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Global cooperation and exchange on urban climate neutrality
Deadline: Apr 26, 2022  

 Sustainable Development
 International Cooperation
 Smart Cities
 Horizon Europe
 Climate Sciences
 Artificial Intelligence
 Green Deal


Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Facilitate the management and transfer of global knowledge on the topic of climate action in cities, helping cities move closer to climate neutrality;
  • Increase the visibility of the EU and its cities as frontrunners and collaboration-minded partners in urban climate action;
  • Contribute to the implementation of EU policy and international commitment (European Green Deal, Global Approach to Research and Innovation).

Climate neutrality is a global challenge that requires international dialogue and cooperation, including among cities. Cities account for more than 70% of CO2 emissions and over 65% of energy consumption worldwide. As such, they play a strategic role in climate change mitigation as hotspots of challenges and solutions. They are also uniquely positioned to reap multiple co-benefits from climate action such as reduced air and noise pollution as well as less congestion and more active lifestyles, leading to improved health and wellbeing for their inhabitants.

Many cities across the world have climate action plans in place and are looking for solutions on how to best bridge the implementation gap between their climate neutrality goals and the pace of current transformation. These solutions can often be found via cooperation and exchanges that transcend national and regional borders. To advance this process, the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission, hereafter referred to as the Cities Mission, aims to set a leading international example, with at least 100 climate-neutral cities at the heart of a wide international knowledge and practice network focused on delivering urban solutions for climate neutrality.

In line with this ambition, the coordination and support action will set up a Global Knowledge Exchange Centre on emissions reduction pathways for urban environments. This global platform will coordinate the international outreach activities of the Cities Mission, thus expanding and complementing the geographical scope and reach of the Mission Platform[1]. It will cater to a wide spectrum of European and international urban stakeholders such as local authorities, representatives of international organisations and other policymakers, researchers and urban practitioners, representatives of the industry and the private sector, civil society and citizens.

The platform will establish a geographically and thematically structured online repository of evaluated best practices[2], complemented by a moderated learning community, to facilitate the two-way exchange of experience and practices on achieving climate neutrality between the cities under the Cities Mission and cities worldwide. The goal is to accelerate learning, replicability and scaling-up of solutions by helping cities to learn from first movers and tailor their approach. As part of these activities, the platform will provide support as relevant to the cooperation and knowledge exchange actions of the global mission on Urban Transitions[3] set up under Mission Innovation. This will include coordination with the Commission and the Global Covenant of Mayors[4] as co-leads of the global mission.

The platform will also set up and curate an online database of advising and funding actions undertaken in EU Member States and Associated Countries (at national level, but also at regional and city level) to support the climate neutrality of non-European cities. The database will inventory as well the advising and funding opportunities at international level that could benefit cities in the Europe.

In the process, the platform will liaise as needed with the Mission Platform, the dedicated national mission networks [5] , relevant Horizon Europe partnerships such as the Driving Urban Transitions to a sustainable future (DUT) partnership, and other relevant information and dissemination channels that can increase awareness on the global landscape for advising and funding in the field of urban climate neutrality.

In addition, the platform will communicate experiences and milestones under the mission to international audiences via regular and targeted communication campaigns and activities. This will include support to the Commission with the organisation of an annual event on the international outreach of the mission.

Under all these activities, the platform will take into account the work already done by global city networks such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, C40 Cities and the EU’s International Urban and Regional Cooperation Programme, by international and multilateral organisations such as the UN-Habitat, the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, by international associations such as ICLEI and by global initiatives such as the UN Race to Zero Campaign. Linkages should also be ensured with international networks that promote piloting activities such as the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) and with the initiatives for urban climate neutrality under the EU’s Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Artificial Intelligence
Digital Agenda

[1]Conceived through the Horizon 2020 project NetZeroCities - Accelerating cities' transition to net zero emissions by 2030, Grant Agreement n. 101036519, selected under the the Horizon 2020 Green Deal call topic LC-GD-1-2-2020: Towards Climate-Neutral and Socially Innovative Cities and to be scaled up through the HORIZON-MISS-2021-CIT-02-03: Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) for the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission Platform.

[2]Also building on the yearly mapping report on EU Research & Innovation for and with Cities. See the June 2021 report at


[4] The Commission will provide funding support to the activities of the Managing Director of the global mission on cities through a grant to an identified beneficiary under HORIZON-MISS-2022-CIT-IBA: Global Mission on Urban Transitions under Mission Innovation.

[5]Set up under the Horizon Europe call topic HORIZON-MISS-2021-CIT-01-01: Supporting national, regional and local authorities across Europe

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