International network for sustainable cities

Alliance for Urban Sustainability is an international network of Swedish and French cities that focuses on sustainable urban development. In the network, cities are given the opportunity to identify and adopt innovative urban development solutions by exchanging ideas and experiences.

The Alliance for Urban Sustainability is an international network of cities that focuses 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 interest of the member cities.

The Alliance is composed of like-minded cities interested in sharing knowledge about what works and what does not. The network aim to foster international partnerships leading to learning, increased experience and improved support for sustainable development in urban areas. The intercity exchange helps cities to act more effectively and try new methods of working in their communities.

Participation in the network

The Alliance for Urban Sustainability consists of ambitious cities, motivated by the opportunities arising from sharing knowledge, experience, methods and tools within the network. The members aim is to be amongst the leading cities in the world within sustainable urban development. The cities 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.

From the perspective of the member cities, the network is expected to deliver;

  • Support in establishing international contacts with like-minded cities.
  • Opportunities to learn and develop through international collaboration.
  • In the longer term, 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.

The Swedish Energy Agency supports the Swedish engagement

The Swedish Energy Agency serves as the National Coordinator for the Swedish city members. National Coordinators develop the network to best serve the needs and interests of the respective countries' participating cities. Further, the National Coordinators act as facilitators and contacts, both nationally and internationally, on behalf of their respective countries.

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 of The Alliance for Urban Sustainability.

Sweden's experience of managing an international network

In a paper presented at the ECEEE Summer studies in 2017 the Swedish Energy Agency describes Sweden'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" gives a retrospective analysis of the challenges and lessons learned from attempting to utilize international collaborative networks 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, Paris, St. Brieuc and Strasbourg.
From Sweden: Borås, Gothenburg, Linköping, Malmö and Umeå

For more information, please contact:

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