Atlantic Axis of Peninsular Northwest
The European Union’s strategy for the period 2014-2020 has considerably reinforced the urban dimension of the cohesion policy. According to article 7.4 of its Regulation, Member States must allocate at least 5% of their national European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the support of sustainable urban development integrated strategies. In particular, it means to improve the urban environmental quality and the efficiency of the environmental management of EU urban areas.
EURE proposes the exchange of experiences as a way to improve the environmental performance management of EU urban spaces including the urban areas with a low population density.
Easier to say than doing, right? For some cities, the fund is not meeting with their expectations and needs to design and implement a proper urban policy, especially in the field of resource-efficiency environmental quality. On the one side, small urban areas might not have access to these funds due to their low population density. On the other side, big urban areas might find difficult to include the circular economy principles in their integral urban development strategies.
The objective of EURE is to use interregional cooperation to improve the way the ERDF addresses the environmental urban challenges of cities at peripheral regions, paying also attention to those cities of small dimension but with influence in the sparsely populated areas where they are located.
How will the partners proceed?
In the first step, each partner will produce a regional report detailing the state of play of urban environmental policy instruments. For that, partners will define, with the support of a pool of experts in urban environment, a joint structure and methodology.
The regional state of play reports will be then presented during a study visit to each territory. These visits will allow partners to understand the real context of the report, to know in situ the good practices and to meet the main regional stakeholders.
In addition, partners will develop a joint report about how the funds allocated by article 7 of the ERDF Regulation are being used in their territories. It will correspond to a catalogue of policies, actions and good practices that partners consider as relevant and can support them in the improvement of their own policies and programmes.
Each partner will set on its territory a group of local stakeholders with the mission of following up the development of each stage of the interregional learning process and discuss the project outputs.
Action plans will be elaborated as a result of the learning process and the exchange of experiences activities. They will include a selection of good practices, concrete actions and recommendations about how to transfer those lessons learned to the local policy instruments.
Action plans will establish schemes for improving the governance of key urban activities like waste management, water treatment and recycling.
What are the expected results?
The project will contribute to Europe’s sustainable growth and territorial cohesion, both as dimensions of the Europe 2020 strategy. Namely, it will contribute to the achievement of the flagship initiative “Resource-efficient Europe” by supporting urban areas in sustainable and more efficient use of resources and in the introduction of the circular economy principles in cities governance. Finally, the EURE project will assure proper environmental performance management at the local level.