EUKN statement at the Informal Ministerial Meeting in Amsterdam, 30 May 2016

Yesterday, during the May 30th Ministerial Meeting, EUKN director Mart Grisel prepared a statement on the Urban Agenda for the EU and upcoming EUKN activities. The statement can be read below.

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"Thank you Mr. chair for giving the floor to the EUKN, the European Urban Knowledge Network. Our network has been established under the previous informal meeting organised under the Dutch Presidency, almost 12 years ago, to exchange urban knowledge and to support Presidencies of the EU by providing practice-oriented research. Some of these reports have inspired the urban agenda, like our reports on urban poverty, on small and medium-sized urban areas and earlier reports on third-country national migration and intra-EU mobility.

Three years of collaboration with the Netherlands have now led to the Pact of Amsterdam. So, congratulations to you, minister Plasterk, and to the Dutch urban envoy, Mr Nicolas Beets, and to all those who have been contributing to the realisation of this important milestone: the Commission, EU Member States, cities and city networks.

The EUKN is a strategic knowledge partner of member states acting at the interface between policy, research and practice. As such, we will continue to support the Urban Agenda for the EU in different ways. Later this year, we will invite a wide range of urban actors to participate in two seminars dedicated to two of the Pilot Partnerships. With researchers and policy makers at various governmental levels, with the private sector, with social innovators like the City Makers and NGOs, we will debate the first results of the Partnerships on Poverty and on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees to create a bigger impact of the partnerships. In the spirit of the Pact of Amsterdam, we will do this with other knowledge institutions, including URBACT, ESPON and Europa Decentraal.

The EUKN is committed to providing knowledge support to countries interested in setting up new partnerships. With the Czech Republic – one of our members – we will organise a Policy Lab to explore possibilities for leading a new partnership on a new priority theme..

The EUKN has not only been involved in the making of the Urban Agenda for the EU but also in the making of the New Urban Agenda of the UN. Especially with regard to urban governance, capacity building and institutional reform the Pact of Amsterdam, based on MLG partnerships, can inspire other regions in the world. With the Dutch Urban Envoy, the incoming Slovak Presidency and European and global knowledge partners we look forward to a wider debate on the working method of the Urban Agenda for the EU at the Habitat III Conference in Quito and to exchange experiences with global partners.

The EUKN offers its experience and expertise to work with the current and the next Trio Presidency – with the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Malta, and the UK, Estonia and Bulgaria –, the Commission and colleague knowledge networks in Europe to make better use of existing knowledge structures and to counter fragmentation in knowledge exchange. This is an important aspect of the Pact that needs to be developed in more detail.

With the Pact of Amsterdam, we have the foundations to jointly build a stronger urban Europe. This is not only important for Europe but also for other regions in the world to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable."