as URBACT Contact Point for the new programming period, with both Contact Point functions reaffirming the growing expertise of the Assembly around sustainable urban development. This will equip the Assembly in best supporting towns and cities of all sizes across Ireland with a menu of options when it comes to project calls for funding in both programmes.
Look out for upcoming communication about the EUI, including an online information session! In the meantime, see below for some initial background information on the programme and if you have any immediate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Karl Murphy, Contact Point for the EUI and URBACT programmes in Ireland at email@example.com
The EUI sets out to support urban areas of all size with innovative actions, capacity and knowledge building, policy development, and communication on sustainable urban development of EU relevance. The projects help test new solutions, techniques, and planning models. In doing this and in line with objective five of the current European Cohesion Policy, namely, bringing Europe closer to its citizens, the European Union seeks to ensure cities are actively involved in designing and implementing policy responses to their local challenges. The EUI further aims out to help realise the Urban Agenda for the EU, working closely with the new URBACT IV programme. The EUI is funded by the EU, with a total ERDF budget of €450m for 2021-27.
There are three main strands of assistance:
- Innovative Actions: Urban authorities are supported with up to 80% direct co-financing and up to €5m in ERDF, permitting cities to experiment as testbeds for their innovative idea and then transferring it to other cities. Innovative Actions are organised under themes and these projects give urban authorities the space to take a risk and experiment on innovative and creative solutions to their urban challenges, figure out how they work in practice, before transferring this scalable solution to other EU cities. Innovative Actions’ projects must be participatory and can include agencies, private sector, research institutions, NGOs, academia, industry, civil society, and other levels of government.
- Capacity Building: cities’ capacity can be strengthened through the design of sustainable urban development strategies, policies and practices in a way that is integrated and participative. Peer-learning activities are organised to provide targeted and short-term support, facilitating the exchange of knowledge, good practices and solutions via its peer reviews and city-to-city exchanges.
- Knowledge environment: cities are also provided with avenues through which horizontal and thematic knowledge and knowhow can be accessed. The knowledge collected and related communication will help ensure support for Urban Agenda cooperation between Member State governments so that evidence-based policy on sustainable urban development can be acquired and developed.