Seven Swedish cities join the EU Mission for 100 climate neutral cities by 2030
Globally, cities account for more than 70 percent of the world's CO2 emissions. Therefore, the including of cities in the process of reducing global warming is essential. Sweden's method for organising this on a national level has inspired the EU's Cities Mission.
The Swedish working method has been developed within the strategic innovation programme called Viable Cities. This method has, in parts, been copied and used as inspiration within the EU initiative called Cities Mission. This is a mission within the EU Green Deal, aiming to make 100 European cities climate neutral by 2030. The 100 cities have been selected to show the way and drive the transition in all of Europe´s cities, with the goal of becoming climate neutral as soon as possible.
- It is very gratifying that seven Swedish cities, in tough competition, have been selected to be the driving force in the quest for change. It also proves that Sweden is at the forefront in driving innovation that can show the way to sustainable and climate neutral cities. We have shown how it is possible to work together and that changes often can go faster than you think, says Rémy Kolessar, head of Department for research, innovation and business development at the Swedish Energy Agency.
Swedish Viable Cities inspire climate neutral cities in Europe
EU's Cities Mission has largely been inspired by the Swedish innovation programme Viable Cities. The Swedish Energy Agency, along with other participating authorities and municipalities, has developed new working methods and tools based on openness, which drives development and works for governance and administration.
The decision making process for funding is not only with the authorities, but in an organisational solution where the authorities listen to the member organisations within Viable Cities. The members are represented by a board which makes a joint decision, with the authorities, on strategic investments.
In order to involve members and encourage participation, openness is vital throughout the process, given that all legal criteria are met. Furthermore, all decisions are evaluated every four years; partly for transparency, but also to encourage discussions about further development of the future strategic direction.
A cornerstone: Climate City Contracts
Viable Cities has also developed “Climate City Contracts”, a tool for effectively pushing cities towards climate neutrality. The contract is an innovative instrument that links cities' climate policies with financing. Local political decisions become operational as the city's commitments, which are unique to each city, are linked to the authorities' commitments to provide the cities with expertise and financial support. The climate contract model is also used in the EU's initiative, Net Zero Cities.
Viable Cities want to spread their working methods in Europe
The chosen cities within Cities Mission will have the possibility to finance their projects within the EU's initiative. However, the Swedish Energy Agency will continue to financially support not only the seven selected cities, but all 23 Swedish cities included in Viable Cities.
- It is truly an achievement being selected, as these seven Swedish cities have. Especially for the smaller city administrations that have struggled. For instance, two of the cities started their work as late as last autumn. Now everyone got a fine acknowledgement for their efforts, says Emina Pasic, programme manager for Viable Cities at the Swedish Energy Agency.
Emina hopes that more national Viable Cities will emerge in Europe, and work in the same spirit and according to the Swedish model.
- All cities in Europe must be included in the strive for the overall goal to convert to climate neutrality. And if more cities and countries work according to the same model it will be easier to work together, Emina Pasic concludes.
About Cities Mission
The EU mission to achieve climate neutral cities by 2030 – Cities Mission – is one of five missions within the research and innovation programme Horizon Europe. Cities Mission includes a total of 100 cities selected from all 27 member states of which seven are Swedish; Gävle, Göteborg, Helsingborg, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm and Umeå. All 100 cities will now act as experimentation and innovation hubs and develop Climate City Contracts with the help of NetZeroCities.
The mission to achieve climate neutral cities by 2030 aims to result in concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. The selected cities will work across sectors to find synergies and show the way to the rest of Europe. The chosen cities will share 360 million euros to implement pilot projects while receiving expert support to facilitate the process. On 13th of June, a kick-off for the Cities Mission was held in Brussels.
About Viable Cities
Viable Cities is a strategic innovation programme focusing on the transition to climate neutral and sustainable cities. The programme´s mission is climate neutral cities by 2030 and a good life for all of us on the planet.
The programme´s timeframe is 2017-2030 and is implemented in a concerted effort by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas, where the Swedish Energy Agency is the responsible authority. KTH Royal institute of Technology is the host organisation for Viable Cities.