The Call for applications for Cities under review of the autumn/winter 2023 EUI peer reviews is now open.
EUI peer reviews are a set of pre-defined activities carried out by a cohort of cities to benchmark their Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) strategies. The aim is to improve the design and implementation of SUD strategies through a process of benchmarking, peer learning and provision of recommendations.
The activity brings together urban authorities undergoing review – they are the cities under review –, and urban authorities providing insights on the challenges faced by the cities under review – they are the peers. A peer review follows a specific fixed methodology and implementation process. The cities under review define the challenges to be addressed according to their specific needs, but the format and the timing of the activity is pre-defined by EUI. Applications for both cities under review and peers are submitted in dedicated calls launched at least once per year.
Cities under review will benefit from first-hand evaluation experience and use of the peer review outcomes to further improve their own strategies. All participating cities will discuss common issues and challenges related to their current work on integrated sustainable development strategies.
To achieve the capacity building objective of a peer review, peers are expected to share practical knowledge and know-how helping to improve the design and implementation of SUD strategies of the cities under review. While the cities under review are the primary beneficiaries, both cities under review and peers may improve their capacities thanks to the peer learning process. The call for applications for peers of the autumn/winter 2023 EUI peer reviews is expected to be launched mid-June.
- The overarching objective of a peer review is to improve the design and implementation of the applicants’ SUD strategies through a process of benchmarking and peer learning.
- Cities under review will benefit from first-hand evaluation experience and use of the peer review outcomes to further improve their own strategies. All participating cities will discuss common issues and challenges related to their current work on integrated sustainable development strategies.
- To achieve the capacity building objective of a peer review, peers are expected to share practical knowledge and know-how helping to improve the design and implementation of SUD strategies of the cities under review. While the cities under review are the primary beneficiaries, both cities under review and peers may improve their capacities thanks to the peer learning process.
- A peer review is required to focus on specific challenges related to the design and implementation of SUD Strategies within Cohesion Policy as defined in article 11 of the ERDF Regulation.
- Under the current ERDF Regulation (2021-2027), Sustainable Urban Development is defined. It is understood as integrated, placed-based and community-led development, addressing economic, environmental, climate, demographic and social challenges and focused on urban areas (including functional urban areas). A SUD strategy should hence be understood as a strategy in covering an urban area that adopts an integrated and place-based approach to urban development, where integration means a multi-sectoral policy, multi-level and multi-stakeholder governance, and possibly a multi-territorial and community-led strategy.
- Challenges addressed in the peer review will be built on the Handbook for Sustainable Urban Development Strategies which outlines the six building blocks of the EU approach to sustainable and integrated urban development and the expected contents of a strategy.
- The main building blocks which characterise the EU approach to sustainable and integrated urban development can be characterised as follows:
- An approach which promotes a strategic vision for the development of urban areas.
- An approach which targets cities of all sizes and promotes integration across scales, from neighbourhoods to wider territories.
- A multi-level governance and multi-stakeholder approach, which coordinates different actors according to their respective roles, skills and scales of intervention, ensuring that citizens are actively engaged.
- An approach which is integrated across sectors and pushes cities to work across policy-areas.
- An approach based on the integration of multiple sources of funding.
- An approach which promotes result-oriented logic and establishes frameworks for monitoring and evaluation
- From an operational point of view, a strategy should contain the following elements:
- a diagnosis of the urban area and a selection of the target area(s);
- a description of the governance model;
- a definition of the general strategic framework, which should include a long-term vision, strategic goals, specific goals, and lines of action, and should specify the intervention logic and plan for periodic review. This requires deep reflection on how goals and lines of action are integrated;
- prioritisation of actions to be supported by European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF);
- a monitoring system which links OP indicators with strategy-specific indicators;
- an action plan that translates the long-term strategy and goals into investments with a budget and a schedule referring to the programming period of the ESIF.
- Applicants to this call are urban authorities involved in designing, updating or implementing a SUD strategy in line with Article 11 of the ERDF Regulation. Applicants are asked to provide information about their selection or their eligibility to be selected as an article 11 city within their Member State, if known. In any case, EUI PS will verify this information during the eligibility check.
- All urban authorities shall be either:
- Local Administrative Units defined according to the degree of urbanisation as city, town or suburb (corresponding to DEGURBA code 1 or DEGURBA code 2 of Eurostat), or
- Associations or groupings of urban authorities with legal status of organised agglomeration composed by Local Administrative Units, where the majority (at least 51%) of inhabitants lives in
- Local Administrative Units defined according to the degree of urbanisation (DEGURBA) of Eurostat as cities, towns or suburbs (corresponding to DEGURBA code 1 or DEGURBA code 2).
- In addition, all Urban Authorities shall be located in an EU Member State.
- Cities participating in a peer review belong to one of two categories:
- the cities under review (primary beneficiary),
- the peers (secondary beneficiaries).
- Potential cities under review will be identified via this call for applications. Based on the outcomes of this callfor cities under review, a call for peers will be launched shortly after, identifying the cities under review that have been selected and the three challenges related to each SUD strategy that are to be addressed.
- All participants approved within these two linked calls (call for cities under review and call for peers) will constitute a cohort. Cities within a cohort are divided into groups of cities that will follow the process together and participate in an individual peer review event. The present call will select cities under review for the cohort that will participate in peer reviews in autumn/winter 2023.
- For both cities under review and peers, the participating staff members are required to be those individuals with responsibility and/or experience in the design and implementation of an integrated,
- place-based strategy. Stakeholders from cities under review may be invited by their urban authority to join the delegation participating in the peer review session.
- Cities participating in a peer review belong to one of two categories:
- Priority Groups
- Applicants from any eligible authorities may apply and be selected. However, the following applicants will be prioritised for support:
- Cities with up to 500,000 inhabitants,
- Cities within less developed regions,
- Cities that have not benefitted from a peer review organised by the Urban Development Network in the 2014-2020 period,
- Cities from transition regions (second priority).
- These priority groups will benefit from a higher prioritisation score to be calculated during the selection process of this call, as defined.
For more information, visit EUI.