Cities as a Test Bed for Climate Neutrality: €32 million in Support for EU Cities Mission Pilot Cities
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Cities as a Test Bed for Climate Neutrality: €32 million in Support for EU Cities Mission Pilot Cities

NetZeroCities is launching a groundbreaking programme that tests new approaches to reaching climate neutrality goals across cities in Europe. This Pilot Cities Programme is part of the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities (“EU Cities Mission”), providing €32 million in grants and hands-on support to cities. The call is inviting applications until 4th of November 2022 from all cities that are committing to the objectives of the EU Cities Mission and are located in EU Member States and Associated Countries
The Pilot Cities Programme will help cities as they test out locally tailored actions towards a climate transition. Selected cities will be provided with grants funded under Horizon 2020, the European Commission's 2014-2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (R&I). Cities will receive such support in the amounts of € 0.5 million, € 1 million, or € 1.5 million in order to deploy and scale up R&I and systemic solutions.
NetZeroCities will also provide expertise and support services to the selected Pilot Cities and help them as they take an inclusive, systems-wide approach to climate neutrality. Cities’ piloting activities will be diverse; consisting of social, cultural, technological, nature-based, regulatory, and financial innovations, as well as new approaches to business and governance.
Applicants’ proposed activities will be considered, as well as how they interact with the various urban systems relevant to that city, including: mobility, energy systems and built environment, material and resource flows, health and well-being, natural areas, cultural, social, financial and institutional systems, and accessible public spaces. Further details regarding eligibility are available in the Call
These piloting activities will turn cities into test beds for climate neutrality, leading the way for other communities to take action. Collective learning will be a central part of the Pilot Cities Programme, which will promote exchange among the cities at every step of the process. From there, the solutions will be shared even more broadly, as part of a twinning programme that will link each Pilot City with two to three other cities across Europe. To scale up these initial actions, the NetZeroCities Platform will also provide support in securing funding and financing for further implementation or replication.

NetZeroCities is managed by 33 partners from 27 European countries, including ICLEI Europe. The project supports the
112 European cities , among them 44 ICLEI Members in drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality. NetZeroCities supports the European Green Deal in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future through research and innovation.

Roman Mendle, Coordinator for Smart Cities, Circular Economy and Climate Neutrality at ICLEI Europe, working on NetZeroCities highlights the importance of the programme to local governments: "The pilot program under NetZeroCities is a key contribution and support offer to cities across Europe to lay the foundations and kick-start the local implementation of their ambitious climate neutrality targets by 2030. More importantly, those cities receiving pilot funding will serve as know-how and experience generators for all cities across Europe and the mission, and will pass on their knowledge gained via the NetZeroCities twinning and replication processes. The NetZeroCities consortium hopes to receive many high quality applications for the available funding that demonstrate how the received support maximises impact on mission implementation, locally and across Europe."

More information is available in the Call
Guidelines and Guidebook. 

About ICLEI Europe

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides members in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers, and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.

About the Mission and NetZeroCities

Cities were invited to express their interest to become part of the Mission in November 2021. This was followed by expert evaluation of each expression of interest. As a second step, the Commission applied additional criteria to ensure a diversity among the cities. The 100 EU Cities chosen today represent 12% of the EU population. The Commission launched the Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 in September 2021. NetZeroCities will support the Mission as a service platform supported by world-class practitioners. It will help European cities by providing them with the support and solutions they need to achieve their Net Zero goal in a socially inclusive way.


Press contact:
Nea Pakarinen
Senior Officer Media & Outreach
ICLEI European Secretariat

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