On 15th of March, the European Commission announced the four topics for the 4th UIA Call for Proposals to be launched in October 2018. Some relevant changes have occurred since the pre-announcement of June 2017. The four topics selected are:
- Digital transition
- Urban poverty
- Sustainable use of land
- Urban security
Urban Security was not included in the Urban Agenda for EU nor among the thematic objectives set out in the Cohesion Policy Regulations, and subsequently was not included among the themes pre-announced in June.
It is relevant to understand how Urban Security has been included in the agenda for cities development, and why this is not a surprise:
- In September 2017, the European Commission launched a survey, in the scope of the Urban Innovative Actions, to better understand the needs and approaches of urban authorities to security in public spaces. The introductory text indicated that “the future calls of the Urban Innovative Actions may address security challenges in public spaces”.
- Recently, the EU Mayors’ Conference on the security of public spaces was held in 8th of March, and the Commission and the Committee of the Regions released a Joint statement pointing to the priority of the protection of the Urban public spaces.
- And finally, on 15th of March the theme “Urban Security” has been included in the 4th call of the UIA initiative.
You can already find several other EC initiatives linked to Security, but they target on Member States policies and actions. The main novelty is how Urban Security is introduced as a “top priority” in the agendas of Mayors and Local Authorities. Even, a new Covenant of Mayors is expected, to be added to the existing one on Energy and Climate Adapt.
In Zabala we are in close contact with several cities, and follow the EC priorities and policies. Besides, security is a well-known topic in Horizon 2020 but it needs a new approach to integrate in the complexity of the Urban policies: how to make compatible mobility and security? How to obtain the citizens engagement also for security? How to make evident the links connecting inclusive development with security?
Social innovation is also a key aspect for the UIA calls. In fact, the citizenry must be involved from the definition of the strategies to the management after the implementation. Moreover if you really want to prepare a European proposal potentially successful.
In any case, the EC is working to define the content for each of the fours selected themes (Digital transition, Urban poverty, Sustainable use of land, and Urban security): the full descriptions are expected by April 2018. The 4th UIA Call for Proposals will be officially launched in October 2018 the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities, but local authorities must be defining their new projects well in advance. In Zabala we will support the cities wanting to apply to the 4th call, with the aim of following the success we had in the 1st and the 2nd UIA call and the current hard work in the projects for the 3rd call of proposals that will close the next week.