Cities of Equality

About the Thematic Area

The concept of "Cities of Equality" lacks an agreed-upon definition in the context of policy and regulation. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the new Thematic Partnership. The idea of equality recognises that certain groups of people, now legally protected based on characteristics such as race or ethnic origin, disability, sex and sexual orientation, religion and belief, among others, have historically faced discrimination.

The primary focus of the new Thematic Partnership will be on addressing specific issues related to equality within cities. Cities that successfully and proactively foster environments of equality are those that take into account the diverse needs of all individuals and social groups. They plan and provide equal opportunities for everyone, irrespective of age, disability, gender, sexual orientation (LGBTIQ), religion and belief, race and ethnic origin (including country of origin), or socio-economic status, ensuring that no one is left behind.

In order to achieve this ambition whilst creating the environments for equality, it is necessary to employ both targeted interventions that specifically benefit protected groups and holistic thinking that aims to ensure cities work for everyone. The principle of intersectionality, which acknowledges the overlapping and interconnected nature of various forms of discrimination and disadvantage, will be essential in this endeavor. By considering the unique challenges faced by different individuals and communities, the Thematic Partnership can strive for comprehensive and inclusive approaches towards achieving equality within cities.

About the Partnership

The Union of Equality, launched in 2021 by the European Commission, introduced an important initiative that focuses on mainstreaming equality at the EU and Member State level. Today, as demonstrated in the Ex-Ante Assessment report, there is still a lot of work to be done at city level and especially the urban dimensions that the Urban Agenda for the EU is dedicated to. This is where the UAEU Partnership on ‘Cities of Equality’ can bring added value.

What does joining the partnership entail? 

Joining the partnership entails a concrete contribution of the development of the Cities of Equality theme and the implementation of the Cities of Equality partnership. The future partners will be instrumental in scoping and focusing the theme based on their expertise, they will be actively involved in the analysis of the selected themes and sub-themes and their development into concrete actions that can be implemented at the EU, national and city levels. The action plan will be presented to the Director General for Urban Matters of all the EU member states, as well as EU institutions and banks, and where relevant present the opportunity for collaboration. Finally, joining of the partnership will provide the opportunity to implement the proposed actions. 

What are the responsibilities? 

  • Attendance and active contribution to the Partnership meetings. 
  • Contribution to specific themes of the Partnership choice and interest. 
  • Contribution to formulating concrete actions added to the action plan. 
  • Contribution to the implementation of actions. 

What kind of resources are required? 

  • Time commitment during the duration of the Partnership work. 
  • Resources commitment for: Travel to the meetings (including accommodation). 
  • Staff commitment:  dedicated staff responsible for the matters of the Partnership.  

What are the benefits? 

  • The possibility to make a concrete contribution to better EU policy, funding and knowledge about Cities of Equality, through a production and implementation of an action plan. 
  • Joining and expanding a network of likeminded organisations dedicated to promoting Cities of Equality at the European level. 
  • Joining a vast network of over 14 UAEU Partnerships and their over 300 member network dedicated to improving urban dimensions of the EU Policies through dedicated urban themes. 

About the Call for Partners

This Call for expression of interest for partners aims at establishing a new Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the European Union (UAEU) on Cities of Equality and will remain open until 29 September 2023.

It was preceded by an Ex-Ante Assessment (EAA) guiding the applicants especially regarding the themes pertinent to the Cities of Equality thematic area and the most appropriate organisation, timing and activities for this UAEU partnership.

The call is accompanied by a Background Document, explaining the eligible applicants, the selection process and criteria, as well as the responsibilities for each category of partner. It also provides a description of the theme that the partnership will focus on.

Please consult both documents before submitting an application.

The specific selection criteria include:

  1. Motivation to become partner, to be involved in the UAEU in the specific theme, possibly with reference to one or more specific sub-themes and issues. 
  2. Expertise and qualifications of the applicant with regard to at least one of the previously mentioned themes and issues Expertise should be clearly demonstrated through description of past projects and initiatives.
  3. Outreach to relevant stakeholders and participation in networks and cooperation programmes 
  4. Readiness to participate with own human and financial resources

The horizontal selection criteria aim at guaranteeing a composition of the Partnership consistent with the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU and of the new Partnership on Food. These will be considered once the specific selection criteria described below are assessed, in order to make a selection amongst the highest scoring participants.

  1. Multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach: 15 to 20 partners from all levels of government and from different types of organisations. 
  2. Size of cities: at least one ‘small-sized city’ and one ‘medium-sized city’ (please see definition of categories in the Background document) 
  3. Geographical balance between the members. 
  4. Diversity of types of geographic and economic regions where cities are located (metropolitan / coastal / mountain / rural) 
  5. Prior involvement in the UAEU: is not required. 
  6. Coordinators: maximum two, of which at least one from an urban authority. In their expression of interest, applicants should indicate if they would like to be considered for the role of a Coordinator.

How to apply

As per the Multiannual Working Programme accompanying the Ljubljana Agreement, urban authorities, Regions, Partner States, city consortiums and national city umbrella organisations are able to apply to this call. Moreover, Member States and other stakeholders (Managing Authorities for EU funds, experts/academia, NGOs, economic and social partners, civil society organisations and private sector representatives) are also able to apply to the Call.

Applications should be submitted via the below link by 29 September 2023 at 18.00 (CET).