International network for sustainable cities

The Alliance for Urban Sustainability is a network of French and Swedish cities, focused on sustainable urban development. It was founded in 2016. The Alliance enables cities to identify and adopt innovative urban development solutions by examining issues of common concerns and exchanging ideas and experiences. A hallmark of the network is that it is completely driven by the needs and interests of the member cities.

The Alliance supports energy and climate goals on EU level as well as the level of the participating countries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Intercity exchange helps cities to act more effectively and try new methods of working in their communities.

Ambitious, like-minded cities

Alliance for Urban Sustainability is composed of like-minded cities interested in sharing knowledge about what works and what does not work. The members aim to be leaders in sustainable urban development. They are prepared to work actively with other network members and are interested in experimenting with adapting and applying each other's solutions in their local contexts.

In the longer term, the city members search for opportunities to develop joint proposals for financing of projects from the European Union.

Overarching objective and desired outcome

The overarching objective of the Alliance is to advance the network member cities' sustainable urban development efforts. The desired outcome of the network – enhanced relationships between cities, leading to sharing of ideas and collaboration that promotes and has a positive impact on sustainable urban development – reflects this objective.

Collaborative work carried out within the network reflects and supports the energy and climate goals of the participating countries and the EU. This includes Sweden's goal to become climate neutral by 2045 and France's goal to cut emissions to 40 % of 1990 levels by 2030 and 75 % by 2050. The network also contributes to the global undertaking of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Coordination of the network

Both France and Sweden have long traditions of working with sustainable urban development, having undertaken many initiatives and activities at the municipal and national levels as well as in the context of international cooperation. The countries share an ambition to excel in sustainable urban development and the perception that cities play a vital role in accelerating the development and deployment of sustainable energy. Their firm belief is that international networks can serve as important platforms for achieving shared ambitions, which is central to their support for The Alliance for Urban Sustainability.

The Swedish Energy Agency has previously served in a coordinating role for the Swedish and French network members. Since the summer of 2019, this role has been taken over by the French Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition, MTES.

Sweden's experience of managing an international network

In a paper presented at the ECEEE Summer studies in 2017 the Swedish Energy Agency describes the Swedish Energy Agency’s experience of managing an international network that focuses on exchanging experiences amongst cities aiming to become more sustainable. The paper "Toward functioning international cooperation for sustainable cities – Swedish experience with international city networks" provides a retrospective analysis of the challenges and lessons learned from attempting to utilize international collaborative networking as a tool to promote urban innovation, with the aim of increasing the sustainability of the participating cities and municipalities.

Current network members are:

From France: Grenoble, La Rochelle, Montpellier, St. Brieuc and Strasbourg.
From Sweden: Borås, Gothenburg, Linköping and Umeå

For more information, please contact:

Karin Fant, Swedish Energy Agency
Tel: +46 (0)16 544 22 92