10 July 2024

EURESFO 2024 launches European Resilience Partnership

As climate and water-related stresses increase both in terms of frequency and impact, many European cities and regions are looking into solutions that can address the intertwined ongoing challenges and protect vulnerable populations. This year’s European Urban Resilience Forum (EURESFO) gathered 450+ participants to discuss opportunities to strengthen resilience in the context of sustainable urban development. This year’s high-level discussions and workshops focused on multilevel governance, water resilience and the Blue Economy, and the transformation towards climate-neutral cities and regions. Additionally, it addressed building resilience in fragile settings and bridging the gap between humanitarian response and post-conflict recovery. To bring all of these themes together, EURESFO also marked the official launch of the European Resilience Partnership.

The 2024 edition of EURESFO took place during the Valencia Cities Climate Week, bringing together high-level representatives of cities and regions from across Europe. Co-organised by ICLEI Europe, the European Environment Agency, and ICLEI Member and European Green Capital city of Valencia (Spain), EURESFO was the perfect occasion to kick off the European Resilience Partnership. This initiative aims to break silos between societal, environmental, and economic resilience actions by building capacity through enabling collaboration across different sectors, governance scales, financing tools, and initiatives. By doing so, it will also support local and regional governments in their journey to become more resilient.

Elina Bardram, Mission Manager, Director for Adaptation & Resilience, Communication, and Civil Society Relations, DG CLIMA, European Commission, highlighted: "In the face of climate change, collaboration is not merely an option but a necessity. Inclusive and participatory processes are also key for pursuing the priorities of the European Union. As we convene at the 11th EURESFO in Valencia, let us recognise the urgency of working together across all levels of governance and sectors. Our mission, as outlined by the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, extends beyond dialogue; it demands concerted action. EURESFO is a great opportunity to leverage collective wisdom and drive impactful change towards resilient, sustainable futures for all."

Water resilience and the promotion of existing blue economy models is a central pillar for economic growth and for building resilience within and beyond the Mediterranean while improving the ocean ecosystems.

EURESFO also aimed to discuss the ambitious objectives of the European Green Deal and Adaptation Strategy that need to be implemented at the local and regional level and require enormous amounts of investments to build societal, environmental and economic resilience. Investment needs are pushing cities to rethink how governance and financial structures need to be adequate to allow their social, economic, and infrastructural systems in order to achieve resilience as well as climate neutrality. Harriët Tiemens, Director of the Green Metropolitan Region of Arnhem-Nijmegen (The Netherlands), and member of ICLEI Europe’s Regional Executive committee added: “We feel obligated to build a good future for next generations. All European cities face a huge urbanisation task, and it's important to consider touchstones such as resilience for climate change, good living, beauty, in order to be able to provide the best living conditions for the future. Let's learn how to urbanise in harmony and beauty of the environment.

As intensifying geopolitical crises are at the doorsteps of Europe, discussions at EURESFO focused on building resilience in fragile settings and bridging the gap between humanitarian responses to post-conflict resilience and the recovery process. The ICLEI Ukraine Roadmap, based on consultations with 19 Ukrainian cities, supports the shift from siloed investments in emergency response to integrated strategic financing for long-term recovery in alignment with the cities’ Local Green Deals Andriy Ocheretny, Deputy Mayor of Vinnytsia (Ukraine) highlighted: “Every city is facing different challenges, depending on their location. Expenses have increased in the cities after the war. We work towards developing strategies with a view of EU integration as a part of making our cities more resilient.