The European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) organised an IQ-Net interim meeting at its Delft base in the Netherlands around the theme of Sustainable Urban Development (SUD). Specifically, SUD-strategies are a key priority in the European Structural funds for the 2014-2020 period. As a new tool, SUD gained much attention in the last few years, and members of the IQ-net network expressed their interest to exchange experiences between partners. The meeting had a good turnout with 23 representatives from 18 different national, regional and urban authorities, originating from 11 EU Member States.
The meeting involved two presentations by EPRC-colleague Martin Ferry about the SUD implementation experience in the current programme period (2014-20) and an outlook to the coming 2021-27 period. Further agenda points included partner presentations on specific implementation issues or examples in their home regions, as well as group discussions led by the EPRC Delft staff.
Martin’s discussion paper European Structural and Investment Funds and Integrated Sustainable Urban Development was received well by the participants, and will be further updated in the coming weeks. It discussed the new geographies of intervention, new governance arrangements and the new types of supporting SUD throughout the EU. Using the experience so far, it also looks ahead to the embedding and strengthening of SUD strategies in 2021-27.
From the partners interventions, we learned about the implementation of Structural funds in SUD-targeted programmes in the UK, Sweden and Slovenia, and partners exchanged practical examples of project implementation in Sweden, Flanders and Greece. In further discussions, led by the EPRC researchers, we exchanged experience about the opportunities and challenges of using ESIF funds for SUD. In particular, we had productive exchanges about the reform debate, integration of strategies, and the practical considerations for both ESIF managing authorities and urban authorities.