6 October 2020

100 Cities call for a green and digital recovery

Between 28 September-2 October, over 500 ICC city representatives and members of the public met online during the first-ever ICC City Lab, to learn more about the European Commission’s views on the future of cities and their role in building a green and digital recovery.

As a unique smart city initiative from the European Commission, the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) provides its participating cities with technical support and knowledge-sharing opportunities to develop and implement smart action plans around 11 thematic areas. The goal is to help ambitious small to medium sized European cities unleash their potential to use advanced technologies to transform themselves, become more sustainable and raise living standards for their communities.

During Day 1 of the City Lab, Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit of Social Economy at DG GROW of the European Commission, opened the floor. She emphasised the important role cities and industrial clusters play in building economies that work for people through reskilling, upskilling and advanced technologies. She highlighted the €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility as one of the central long-term mechanisms for helping cities to emerge more resilient from the current pandemic, and strengthen their positions after this crisis.

ICLEI as ICC partner is leading on the delivery of support services to the 100 ICC participants on two fronts, which were extensively explored during days 2 and 3 the ICC city lab:

  • Integrating the European Green Deal in their local policy framework to better support a smart and sustainable transition (Day 2, summary and key learnings available here)
  • Using public procurement to implement sustainable solutions and promote smart and green local economic activity (Day 3, summary and key learnings available here)
    Building on the momentum of the first city lab, ICLEI is now proceeding to developing a package of advisory services on those two topics, which will be offered to ICC cities over the course of the project, throughout the next five years. 

As it is gaining significant traction at the highest political levels, the ICC is shaping up as a key initiative to drive the transition of European cities to smart and green economy. The next step on this journey will take place on October 14th, where over 100 high-level political representatives of the ICC will meet in the first 100 Mayors’ Summit to demonstrate their commitment to a smart and sustainable economic recovery. The event will be held as part of the European Week of Cities and Regions and ICLEI is taking a key role in organising and setting the agenda for it.