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Multilevel Stakeholders Committed to Build A Stronger and More Proactive Approach Towards an European Resilience Partnership


24 Oct 2023


Development Policy

Under the backdrop of accelerated transformation, where pandemic recovery is challenged by an unstable conflict situation in Ukraine and the unprecedented scale and frequency of climate change impacts, the European Urban Resilience Forum met for its 10th edition in Cascais (Portugal) from 18-20 October 2023. More than 350 participants from 44 countries convened to discuss a shared vision to implement a resilient transformation across Europe.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, opened the Forum highlighting that:
“Resilience is a word that we hear more and more – the response that we need to a decade of crises.” (...) “We never know what’s around the corner. But, with an integrated approach, we are better prepared. Next year, the Commission will be working on water resilience, and cities will have a major role to play. And in that work, we will be reaching out to ICLEI to draw on your knowledge and experience on the integrated approach. In resilience, determination has a central place”.

The European Urban Resilience Forum is a European initiative driven by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability’s European Secretariat and the European Environment Agency, which was co-organised this year with the City of Cascais. Over three days, the event featured 40+ sessions and workshops with over 100 speakers and moderators including representatives from ICLEI member cities of Zagreb (Croatia), Aarhus (Denmark), Hamburg (Germany), Athens and Thessaloniki (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), Warsaw (Poland), Cascais, Guimarães  and Torres Vedras (Portugal), Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and Malmö (Sweden).

Among the speakers were also representatives from the European Commission, Google EIE, UNDPUNDRR/MCR2030, the Resilient Cities Network, and the Council of Europe Development Bank, among others. Speakers from the cities of Vejle (Denmark), Paris (France), Dortmund (Germany), Milan (Italy), Piraeus (Greece), The Hague (Netherlands), Castelo Branco, Loule, Mafra and Setúbal (Portugal) Kraljevo (Serbia), Ehlanzeni (South Africa), Madrid (Spain), Dundee (UK), and Lviv, Rivne and Vinnytsia (Ukraine), together with representatives from Central Bosnia Canton (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Azores Regional Government (Portugal), Central Macedonia (Greece), Valencia Regional Government (Spain) and Greater Manchester (UK) enriched the discussion.

Speakers reflected on a changed climate and new extreme events that have become ever-present over the past 10 years. The Forum discussed innovative governance models and funding schemes to deal with multi-hazard scenarios, more frequent climate extremes, and overlapping crises, diving deep into multi-level structures and opportunities for managing and funding adaptation projects and action.

A roadmap to a European Resilience Partnership was launched at the Forum. Harriët Tiemens, Director of the Green Metropolitan Region of Arnhem-Nijmegen (Netherlands), and ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee member supported it and said:
“It's important to work with several stakeholders to make Europe more resilient and come into action. Setting targets together, developing a shared programme and finding budget to execute it. There is no formal construct but collaboration on the content in a structured way with a coalition of the willing.

The Forum assessed whether the capacity built over the past decade – capacity that must be fully exploited to address current and future resilience challenges – is sufficient and suitable with a view toward 2030 and beyond. To this end, the programme navigated three main thematic streams: (1) governance of new crises: managing and funding resilience in Europe; (2) challenging knowledge and innovation: accelerating a resilient and just transformation; and (3) mainstreaming solutions for a just transformative pathway: an integrated approach to resilience. 

Finally, the conference concluded with reflections from Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Europe Managing Director, who stated:
EURESFO means a lot to ICLEI. In the past 10 years, we have built a community and increased awareness for the broader concept of resilience: from focusing on adaptation to a wider rage of hazards and issues that cities are currently facing. Europe is on a good path; there is a stronger sense that cities are starting to address resilience issues and planning with a more systematic approach, while collaborating and supporting each other with the common goal of a resilient and climate neutral EU by 2030”. 

Note to the Editors:

To learn more about the event programme, click here.
Picture from the 10th European Urban Resilience Forum available here.

Watch Message by Virginius Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, on the occasion of the European Urban Resilience Forum (EURESFO) here.


About EURESFO: Since 2013, EURESFO has been a unique exchange platform for city representatives, experts and stakeholders from local and regional institutions to discuss strategies, initiatives and actions for adapting to climate change, managing disasters, and building urban resilience. The European Urban Resilience Forum is a European initiative driven by ICLEI Europe and the European Environment Agency, and co-organised with the City of Cascais for the 2023 edition. Previous partners such as Resilient Cities Network,  UNDRREuropean Investment BankEuropean Committee of the RegionsCovenant of Mayors - Europe, the Nordic Urban Resilience Institute, and are back to support the programme development.

About ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides Members in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.

About European Environment Agency: The European Environment Agency is an agency of the European Union, whose task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The Agency aims to support sustainable development by helping to achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment, through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymaking agents and the public.
Press contact:

Valeria Eirin                           
Senior Officer, Media & Outreach               
ICLEI Europe                           
Tel: +49 761 368920


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