NetZeroCities is launching a groundbreaking programme that tests new approaches to reaching climate neutrality goals across cities in Europe. This Pilot Cities Programme is part of the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities (EU Cities Mission), providing €32 million in grants and hands-on support to cities. The call inviting applications has been extended to 15 November at 12 noon CET is is open all cities that are committing to the objectives of the EU Cities Mission and are located in EU Member States and Associated Countries.
The Pilot Cities Programme will help cities as they test out locally tailored actions towards a climate transition. Selected cities will be provided with grants funded under Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s 2014-2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (R&I). Cities will receive such support in the amounts of €0.5 million, €1 million, or €1.5 million in order to deploy and scale up R&I and systemic solutions.
NetZeroCities will also provide expertise and support services to the selected Pilot Cities and help them as they take an inclusive, systems-wide approach to climate neutrality. Cities’ piloting activities will be diverse; consisting of social, cultural, technological, nature-based, regulatory, and financial innovations, as well as new approaches to business and governance.
Applicants’ proposed activities will be considered, as well as how they interact with the various urban systems relevant to that city, including: mobility, energy systems and built environment, material and resource flows, health and well-being, natural areas, cultural, social, financial and institutional systems, and accessible public spaces. Further details regarding eligibility are available in the Call Guidelines.
These piloting activities will turn cities into test beds for climate neutrality, leading the way for other communities to take action. Collective learning will be a central part of the Pilot Cities Programme, which will promote exchange among the cities at every step of the process. From there, the solutions will be shared even more broadly, as part of a twinning programme that will link each Pilot City with two to three other cities across Europe. To scale up these initial actions, the NetZeroCities Platform will also provide support in securing funding and financing for further implementation or replication.
NetZeroCities is managed by 33 partners from 27 European countries, including ICLEI Europe. The project supports the 112 European cities, among them 44 ICLEI Members in drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality. NetZeroCities supports the European Green Deal in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future through research and innovation.
Roman Mendle, Coordinator for Smart Cities, Circular Economy and Climate Neutrality at ICLEI Europe, working on NetZeroCities highlights the importance of the programme to local governments. “The pilot program under NetZeroCities is a key contribution and support offer to cities across Europe to lay the foundations and kick-start the local implementation of their ambitious climate neutrality targets by 2030. More importantly, those cities receiving pilot funding will serve as know-how and experience generators for all cities across Europe and the mission, and will pass on their knowledge gained via the NetZeroCities twinning and replication processes. The NetZeroCities consortium hopes to receive many high quality applications for the available funding that demonstrate how the received support maximises impact on mission implementation, locally and across Europe.”