The Urban Agenda
for the EU

Better Regulation | Better Funding | Better Knowledge

The Urban Agenda for the EU represents a new multi-level working method, for urban policy and practice, promoting cooperation between Member States, cities, the European Commission, and other stakeholders.

It was launched in May 2016 with the Pact of Amsterdam and reconfirmed as a valuable initiative in November 2021, with the Ljubljana Agreement. In the 2021–2027 period, support to the Urban Agenda for the EU is provided under the European Urban Initiative.

What are the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

In the Pact of Amsterdam, the EU Ministers responsible for urban matters affirm that:

UAEU objective 1 UAEU objective 1

The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to realise the full potential and contribution of urban areas towards achieving the objectives of the Union and related national priorities in full respect of subsidiarity and proportionality principles and competences.

UAEU objective 2 UAEU objective 2

The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to establish a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies and legislation with a potential impact on urban areas and also to contribute to territorial cohesion by reducing the socioeconomic gaps observed in urban areas and regions.

UAEU objective 3 UAEU objective 3

The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to involve Urban Authorities in the design of policies, to mobilise Urban Authorities for the implementation of EU policies, and to strengthen the urban dimension in these policies.

What is the scope of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

The Urban Agenda for the EU scope is threefold. It focuses specifically on three pillars of EU policymaking and implementation:

BETTER regulation

The Urban Agenda for the EU focuses on a more effective and coherent implementation of existing policies, legislation, and instruments. The Urban Agenda for the EU will not initiate new regulation but will be regarded as an informal contribution to the design of future and revision of existing regulation, notably at EU level, in order for it to better reflect urban needs, practices and responsibilities. It recognises the need to avoid potential bottlenecks and minimise administrative burdens for urban authorities.


    The Urban Agenda for the EU will contribute to identifying, supporting, integrating, and improving traditional, innovative and user-friendly sources of funding for urban areas at the relevant institutional level, including from European structural and investment funds (ESIF) (in accordance with the legal and institutional structures already in place) in view of achieving effective implementation of interventions in urban areas. The Urban Agenda for the EU will not create new or increased EU funding aimed at higher allocations for urban authorities. However, it will draw from and convey lessons learned on how to improve funding opportunities for urban authorities across all EU policies and instruments, including Cohesion Policy.


      The Urban Agenda for the EU will contribute to enhancing the knowledge base on urban issues and exchange of best practices and knowledge. Reliable data is important for portraying the diversity of structures and tasks of Urban Authorities, for evidence-based urban policy making, as well as for providing tailor-made solutions to major challenges. Knowledge on how Urban Areas evolve is fragmented and successful experiences can be better exploited. Initiatives taken in this context will be in accordance with the relevant EU legislation on data protection, the reuse of public sector information and the promotion of big, linked and open data.

        What are the thematic Partnerships?

        Thematic Partnerships are the key delivery mechanism within the Urban Agenda for the EU. They include representatives from various governmental levels and stakeholders. As of October 2023, there are 18 Partnerships.

        The Thematic Partnerships have been launched in several steps since 2016:

        On 26th of October 2022 the representatives participating in the DGUM meeting in Prague approved the Partnerships on Sustainable Tourism and Greening Cities. The Thematic Partnerships on Food and Cities of Equality were endorsed by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in October 2023.

        Which organisations have already been part of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        The organisations that have already been involved in Urban Agenda for the EU are indicated in the following map (with the exception of those related to the Sustainable Tourism and Green Cities Partnerships).

        Partnership UAEU maps

        Copyrights : European Commission, Urban agenda for the EU Multi-level governance in action (Report 2021)

        Download the interactive map


        What do Partnerships do?

        The thematic Partnerships are defining and then implementing the Actions defined in the Action Plans.

        In summer 2017, the first draft Action Plans from the pilot Partnerships were shared in a Public Feedback, informing the creation of the final Action Plans. This process of consulting the public was repeated by all 14 Partnerships and is an important milestone in the process of developing their Action Plans.

        All the finalised Action Plans can be viewed here.

        What are the actions implemented by the Partnerships?

        Monitoring Table of Actions Monitoring Table of Actions

        The Monitoring Table of Actions for the Urban Agenda for the EU offers a thorough overview of initiatives carried out by the Thematic Partnerships.

        In addition to outlining specific actions, it highlights the interconnections between these efforts and cross-cutting issues. This framework enhances comprehension of the ongoing work, promoting transparency and coherence throughout the implementation process.

        Download the Monitoring Table of Actions


        EUI Support Services to the Partnerships

        One of the objectives of the European Urban Initiative (EUI) is to provide support to the Urban Agenda for the EU as indicated in the Pact of Amsterdam and Ljubljana Agreement and further detailed in Annex 1b) to the Contribution Agreement between the Commission and the Region Hauts-de-France (see section 4, page 33).

        The factsheet summarizes the Support Services Package that is offered by the EUI Permanent Secretariat on behalf of the European Commission in the 2021-2027 funding period to the members of the UAEU Thematic Partnerships. The Support Services comprise: Administrative Support (Thematic Partnership Officer), Initiation Phase, Provision of Expertise, Travel and Accommodation Support for Urban Authorities, Communication and Dissemination Support, and Creation of Synergies for the UAEU. 

        Download the factsheet

        What are the key documents of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        Policy documents defining the UAEU
        Amsterdam Amsterdam

        The Pact of Amsterdam, launched in 2016, laid the groundwork for the EU's Urban Agenda. It aimed to tackle urban challenges through collaboration among member states, cities, and stakeholders. Emphasizing sustainability and inclusivity, it fostered joint actions to improve governance, infrastructure, and social cohesion. The pact promoted dialogue and knowledge exchange, aiming to build resilient, vibrant cities for long-term prosperity.

        Download the Pact of Amsterdam

        Ljubjana Ljubjana

        The Ljubljana Agreement, published in 2021 as part of the Urban Agenda for the EU, updates policies to prioritize sustainability and resilience. It fosters collaboration for carbon neutrality, social equity, and inclusive urban development among member states and stakeholders.

        Download the Ljubjana Agreement

        Multiannual Working Programme Multiannual Working Programme

        The Working Programme of the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU) describes the Operational Framework of the UAEU in detail: the working method, concrete actions and the themes of the UAEU. It supports the Pact of Amsterdam (2016) for the period 2016–2021.

        The New Leipzig Charter and its Implementation Document reaffirmed the Pact of Amsterdam and call for continuation of cooperation, coherence and continuity within and between Trio Presidency Programmes.

        A Multiannual Working Programme has therefore been prepared for the period 2022–2026. It provides a framework for the planning, implementation and monitoring of the UAEU. The DGUM can already suggest amendments for approval by the Ministers responsible for Urban Matters before 2026 if relevant.

        Download the Multiannual Working Programme

        Gijon Gijon

        On 14 November 2023 the Spanish Presidency organised an informal meeting assembled Ministers responsible for Urban Matter in Gijon with the aim of further strengthening collaboration and continuing to support the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU). The Agreements on the Urban Matters Session about the Urban Agenda for the EU defines next steps for the future and several operational agreements for its implementation.

        Download the Gijon Agreements

        Policy documents linked to UAEU
        Leipzig Leipzig

        The New Leipzig Charter, adopted in November 2020 under the German Presidency, is a key policy framework for sustainable urban development in Europe and strongly aligned with the Cohesion Policy. Emphasizing cities need to establish integrated sustainable urban development strategies to ensure an implementation for the city as a whole. Member States agreed to implement the Charter in their national or regional urban policies.

        Download the New Leipzig Charter

        Leipzig Leipzig

        The document was adopted in November 2020 and accompanies the New Leipzig Charter. It intends to guide the next phase of the Urban Agenda for the EU according to the renewed parameters set out in the New Leipzig Charter.

        Download the New Leipzig Charter - Implementing Document

        EU Cohesion EU Cohesion

        The Territorial Agenda 2030 is a strategic framework adopted in 2020, which underlines the importance of and provides orientation for strategic spatial planning and calls for strengthening the territorial dimension of sector policies at all governance levels. It promotes an inclusive and sustainable future for all places and help achieve Sustainable Development Goals in Europe. The Territorial Agenda contributes to key European objectives of a Just and Green Europe.

        Download the Territorial Agenda 2030

        Studies regarding the implementation of the UAEU
        New Urban Agenda New Urban Agenda

        The Pact of Amsterdam (2016) states that the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU) should ‘contribute to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the global New Urban Agenda (NUA), as part of the Habitat III process’. In this context, the European Commission launched a review of the UAEU contributions to the NUA in 2021. Some of the main findings highlight that the UAEU and the NUA are strongly interlinked and share key urban governance principles as well as address similar challenges (urban poverty, climate adaptation, or urban mobility).

        Download the Review of the UAEU contributions to the New Urban Agenda

        Assessment study Assessment study

        This study, which was published in November 2019, provides a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Urban Agenda for the European Union (UAEU). It assesses the extent to which the UAEU has achieved its objectives outlined in the Pact of Amsterdam, highlighting strengths, challenges, and areas for improvement. Conducted by external consultants, the study incorporates both secondary data and primary data obtained through online consultations and in-depth interviews with UAEU stakeholders and participants.

        Download the Assessment Study

        Urban Agenda Brochure 2021 Urban Agenda Brochure 2021

        This brochure was published in 2021 and highlights the Urban Agenda for the EU's role in innovative governance and New Urban Agenda (NUA) implementation, featuring diverse actions and achievements. It references the New Leipzig Charter, Ljubljana Agreement, and UAEU's NUA contributions. Additionally, it covers UAEU cities' COVID-19 responses and includes a series of articles published in 2021. Organised by Thematic Partnerships, it promotes integrated approaches to address cross-cutting issues and support the three pillars of better regulation, better funding, and better knowledge. The brochure also explores EU programs and initiatives supporting sustainable urban development, alongside Cohesion Policy.

        Download Urban Agenda for the EU: Multi-level governance in action


        Are there more videos about the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        Yes. You can see more videos on our Youtube channel.

        Discover the Urban Agenda for the EU (CITIES Forum 2017) on YouTube