A Mission on 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030
One of the five EU Missions is the Mission on 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 (Cities Mission), which aims to support 112 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030. The mission aims to create a bottom-up approach towards achieving climate neutrality supported by a Climate City Contract, which requires the participation of the entire local ecosystem and support from all governance levels.
The task of the first Mission Board, consisting of 15 experts, was to develop the research and innovation activities that would contribute to the Mission. The final report of the Mission Board was handed over to the European Commission in September 2020, and the Mission was launched in September 2021 when the Implementation Plan was published. In April 2022, the 112 selected Mission Cities were announced, of which 71 cities come from ERRIN member regions, and a new Mission Board started its work in autumn 2022.
ERRIN input to the Cities Mission
Led by the Smart Cities Working Group, ERRIN took an active role in shaping the Cities Mission since the start of its development process. ERRIN provided its first input to the Mission Board members before the discussion paper highlighting the Mission Board's proposals was published at the end of 2019.
In January 2020, the key elements of the Mission were further discussed in a Smart Cities Working Group meeting dedicated to the subject. The Smart Cities, Transport, Energy and Climate Change Working Group leaders continued to work on an ERRIN contribution and invited the wider ERRIN membership to share their feedback on the Mission. This work resulted in an ERRIN contribution, which provided recommendations in relation to the ambitions, financing, selection process and set-up of the Mission and which made practical suggestions on its implementation. After the release of the interim report of the Mission Board in June 2020, ERRIN developed an input document to the interim report and the Green Deal call 1.2 on socially innovative cities. The final report of the Mission Board was handed over to the European Commission at the European Research & Innovation Days in September 2020.
The Smart Cities Working Group continued the policy dialogue with the Mission Manager and the Mission Secretariat, and organised a WG meeting to discuss the state of play of the Mission's Implementation Plan with the European Commission in April 2021. Following this dialogue, ERRIN developed an input document on the Mission's Implementation Plan. The comments focused on the specific objectives of the Mission and its added value, and highlighted some key elements related to the Mission implementation process - the Expressions of Interest and the Climate City Contract. Following a Smart Cities Working Group meeting on the Implementation Plan and the call for Expressions of Interest in November 2021, the Smart Cities Working Group leaders developed a letter on cities' concerns focusing on the Climate City Contract and the selection criteria and evaluation process around the Expressions of Interest, which was shared with the Mission Manager and the Mission Secretariat.
In 2021, two ERRIN projects that support the implementation of the Cities Mission kicked off - the NetZeroCities and MOSAIC projects. Through these projects, ERRIN will support its members in the implementation of the Mission on the ground.
The Smart Cities Working Group continued following the Cities Mission in 2022 by organising meetings focusing on funding opportunities to support the Mission objectives and continuing the dialogues with the Mission Secretariat. In May 2022, ERRIN provided its messages for the Horizon Europe Missions Work Programme 2023-2024, where several recommendations concerning the funding for the Cities Mission were highlighted, such as the need for a quadruple helix approach, the need for funding focusing on the investment plan and upscaling, and the need for further synergies between the Missions and towards other EU funding programmes.