A total of 28 youth workers from up to 20 European countries meet in Terrassa from Sunday, July 15, until next Friday, to work on the quality and inclusive capacity of transnational youth exchanges. The seminar is called Go Ahead !, is part of the Erasmusplus program and is hosted by the entity from Terrassa La Víbria Intercultural. During the seminar, common challenges and new professional links will be generated, good practices will be shared and work will be done to improve the quality of youth exchanges.

The meeting aims to improve the inclusive capacity of youth exchange projects. It is prioritized that young people with fewer opportunities can enjoy international mobility experiences adapted to their needs. Thanks to youth exchanges, young people aged 13 to 30 can acquire new skills and work values ​​of interculturality and tolerance by learning to appreciate the cultural diversity. The meeting hopes to develop a strategy with future projects among members of the network.

The Víbria Intercultural is a 15-year-old community that promotes international mobility for young people from the Casa Baumann Office in Terrassa and other information points of Manresa, Igualada, Palau-solità i Plegamans and Barberà del Vallès.

For more information: www.vibria.org

The program “Let’s Clean Up Europe!” is an action throughout Europe to raise awareness about the amount of waste that we uncontrollably run into nature and promote sensitization actions through the collection of these illegal waste in forests, beaches, river banks and others environments. In Terrassa, Secondary students from El Cingle and INS Can Roca have participated in the cleaning of natural spaces. The campaign is an initiative promoted by the European Commission that consists in the removal of waste during a day and with a playful and sensitizing objective.

The INS Can Roca performed its activity on May 13, in a natural space between Torre-Sana and Torrebonica, and the school El Cingle did it on June 13 in an area around the field of the cemetery. The day is considered as a direct action to withdraw waste. As the participants advance on the route, they collect the remains found in their path and separate them by typology in order to facilitate their recycling. At the end of the day, young people calculate the volume of waste removed and weigh it.

Students of the INS Can Roca / Photo: anellaverdaterrassa.cat

In the case of INS Can Roca, the activity was opened to the families of the center. Twenty participants collected during the morning a total of eight sacks of plastic and metal; two large sacks of waste; half large bag of glass bottles; two sofa cushions, one tire, two children’s car seats for the car and two paint pots.
In 2017 the campaign had the participation of about 8,000 people in 199 actions that were carried out in 37 counties of Catalonia, most of which were focused on the most populated areas. In total, 75,602 kg of waste were collected. 

Judith Plaza / Photo: La Torre

A junior high school student at INS Terrassa is the winner of a European competition that, as a prize, has an Arctic expedition. Judith Plaza has achieved this milestone as author of a device that determines the latitude of the earth measuring the magnetic field. You can set the coordinates anywhere on the planet without specifying GPS or satellites.

Judith’s project is one of the six winners of the European Edu-Arctic contest, which had 160 proposals from all over the continent. Judith Plaza and his tutor, technology professor at the center of Terrassa Jordi Escofet, will travel for 15 days in August to the islands of Svardbald, from Norway, with 2,600 inhabitants. Its main feature is that it is the inhabited area (with permanent civil population) located more to the north. There are other settlements further to the north, but with temporary teams of researchers living there.

The Plaza project went through two selection processes, even having to defend it by videoconference in front of university professors and researchers from Poland, Denmark, Norway and the Faroe Islands. Edu-Arctic is a European educational program that aims to attract young students to the study of natural sciences and polar research. EDU-ARCTIC works with innovative practices in science education and provides a program aimed at strengthening this education in schools, with special emphasis on 13 to 20 year olds and their teachers. Among the tools they offer web seminar transmissions (with contents on polar research); a polarpedia, an online encyclopaedia with scientific expressions, educational resources and dictionaries in, at least, 5 European languages; the contest that has won Judith Plaza; workshops for teachers, and a monitoring system for schools to observe and record data of their surroundings.

Representatives of the Culture Service of the City Council of Terrassa participated last week in a peer-learning visit to the Turkish city of Izmir, in a meeting between the Culture Pilot Cities. From Izmir explained that the city emphasizes on the governance of culture, education and its economic dimension. The city also has a good background in the integration of a cultural dimension in the processes of urban regeneration, an aspect that is also being taken into account in recent years in Terrassa. In addition to a presentation of cultural policies in Izmir, the learning visit also addressed issues such as cultural mobility and the creation of networks in Europe and the Mediterranean and the connections between culture and social inclusion.

In 2016 Terrassa was selected to participate in a European project on culture in sustainable cities. Once the document “Cultura 21: Actions” has been adopted, with the commitments on the role of culture in sustainable cities, within the framework of the Culture Summit of the UCLG network – United Cities and Local Governments, in Bilbao, in 2015, and following the successful experience of the Pilot Cities program in 2014, the Network Culture Commission launched the program “Culture in Sustainable Cities: Learning With Culture 21 Actions in Europe”, postulated by the City Council of Terrassa through the Culture Service and with the support of the European and International Relations Service.

This program aims to enable European cities to participate in a learning process based on the principles and actions of Culture 21; Deepening the UCLG’s work in the field of culture and sustainable development, and the experience and knowledge of Culture Action Europe in the field of representation and taking into account the voice of the agents of civil society in culture.

Terrassa together with other European cities such as Gabrovo (Bulgaria), Galway (Ireland), Izmir (Turkey), Lisbon (Portugal), Namur (Belgium), Swansea (Wales – United Kingdom), Maastricht (Netherlands) and Timisoara (Romania), among others, is participating in an equitable learning process, sharing knowledge about the role of culture in sustainable cities.

In November 2016 TERRASSA already collected in an article an analysis of the self-evaluation of Culture 21: Actions, with results that placed the city above the global average in all areas. These, they considered aspects such as cultural rights; culture, equity and social inclusion; culture and education; heritage and diversity; culture and the environment; governance of culture; economy; urban planning and public space, and information and knowledge. 

More than 80 of Europe’s major cities came together last Monday to launch a campaign that will run for one year and that explores and promotes new forms of democracy. The event was a success, with more than 500 people than attended the main debate in Brussels, with several others following it on live streaming. The campaign has been joined by 85 EUROCITIES member cities, and more than 200 events are currently scheduled and shared in the Cities4Europe website. Terrassa was represented by the Deputy Mayor Amadeu Aguado and the chief of International Affairs Department, Joan Chicón.

‘Cities4Europe – Europe for citizens’ will:

•                     Involve citizens in a dialogue about our common future

•                     Inspire all levels of government to put people first

•                     Impact the way decisions are taken in Europe

During the event in Brussels, Daniël Termont, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Ghent, said that “It’s time to change the way we do politics in Europe. The EU needs to listen more and engage more with its citizens. As local leaders and members of EUROCITIES we are committed to include our citizens in a dialogue about our future”

Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona, said:  “Today citizens are increasingly taking collective action locally to address challenges they experience. As local authorities we work closely to include citizens in our decision making, and we can share this experience with other levels of government.” At a time when Europe is striving to retain its legitimacy and relevance in the face of growing disillusionment and Euroscepticism, cities can provide a critical link with citizens.

Philippe Close,Mayor of Brussels / Photo: Vivian Hertz

Philippe Close, mayor of Brussels: “Cities have experience in doing things differently. By creating public policies together with our citizens, we tap into an innovative potential that often matches urban and European needs”.

Cities4Europe will bring these ideas together in Edinburgh this November at the EUROCITIES annual conference. Ahead of the European elections next year, a mayors’ summit in March 2019 will be an opportunity for mayors to share the top recommendations collected from citizens with national and European leaders.

Philippe Van Leeuw, director de cinema, i Philippe van Parijs, filòsof / Photo: Vivian Hertz

Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher economist: “Our cities need enjoyable immobility no less than sustainable mobility. Public spaces must be reconquered and become again places to stroll and meet. Courage is needed to get there. All over Europe, citizens can and must help authorities to find it”.Cities4Europe campaign partners are: Actors of Urban Change, BOZAR, CODEMOS, European Cultural Foundation, European Festivals Association, European Youth Capital, Eurotowns, Pakhuis de Zwijger, UNRIC, URBACT, Young European Federalists.

Participating cities in the campaign are: Amiens Metropole, Amsterdam, Angers Loire Metropole, Antwerp, Arezzo, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Besiktas, Birmingham, Bologna, Bonn, Bordeaux, Braga, Brest metropole, Bristol, Brussels city, Bydgoszcz, Chemnitz, Cluj-Napoca, Cologne, Dortmund, Dresden, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Espoo, Essen, EUROCITIES Brussels Office, Florence, Genoa, Ghent, Gijon, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Guimaraes, Hagen, Hamburg, Helsinki, Heraklion, Istanbul, Kharkiv, Leeuwarden, Leipzig, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Lodz, Madrid, Mannheim, Metropole Europeenne de Lille, Milan, Munich, Munster, Murcia, Nantes, Nice Cote d’Azur, Nuremberg, Ostend, Oulu, Paris, Poznan, Prague, Rennes Metropole, Riga, Rotterdam, Sarajevo, Skopje, Stavanger, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Tbilisi, Terrassa Metropolitan Area, Timisoara, Tirana, Toulouse, Turin, Utrecht, Valladolid, Vantaa, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb, Zaragoza.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment / Photo: V.Hertz

BOZART’s debate / Photo: V.H.


Photo: United Nations

The concept of festival usually refers to music or cinema, but the German city of Bonn has hosted a “different” festival twice, in order to share experiences that allow achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN planned in its Agenda 2030. In 2015, the Assembly of United Nations adopted this global agenda to improve and to replace the Millenium Development Goals. In 2000, the objective was to achieve 8 goals that would allow greater equality in the world and, especially, for developing countries (with issues such as extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality and malaria). Thus, the ODS become 17, with an agenda that becomes the framework of reference for global programs, which require involvement of local governments.

In this article we will explain a bit how was the Bonn festival, while in a second we will focus on how to implement and locate SDGs in the cities.

Bonn, again, hosted the GLOBAL FESTIVAL OF ACTION (organized by the United Nations) between 20th and 23d March, which brought together very plural voices. There were more than 1,500 participants from more than 100 countries, also taking into account that some 30,000 people from up to 158 countries followed some of the sessions via streaming, making the hashtag #SDGlobalFest a trending topic on Twitter in Germany. The objective was to connect experiences, learn about other realities and be able to come back home with the task of promoting the ODS locally. The next edition of the festival will take place between March 6th and 9th, 2019, in the same city of Bonn.

Ashok Sridharan, mayor of Bonn / Photo: UN

The festival featured screening of films, conferences, debates, shows of entities and even more entertaining aspects such as live cooking and music.

After the welcome by the mayor of Bonn, Ashok Sridharan, the director of the SDG Action Campaign, Mitchel Toomey, emphasized the need for SDGs to become part of the daily life of civil society, either as a beneficiary but also as an executor. The Afrika Youth Movement’s manager Aya Chebbi said that “our struggle is that of African voices,” focusing in a specific area of ​​the planet where SDGs make more sense. Chebbi began to travel through different African countries after the Arab Spring in his country, Tunisia, and discovered that young people shared similar problems.

Photo: UN

An important section in the festival was the first edition of the UN SDG Action Awards. The communication prize was for the Belgian city of Gent, who identified five simple and specific challenges linked to SDGs (such as going to work on bicycle or not eating meat for a while) in order to change habits and with the participation of 6,000 people.

Other awards recognized the fight against corruption in Nigeria, with programs aimed at children and young people in schools; the mobilization of young people from Morocco with the initiative Youth Engagement Morocco to work on the achievement of 17 SDGs, and the inclusion for sexual and reproductive health education among adolescents in Ghana, with a program in schools and houses that has already formed more than 1,000 girls.

One of the topics that most planned in the different presentations was how to communicate the SDGs. Some of the conclusions, related to the European Union, were:

– Take into account university campuses as living laboratories to implement appropriate public policies that contribute to the development of SDGs.

– Share the SDGs with those people with less familiarity with sustainability issues through art and culture.

– Promote collaborative spaces in different organizations to better understand their potential contribution to SDGs.

– Work in alliances between different actors to make the message as cross-cutting as possible.

Some initiatives to keep in mind:

  • My World 2030. Platform of data generated by the same citizens to offer a follow-up of ODS, while encouraging participation, as it includes individual indicators of progress.
  • Humans of my world: it presents stories beyond data and numbers. With testimonials, already collected in more than 30 countries, which are even used in high-level political meetings.
  • World We Want. Joint initiative between the UN and members of civil society. It allows any person to participate in different queries related to the ODS and to contribute their opinions.

Head officer of International Affairs from Terrassa, Joan Chicón, with some colleagues from other cities / Photo: Valladolid City Council

Valladolid hosted this week, April 10th and 11th, a meeting of the contact officers of the Spanish cities members of EUROCITIES, the most important network of cities in Europe. Terrassa, together with its urban system (with 10 more municipalities from Vallès Occidental that reach more than 410,000 inhabitants) has been part of the network since 2008 and, since January 2017 and together with Barcelona, ​​has the vice presidency of the working group of Branding Management & City Attractiveness, within the Forum of Economic Development (EDF) of the network.

The meeting in the Castilian locality was carried out at the Valladolid Town Hall and at the headquarters of Valladoli+D, the municipal agency responsible for developing the network at the transversal level throughout the City Council, as well as in citizen level

This meeting was agreed during the General Assembly of EUROCITIES in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the Spanish cities of the network held a small meeting.

Anna Lisa Boni / Photo: European Lab

The event had two parts:

  • A presentation with the participation of the hosts, with a direct conference from Brussels with the secretary of EUROCITIES, Anna Lisa Boni, who talked about the future challenges of the network. The Valladolid City Council also exhibited its European projects and innovation, such as REMOURBAN (urban transformation and smart cities), S2CITY (intelligent systems), TT (transport and technology), CENCYL + (sustainable cities network ), INLIFE (about dementia on elderly people) and URBAN GREEN UP (transforming urban spaces with solutions based on nature).
  • A thematic session divided into areas such as the European strategy of cities, the Urban Agenda and urban empowerment. Terrassa spoke of its link with the Urban Agenda, while Barcelona presented some of its projects.

Photo: Valladolid City Council

Some of the topics discussed were:

1. Make the defense posture on the cohesion policy of cities to the Ministry (Community Funds).

2. Governance and collaboration: a joint strategy of Spanish cities from the network.

3. Take advantage of the joint synergies of cities for participation in initiatives and projects.

4. Active presence of Spanish cities in the decision-making bodies of EUROCITIES to create advocacy in the cities of the South.

5. Cohesion policy, Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals (ODS), future of the network and future of Europe.

6. New Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the situation of cities against the cuts in Community Funds in cohesion policy.

7. Analysis of the management model of the departments of International Relations in the different cities of the network.

8. Human and budgetary resources for the management of projects autonomously of the municipal services.

A total of 12 Spanish cities are currently full members or associates of EUROCITIES and 9 of them participated these days in Valladolid: Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Sevilla, Fuenlabrada, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Gijón, Valladolid and Terrassa.

Group of participants at the Assembly / Photo: Igualada City Council

The city of Igualada hosted, between April 3d and 5th, the 27th Annual Assembly of the European Textile Collectivities Association (ACTE). Currently, Igualada holds the vice presidency of this network of territories with tradition in the textile, design and fashion, with a trajectory of almost three decades. The meeting met at Adoberia Bella, a unique space, with about forty experts who put together new ideas, initiatives and projects in order to promote and further boost the sector at European level. Terrassa presided ACTE between 2013 and 2016, presidency that now holds the Swedish city of Borås. The opening was attended by the mayor of Igualada, Marc Castells, and the mayor of Borås and president of ACTE, Ulf Olsson.

ACTE brings together members of European textile cities, institutions related to the textile industry, local development agencies, textile museums, research centers, innovation centers and design schools, amongst others. Its objectives are to strengthen the fashionable fabric of these territories through public financing tools or through public-private cooperation, focusing on the productive fabric and on the quality of employment.

In the context of ACTE and in the current context in which the increase in demand in Europe is confirmed, several projects are also executed, such as ACTEIII: Weaving ideas and networks, which promotes support actions for the Catalan textile sector and in which the Terrassa City Council participates. The City Council of Manresa, the city of Sabadell and the City Council of Igualada, who is the leader, are also part of the project.

Among other initiatives of the ACTE network we can highlight the organization of prizes to promote the talent of young creators and entrepreneurs, such as the REBELPIN fashion contest, whose first edition will be held next July in Berlin. On a more local level, projects such as the Cooperatèxtil platform, joined by Terrassa recently, consisting of workshops and companies offering a wide variety of services, such as fabrics, dyes, printing, cutting, design and patronage, dressmaking, ironing and finishing, manufacturers and production managers for fashionable textile brands, home textiles and accessories.

ACTE’s Assembly / Photo: Igualada City Council

In this Assembly, new countries have been incorporated into the network such as Denmark or Lithuania or new territories of Sweden and Italy. The meeting ended with a meeting of the Working Group of European projects. The Association was founded in Portugal in 1991 by six municipalities, including Terrassa, and is currently one of the first associations of local authorities at European level. ACTE’s objectives are to represent the needs of the member territories, institutional collaboration and the promotion of innovative policies that allow to anticipate and manage locally structural changes in cities and territories that have or had a productive model based on the textile sector such as the city of Terrassa.

Participants of the Chimera project in Terrassa / Photo: Cambra de Terrassa

Terrassa hosted from 20 to 22 March a meeting with 35 representatives of clusters and associations linked to the creative and cultural industry in five different countries (Italy, France, Slovenia, Greece and Spain). The Terrassa Chamber of Commerce (Cambra de Comerç de Terrassa) was the venue for these training days in internationalization, digital marketing and promotion based on a commission from the partners of the European project Chimera. The meeting, aimed at managers and those responsible for coordinating services within the cluster network, had the training provided by Montserrat Peñarroya, from the 3ISIC research institute, to improve its local action plans. Various workshops on communication, supervision of pilot activities, management of administrative and financial tools, construction of innovations and creative strategies, future tendencies and online tactics were carried out. It was a very complete session of digital communication.

Photo: Cambra de Terrassa


During this transnational formation, 9 groups of European cities were invited to participate:

Parc Audiovisual de Catalunya, Terrassa – Spain
Asociación Cultural La Casa Amarilla, Málaga – Spain
Creativity center, Museum of architecture and design – Slovenia
Sviluppo Basilicata SPA – Italy
Procinema – Spain
Regional Department of Culture of the Algarve – Portugal
Loulé Design Lab – Portugal
Gefyra – Greece
CreAcannes business incubator – France

Now the project managers can create their clusters business plan, including the current state of the creative and cultural sector and the future perspectives. Thanks to these methods, they can appreciate the best international practices in digital and cultural and creative marketing and optimize their own methods and tactics of digital marketing. After the training sessions, the project foresees B2B meetings of the creative and cultural industry in Terrassa next June and in Italy in October 2018.

Participants in the EDF Forum in Braga Photo: EUROCITIES

On 26-28 March, the Eurocities economic development forum (EDF) met in Braga, Portugal, to debate on how cities do shape the local economy in order to capitalise on the opportunities of the knowledge economy. 100 participants from over 45 cities, including 11 elected city politicians, shared expertise during these three days on smart and inclusive growth, investments and translating Sustainable Development Goals into local actions; focusing on SDG 8 ‘decent work and economic growth’ and SDG 9 ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’. Terrassa, as vice-chair of the working group City Attractiveness & City Branding, explained how the CGLU network deals with SDGs, experiencing on how to use branding strategies to promote SDGs at local level. Terrassa explained wich are the priorities about SDGs based on the conclusions from the last I-Cities (Intermediate Cities) Forums in Chefchaouen (Morocco), Odienné (Ivory Coast), Neveshir (Turkey), Cuenca (Ecuador) and Terrassa. These conclusions talk about the SDGs from a local perspective witn social inclusion (role of citizens), work with the agents of each territory, generate public policies and consider the migratory background to work the common identity. On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the universal and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The EU has committed to implement the SDGs in its internal and external policies. Some ot these goals are connected to the knowledge economy, as goals 8 (Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all) and 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation).

Tanja Wehsely / Photo: WATCHADO

Ricardo Rio, the Mayor of Braga, and Tanja Wehsely, EDF chair and councillor of the city of Vienna, opened the conference on 27 March. Tanja Wehsely highlighted that the voice of cities matters in debate on the future EU policies and funding programme for research and innovation.

Marissa Plouin, coordinator of OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth initiative, gave a keynote speech on smart and inclusive cities of the future. She said: “People, firms and places matter to address global challenges like digitalisation, demographic change and climate change”. All these global trends give cities opportunities but bring also risks: “low-carbon transition will place new demands on firms and workers: they will be winners and losers”. Local public policies can mitigate these risks.

The members debated on future EU policies and funding for innovation, and speed-networking session on innovation, long-term investments, and SDGs.

The key messages highlighted during the three days of debate were:

– To foster smart and inclusive growth, cities need to promote a ‘race to the top’: cooperation rather than competition between cities. For instance, Nantes and Hamburg exchange companies and organise international economic missions together.

– Cities public policies counter-balance the negative impact of automation and digitalisation, and use technological opportunities for improving public services, for instance thanks to data collected by censors.

– Local authorities also support knowledge diffusion: investing in skills and entrepreneurship, facilitating knowledge transfer by working with companies, research centres, universities and technical schools.

– Cities invest in tradeable sectors (infrastructures, manufacturing, etc.) and non-tradeable services (social housing, education, etc.) to support smart and inclusive growth and a good quality of life for all citizens.

New programme: FP9

The Horizon 2020 programme has been during the last years the financial instrument focused on excellent science, industrial leadership and social challenges. The European Commission is preparing the proposal for the successor programme to Horizon 2020, called FP9. From Eurocities ask for an ambitious support for integrated urban solutions, more support of cities as driver of innovation and a programme design further adapted to local needs.

EUROCITIES policy paper on cohesion policy post 2020

The EUROCITIES paper on post-2020 cohesion policy calls for a reinforced and simplified cohesion for Europe and its citizens. How to make CP more impactful and efficient for cities? Making multi-level governance and partnership a reality or simplifying access and implementation.

Imagine the Urban Future

Economic development forum members also exchanged on the future challenges for cities and how to address them within EUROCITIES.

Brian Field, professor and urban planning adviser at University College London, set the scene with a keynote on ‘sketching the future urban scenario’: developing city visions and integrated planning to implement them.

Members discussed key areas of work for cities: supporting industry and innovation, including circular economy and new business models; governance and regulations; long-term investments; managing digitalisation and technology development; employment, skills and inclusive growth. They analysed how to tackle these within our network for effective outcomes.

The next meeting of the EDF will focus on cities’ international economic cooperation and will take place on 17-19 October 2018 in Grenoble, France. This forum will be focused in The internationalisation of cities’ economy (new markets, international cooperation and SDGs).

In 2019, the host cities will be Florence, Italy, and Munich, Germany.