France will continue to manage the URBACT programme in the 2021-2027 period
URBACT, the European exchange and learning programme for sustainable urban development, has announced the official appointment of France as URBACT IV Managing Authority in the 2021-27 period.
France presented their application to the representatives of EU Member States at the URBACT Programming Committee on 9 November 2020. It was fully endorsed by the committee.
Nadia Hai, French Minister Delegate for Urban Affairs, underlined the crucial role URBACT plays in promoting better, integrated public policies for cities, involving residents in local decision-making. She said: “As someone tasked with leading the French government’s efforts on policies for urban areas, in order to improve the living conditions and environments of our citizens living in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, I know just how key a role local bodies and representatives play in successfully implementing any public policy. I also know how important it is to include residents in the process of developing and rolling out our initiatives for them, so that they can start to take more control over their lives in their cities.”
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France’s Ministry for Urban Affairs has supported URBACT as Managing Authority since the programme was first launched, in 2002. The role involves ensuring the programme’s implementation according to objectives agreed at EU level – providing an annual report to the European Commission, ensuring that projects selected for funding and support are in line with programme criteria, ensuring audits of spending, and programme evaluation.
Susanne Lottermoser, representing Germany as current co-chair of the URBACT Programming Committee, said: “I congratulate France for the successful candidature as Managing Authority of URBACT IV. We can now build on the very good work of the Managing Authority that France carried out on behalf of all Member States in the past. This guarantees a smooth transition to the next generation of the programme.”
Work on developing the URBACT IV programme started in 2018, but has picked up pace in the last year. The strategy and focus of the new 2021-27 URBACT programme has been discussed thoroughly, and progress made on identifying future activities that URBACT can carry out to deliver on those aims.
URBACT exchanges and capacity building set to continue
European networks for exchange and learning are still proposed as a core feature of the new programme, along with dedicated capacity building to help urban authorities develop and implement strategies in an integrated, participatory way. Sharing knowledge developed through URBACT and linking it to local, national and European policymaking is further emphasised.
The programme will fit into a new framework for urban development proposed by the European Commission. The European Urban Initiative seeks to provide a more coherent offer of cohesion policy support to urban authorities. URBACT will ensure that its activities will complement those of the European Urban Initiative.
“The URBACT IV Managing Authority intends to continue providing strong support for the programme. This is an important responsibility, but we have the experience since 2002 and the support of a committed European secretariat,” said François-Antoine Mariani, Director General Delegate for Urban Affairs at the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT), the body responsible for delivering the Managing Authority tasks.
“We are convinced that we will deliver, together with the Member States and the European Commission, major milestones in our quest to build a more sustainable future for the cities of Europe,” he added.
After discussing the content of the draft URBACT IV programme on 9-10 November, the Programming Committee aims to give its preliminary approval to the new programme in March 2021. The final approval of the programme by the Commission is expected before the end of 2021.