Evidence based policy making for sustainable cities

The EU Urban Agenda, Nature Based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

We are pleased to invite you to the conference "Evidence-based policymaking for sustainable cities".

Goals

The conference aims to strengthen the synergies between the EU Urban Agenda, the EU research agenda on Nature-based Solutions, and the potential for urban green infrastructure. We will present and discuss the potential benefits of using spatially explicit data for evidence-based local policymaking. This way, we hope to increase awareness for and acceptance of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in the local policy arena.

Background – Urban pilot

Recently, a study amongst several EU Member States (the ‘Urban pilot') has identified the policies, data, and indicators regarding green infrastructure that are currently used at a local level . This study also inventoried the needs that local communities/cities express with regards to urban green infrastructure. The main objective of this study was to learn how to map urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services, in order to ease their inclusion into policy. The study was a joint effort of the European Commission/JRC, the Netherlands and several other Member States.

From Urban pilot to Conference

On this conference on the 31st of May we will present the results of the Urban pilot. These results show that further work is expedient on specific issues that require increased cooperation between all relevant stakeholders. Examples of these issues are how to assess the values of urban green infrastructure in a spatially explicit manner, or how to overcome specific governance and regulatory barriers, such as segmented responsibilities and budgets, in design and construction. Relevant stakeholders should include representatives from throughout Europe from local, regional and national governments, businesses, the civil society, science, and from the EU itself. Our aim is to bring these stakeholders together to exchange knowledge and experience, in order to feed the results into the networks of cities, national governments and science.

Next step – Partnership

We believe that a Partnership, as intended under the EU Urban Agenda, would be the best way to organise the aforementioned cooperation. The ‘Urban Agenda Partnership' is a new, promising instrument that already has wide support from Eurocities, EU Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament. At the conference in May we would therefore like to explore the possibility of setting up a Partnership on urban green infrastructure. Such a Partnership may help cities to efficiently cooperate with Member States and the EU on their Urban Agenda. When a Partnership is directly related to the Urban Agenda, the Partnership will bring cities into direct contact with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. A Partnership empowers cities and enhances opportunities for removing the barriers mentioned above, by taking coherent action at the three important scales; city, national and European. We would also like to discuss further mainstreaming of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions in other Partnerships already set up under the EU Urban Agenda. Additional synergies with the Urban Agenda themes 'sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions', 'the circular economy', and ‘climate adaptation' should be explored as well.

We sincerely hope to welcome you on 31th of May in the city of Utrecht.

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