The New Leipzig Charter and the JRC’s urban activities: Exploring the role of science for policy post 2020

EUKN and the Territorial Development Unit of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) - European Commission, 2020


Under the 2020 German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Ministers responsible for urban matters, the European Commission and key urban actors agreed on the governance principles and implementation instruments for sustainable urban development, as reflected in the newly adopted New Leipzig Charter. The political and strategic framework of the New Leipzig Charter offers a perspective from which to rethink the science-policy interface beyond 2020.

The Territorial Development Unit of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) has contracted the Urban Agenda for the EU Secretariat (European Urban Knowledge Network and Ecorys) to investigate the role that the JRC, the Commission’s science and knowledge service, can play in supporting urban policymaking within the framework for sustainable urban development proposed by the New Leipzig Charter (NLC) for the next ten years to come. The reflection was then expanded to consider both gaps and opportunities within the wider EU urban science-policy interface, considering the ongoing development of urban matters in the EU and the urban dimension of its policies. In order to discuss the study findings and broaden the reflection, a joint webinar was held on 26 November 2020 through Zoom; it involved an interactive session, where participants were invited to share their thoughts on how to address identified gaps and capitalise on opportunities.

The research was conducted while the negotiations on the EU budget for the 2021-2027 period were still ongoing. Discussions about the European Commission’s proposed new instrument, the European Urban Initiative, form part of these negotiations. With the aim to strengthen integrated and participatory approaches to sustainable urban development, the European Urban Initiative will create more synergies, improving efficiency, and building connections in the field of urban policy, research and practice.

Our hope is that this report’s findings will provide a basis to further the discussion on cooperation between the urban research and policy spheres. We consider this cooperation as an essential element towards supporting evidence-driven policymaking and relevant stakeholders in the complex, evolving ecosystem that is EU urban matters.

Read the study report ‘The New Leipzig Charter and the JRC’s Urban Activities’