Partnerships for Sustainable Cities (2022-2024)

'Partnerships for Sustainable Cities' is an EU-funded project that promotes integrated urban development by fostering peer-to-peer exchanges among Local Authorities of EU Member States and countries in the Global South around shared challenges. ECDPM's Jean Bossuyt is leading the project's coordination facility team.

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    About the project

    Local authorities are key actors of development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. About 65% of the 169 targets underlying the 17 SDGs will not be reached without engagement of local and regional governments.

    Rapid urbanisation process is one of the most important transformations of the 21st century. Today, more than half of the world’s population already lives in cities while this share should reach 85% by 322100. The challenges induced by rapid urbanisation are multiple: poverty eradication, pollution, water security, climate change, conflict, forced displacement and migration. Tackling these global challenges and reaching the SDGs will depend crucially on whether cities “get urbanisation right”.

    In response, the European Commission mobilised funding to support actions promoting partnerships for sustainable cities between European and partner countries' local authorities. Three calls for proposals were launched over the past few years leading to 57 approved projects in 35 countries.

    Beyond providing funding for demand-driven activities of the various partnerships, the program also seeks to promote joint learning among all actors involved (i.e. the cities, local constituencies, EU Delegations as well as various units of the Commission at headquarters levels) and use the lessons learnt in the process to shape future EU policies and practices towards cities (in close dialogue with other key stakeholders such as the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions).

    A city-to-city platform was developed so that the cities involved in the project can share the experiences, results, lessons learnt and challenges of these 57 projects. Ensuring this inter-city dialogue means that these partnerships – acting as laboratories for finding innovative solutions – can inform EU policies and approaches to engaging with cities and local municipalities in external action and development cooperation.

    See here the Partnerships for sustainable cities platform

    Second global meeting of the Partnerships for Sustainable Cities (March 2024)

    The second gathering comes at an interesting moment as for many of the 57 city-to-city partnerships, 2024 will be the last year of implementation. 

    In this context, four main objectives are pursued in the framework of the second global meeting, which will be held in Barcelona in March 2024.

    Objectives of the global meeting

    1. To deepen collective learning and showcase the results achieved by the decentralised cooperation projects in the various thematic areas covered, amongst others to demonstrate the added value of this specific instrument. 
    2. To inform participants about evolving policies and practices towards cities/local authorities.
    3. To have structured exchanges on how to foster the sustainability of decentralised cooperation processes through the efforts of the cities themselves and support from the EU.
    4. To formulate a clear set of recommendations for the EU on how to further foster decentralised cooperation approaches in its external action in the future.

    First global meeting of the Partnerships for Sustainable Cities (March 2023)

    In March 2023, representatives from these 57 partnerships and a wide range of relevant EU actors came together in Brussels to meet for the first time since the project launched.

    Objectives of the global meeting


    1. To inform participants about evolving EU policies and practices towards cities (and the place therein of the decentralised cooperation as an aid modality).

    2. To build linkages and develop synergies between participating cities, including by the adoption of shared tools for communication and monitoring and evaluation

    3. To jointly capitalise on experiences and lessons learnt during the implementation of the programme so far.

    4. To foster dialogue between participating cities and a wide range of EU stakeholders on how to strengthen mutually beneficial partnership relations.

    Watch ECDPM taking you behind the scenes at the first global meeting

    More information

    For more information about the Partnerships for sustainable cities project, get in touch with Jean Bossuyt at or Amandine Sabourin at

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