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.

 


PHOTO: ATHC

Atlètic Terrassa promotes a consortium between five hockey clubs and five European universities in order to facilitate the combination of high-level academic and sporting care for students in the framework of exchange programs.

The STICK Project (Sport and Academic Talent Integration through Exchange Programmes in Hockey), funded by the European Commission through the SPORT action of the Erasmus + program, aims to design a program of sports and academic exchange within the framework of the program Erasmus +, looking for a solution to the difficulty of elite athletes and of high performance to participate in an Erasmus mobility without harming their sports career.The project will be carried out by a consortium made up of a total of 10 institutions from 5 European countries where hockey has a great relevance, with a hockey club and a university by country: Atlètic Terrassa Hockey Club, coordinator and promoter of the project, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) by our country; in Belgium, there is the participation of KHC Dragons and the Universiteit Antwerpen; in Holland, Rotterdam HC and Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam; in England, the Beeston HC and the Nottingham Trent University; and, finally, in Ireland, the Pembroke Wanderers with the Dublin City University.

Mireia Galí (Generalitat) introducing STICK on March 6 in a working day about European aid and sports projects


The European Commission announced this week that the candidature process for cities that wish to become European Capital of Innovation 2018 will be open until June 21st. Six cities will be awarded for their innovative solutions to its social challenges since January 1st, 2017. In particular, initiatives that have generated urban ecosystems that connect citizens, the public sector, the academic and companies and which translate the results into well-being for the public. It is valued that they have been experimental projects and that have included citizenship in the design and decision-making processes.

European Capital of Innovation Award

The first prize will consist of € 1,000,000 while the 5 finalists will receive a prize of € 100,000 each. In the previous edition, the first prize went to the city of Paris, while Tel Aviv and Tallinn obtained the second prize.


Terrassa is in Brussels showing its most beautiful jewel, the Seu d’Ègara (Romanesque churches). For four months, from December 4th until March 29th 2018, the catalan Government delegation in Brussels hosts the exhibition “Treasures of la Seu d’Ègara” organized by the Terrassa City Council through the service of Culture and with the support of European and International Relations department.

The exhibition consists in 20 panels with images of the monumental ensemble accompanied by explanatory texts that help visitors to learn about the history and the evolution of one of the most important architectural elements and heritage, and representative of Terrassa, Catalonia and Europe. Through this exhibition we want to interpret the evolution of monumental and spread their cultural value and heritage to society as a whole. A compendium of art, history and culture that offers a vision about the evolution of Ègara (Roman name of Terrassa), from its origins in the Iberian and Roman times, passing through successive periods of early medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, and modern to reach the present day.

The show provides an approach to La Seu d’Ègara from the archaeological, architectural and pictorial point of view providing understandable and informative form the different findings linked, first, with the origins of the site, and then, with the set back from the episcopal seat of Ègara. At the same time, it provides visitors the necessary tools to understand and value the importance of the architecture and the paintings belonging to the period of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ègara. In fact, their uniqueness and importance makes that monumental place a candidate to become Unesco World Heritage site. According to the Deputy Mayor of Culture, Innovation and Projection of the City, Amadeu Aguado, “this exhibition in the European capital is an important promotional showcase for the city of Terrassa. We want to disseminate and raise awareness of the heritage value of La Seu d’Ègara on his way to convert the historical monuments on Unesco’s heritage “.

. Place: Catalan Government delegation in the European Union in Brussels. Catalunya Europa Space. 227, Rue de la Loi-Wetstraat (Brussels).

· Organized by: Ajuntament de Terrassa (Terrassa City Council)

. Opening hours: from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, closed. Closed for holidays: from December 25th to January 2nd.


Photo: Eurocities

The European Commission has awarded the 2017 European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) prize of €1 Million to Paris. The city has been named 2017’s European Capital of Innovation for its inclusive innovation strategy. The city, which has counted 100.000 square meters of incubators built in a period of ten years, hosts also the world’s largest start-up campus, Station F, that can house more than 1.000 start-ups as well as founder companies such as Microsoft and Facebook. The city also has a so-called innovation arc, a laboratory for urban and social innovation which works as network of projects spanning Paris, including small workshops known as FabLabs and an urban farm where people can grow vegetables and learn to reduce food waste.

Station F / Photo: Financial Times

Tel Aviv and Tallinn were selected as runners-up, and were both awarded €100.000. Tallinn has presented a City`s Innovation Philosophy 2.0 aimed at promoting a e-Society based on a healthy and green lifestyle in a ‘united’ city.
Tel Aviv has been awarded for its creative and innovative DNA rooted in a very young society, an informal business culture and municipal policies that celebrate creativity and make the city a test-bed for experimentation.
 
The iCapital awards, which are designed to recognise the most innovative cities in EU countries and those associated to the Horizon 2020 funding programme, were announced during the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Cities are not defined by their size and population, but by the breadth of their vision and the power bestowed upon their citizens.”
 
32 cities applied for the 2017 European Capital of Innovation: nine out of these ten cities finalist are EUROCITIES members (Aarhus, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Nice, Paris, Tampere, Tallinn and Toulouse. Tel Aviv is the only non-member one).


Terrassa has been one of the cities participating in the Eurocities Conference 2017, that took place in Ljubljana (Slovenia) last week. The position of our city has been strengthened with the confirmation of the role as vice-chair (together with Barcelona) of the Working Group about City attractiveness & International economic relations. Over 400 participants attended the conference, representing over 100 cities, with around 100 politicians taking part.

The European Union has made the circular economy a priority. Over 75 percent of Europe’s population now live in urban areas and its success relies on cities being commited to this transition and acting as key stakeholders. Future EU level legislation should ensure that products do not feature built-in obsolescence: are better designed for reuse and recycling, are easy to maintain and repair and use recycle materials. The Eurocities Conference 2017 has marked a real step up for cities involvement in the circular economy and showcased many amazing examples of the circular economy in action in the cities, and demonstrated the energy and commitment to move forwards.

Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport

During the meeting, the EUROCITIES Awards also reflected the circular economy theme. The winning projects are: Munich’s Halle 2, the Munich second hand store as nucleus of the local circular economy and Brussels, with a call for projects for enterprises related with circular economy.

A central element of the conference this year, was four parallel roundtables, which asked pertinent questions on the circular transition. What are the future jobs and skills gaps that will need to be plugged? How do we effectively involve all sectors of society? How can cities, through their use of green public procurement, work with businesses to encourage circularity along the entire value chain? How can circular principles be applied to urban growth and join forces across different sectors? 

Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana

Overall, many inspiring examples of local level experiments in the circular economy were shared. Many cities spoke to the strong role cities can play in the circular transition. This includes the need to work together with businesses, focus on educating people on circular behaviours, mainstreaming the circular economy and integrating this work across city administrations. Several cities also highlighted the need to work with all levels, including the EU, to create a regulatory framework. One of the most important messages, however, was to simply start doing what you can now, as there are many ways that cities can speed up this transition.

Next 2018 Edimbourgh is hosting the Eurocities conference, with the main theme about Creative Competitive Cities.