UN New Urban Agenda: President Markkula calls for binding targets

"European cities' pioneering experience on sustainable development can be a leading example of how to make urban areas smarter, greener and inclusive"

During the European Habitat conference organised in Prague by the Czech Ministry of Regional Development, the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, called for the New UN Urban Agenda to be "a genuine agreement in which all involved actors commit to binding targets".

A New Urban Agenda will be launched by the United Nation at the HABITAT III conference in October in Quito, Ecuador. Its aim is to address the main challenges facing the world's cities so that they can contribute to the achievement of the goals enshrined in the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 and in the Climate Change Agreement adopted at COP21 in Paris last December.

A delegation of the CoR, led by President Markkula, took part on 16-17 March in Prague at the Habitat III Europe Regional Meeting, a preparatory session ahead of the Quito conference.

"The UN New Urban Agenda should be transparent, participatory and based on binding objectives" argued President Markkula, adding that: "The EU will launch in May its own Urban Agenda, which provides a unique opportunity to put its best achievements on sustainable urban development at the service of the global community." According to President Markkula: "EU regions and cities have developed a concrete experience of bottom-up innovation in crucial policy areas ranging from air quality to energy efficiency, from social inclusion to support for SMEs. From now on, thanks to the EU urban agenda, legislation, governance, funding and implementation strategies will be assessed and streamlined so that citizens can feel that the effective cooperation of all actors allows for real improvement in their quality of life."

The CoR rapporteur on the EU Urban Agenda implementation, Hella Dunger-Löper, (DE/PES), State Secretary of the Land of Berlin, stressed that: "It is now crucial that we intensify the cooperation with cities and regions from around the world to share sustainability goals and innovate policies."

In the framework of the European Habitat meeting, the CoR co-organised an event promoting the Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy, an EU initiative that brings together cities and regions that are committed to reducing their CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Kata Tűttö (HU/PES), Councillor of District 12 Budapest and rapporteur on the Covenant represented the Committee.

Over the past few years, the CoR has proactively contributed to shaping the EU Urban Agenda, whose implementation will start after the endorsement of the "Pact of Amsterdam" at an Informal Council meeting on 30 May. On the same day, in Amsterdam, local and regional leaders will discuss implementation priorities in a Forum organised by the CoR.

The European Committee of the Regions

The European Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives from all 28Member States. Created in 1994 following the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, its mission is to involve regional and local authorities in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. To sit on the European Committee of the Regions, all of its 350 members and 350 alternates must either hold an electoral mandate or be politically accountable to an elected assembly in their home regions and cities. Click here for more details on your national delegation.

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