The opinion evaluates the implementation of the Urban Agenda so far and makes an assessment of the findings presented by the upcoming report on this topic that the European Commission adopted by November 2017. In addition, the opinion provides concrete input on how to implement the UN New Urban Agenda and how to better consider the urban dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals established in the Agenda 2030.
• The CoR played a key role in allowing a successful start-up of two new urban partnerships on "Security in Public Spaces" and on "Culture and Culture Heritage"
• As a direct consequence of the Pact of Amsterdam, which granted the CoR the possibility to propose cities to become members of the urban partnerships, some cities and regions that the CoR had put forward, such as Mechelen, Berlin, the Canary Islands and the Silesian Voivodship were selected.
The Urban Agenda for the EU is in the middle of its implementation phase. The final Action Plans of the six remaining Partnerships (Housing, Urban Mobility, Sustainable Land Use, Jobs and Skill, Climate Adaption and Circular Economy) were adopted in 2018. The European Commission carried out an assessment study of the Urban Agenda for the EU, in order to analyse the performance of this process and to explore possible options for improvement. Against this background, the CoR anticipated the discussion on the implementation of the Urban Agenda making its own assessment with the adoption of an opinion on the matter in July 2018, thereby acknowledging the work pursued since the adoption of the Pact of Amsterdam in May 2016, calling for the continuation and further development of the Urban Agenda, and reiterating its commitment to contribute to this process.
The involvement of CoR members in the work of the partnerships has been a paradigm and allowed members to feed the CoR's position into the discussion, for instance, at a workshop on state aids and housing that was organised by the urban partnership on affordable housing within the framework of the follow-up activities of the CoR opinion on "Towards an European Agenda on Housing" at the CoR. The CoR COTER commission also produced an Urban Impact Assessment on the New United Nations Urban Agenda in order to provide input to the monitoring process carried out by the European Commission.
The COTER commission played also a key role in allowing a successful start-up of two new urban partnerships on "Security in Public Spaces" and on "Culture and Culture Heritage" launched by the Directors General responsible for urban matters in November 2018, the latter one being a topic which had already been proposed by the CoR opinion on "Concrete steps for implementing the EU Urban Agenda" in 2016. As a direct consequence of the Pact of Amsterdam, which granted the CoR the possibility to propose cities to become members of the urban partnerships, some cities and regions that the CoR had put forward, such as Mechelen, Berlin, the Canary Islands and the Silesian Voivodship were selected.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- notes the core point that the Urban Agenda for the EU seeks to mobilise the experience and expertise of urban authorities and to enable them to contribute to the development and implementation of those EU policy processes and instruments that most impact on cities;
- supports the Urban Agenda's approach and its multi-level governance working method across 12 broad policy priority themes as identified in the Pact of Amsterdam and the need to rethink approaches to the design of existing rules and regulations, enhancing the user-friendliness of the range of available urban-focussed funding resources and improve knowledge exchange and cooperation on urban issues among different stakeholders;
- points out that many of the Partnership themes are themselves closely tied into other themes and that, in the spirit of integrated thinking, these should not be treated in isolation; insists on the need for very enhanced coordination between the action plans as their activities could have significant impacts on each other;
- requests that the future of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposal and Cohesion policy beyond 2020 reflect the role of cities and urban areas, enhancing the integrated tools and mechanisms to empower and support cities and regions directly; highlights that it is crucial for Cohesion policy to pursue the added-value of the integrated territorial approach and, in conjunction with its strong rural support, to also have a strong urban dimension as well as "urban ownership" on the ground in cities and urban areas;
- recognises the importance of cities in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030; calls for very strong synergies between the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and post-2020 EU policy priority-setting.