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 process of the Urban Agenda for the EU, which started in 2016 with the Pact of Amsterdam, arrives at a milestone in its implementation with the first urban partnerships delivering results. Furthermore, it is expected that the Council of Ministers in charge of Urban Matters will launch two new urban partnerships on culture and cultural heritage and on security in public spaces. The Committee of the Regions also requested to launch a partnership on cultural heritage.
The Opinion requested that the future of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposal and Cohesion policy beyond 2020 should reflect the role of cities and urban areas, enhancing the integrated tools and mechanisms to empower and support cities and regions directly. In that respect, the European Commission proposed a new Chapter II entitled "territorial development" within the CPR in order to set out the common rules of the current integrated territorial instruments (art. 22 CPR): Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI, Community-led local development and another territorial tool supporting programmes financed by the ERDF.
Furthermore, the European Commission has also proposed to set-up a new "European Urban Initiative" to also cover all urban areas and to support the Urban Agenda for the EU, as the Opinion already requested. In that sense, the new ERDF PO 5 entitled "a Europe closer to citizens by fostering the sustainable and integrated development of urban, rural and coastal areas and local initiatives" will also ensure the link with the SDG 11 and the UN New Urban Agenda, requested also by the Opinion.
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.