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The Swedish work with Climate City Contract 2030 inspires the design of the EU's Climate City Contract. This is clear since Viable Cities became one of the partners in the EU initiative NetZeroCities in the fall of 2021.

Towards climate-neutral European cities by 2030

The EU aims to make the continent climate neutral by 2050 and is launching a number of major initiatives in the coming years to achieve this goal. The NetZeroCities initiative helps to speed up the transition to climate-neutral and sustainable cities in Europe - among other things by developing a European Climate City Contract. Viable Cities is one of the participating partners.

NetZeroCities started in fall 2021 and runs until 2025. Over 30 organizations from several European countries are driving the work forward. Viable Cities is mainly contributing to the development of Climate City Contracts, Climate City Contract for cities at EU level, and the climate investment plans linked to them. The EIT Climate KIC, where Viable Cities vice Chairman Anders Wijkman is Chairman, will lead the work. EIT Climate-KIC is a European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), working to accelerate the transition to a climate neutral and resilient society.

Cities Mission: TheClimate Neutral and SmartCities Mission by 2030 TheClimate Neutral and Smart Cities Missionis one of five EU missions, a new feature of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme that runs from 2021 to 2027. Missions are a new way of working across systems with concrete solutions to some of our biggest challenges, such as climate and energy, which are the focus of the Cities Mission. Cities Mission works across sectors, creates synergies between existing initiatives, and is based on the needs of cities. Cities Mission is also an important tool in the work with The European Green Deal, i.e. the goal for the EU to be climate neutral by 2050, which all 27 member states support. NetZeroCities is the platform that supports the Mission and European cities. 

At the end of 2021, cities in all Member States were invited to express their interest in becoming part of the Cities Mission. Interest was high: a total of 377 cities submitted an expression of interest. The European Commission has now selected 100 cities from all 27 Member States. They represent a wide range of cities in terms of size, level of innovation and progress on climate action. In addition, another 12 cities were added from countries that are associated or have the potential to become associated with Horizon Europe. Seven cities were selected from Sweden, all of which are also part of the Viable Cities programme Climate Neutral Cities 2030. The seven cities are Malmö, Helsingborg, Lund, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Gävle and Umeå.

In total, Horizon Europe is investing EUR 360 million in the Cities Mission and in research and innovation initiatives linked to the Mission (e.g. in mobility, energy, urban planning) over the period 2021-23. The Commission is also working to mobilize additional financial support and funding from public and private institutions. The 100+ cities will also have the opportunity to participate in major European innovation and pilot projects. They will receive tailored advice and assistance from NetZeroCities. Cities will have ample opportunities for networking, exchange of best practices and support to engage local stakeholders in the Mission. Some advisory and financial support will also be provided to additional cities beyond the 112.

The next step is for the 100 cities to develop Climate City Contract (Climate City Contracts) to be signed and implemented by each participating city. The contracts will include a comprehensive action plan for climate neutrality in key sectors, such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport. The climate contracts will also include investment plans to finance the necessary efforts. The process will involve local stakeholders, business, research institutes, civil society, as well as the EU, national and regional government agencies - and last but not least their own citizens. Co-creation is key and everyone is necessary to achieve this ambitious goal!

In parallel with NetZeroCities, national networks have an important role to play in supporting and co-creating with cities. Such networks already exist in some countries, where the Swedish Viable Cities will be an important source of inspiration. The European Commission has launched the initiative "Building Capacities for the Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission"(CapaCITIES) to further develop these networks and promote the establishment of similar ones in countries where they do not yet exist. Viable Cities is participating in CapaCITIES, which runs from 2022 to 2024.

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