At EUROCITIES, spring is always the season of forum meetings.
Our culture, environment and mobility forums met in March, and this month it is the turn of the economic development, knowledge society, and social affairs forums. Our six thematic forums are the backbone of the EUROCITIES network. They meet two or three times per year, enabling our members to engage in structured discussions with fellow professionals, contribute to and influence EU policies, network informally, and exchange good practices. Through our forums, we have a strong presence in the EU policy arena and we influence the EU agenda. We also provide a unique platform for our members to share knowledge and expertise in innovative urban solutions and trends.
Our forums are not ’set in stone‘. We strive to constantly review their work to make sure that they respond to the needs of our member cities and reflect on the latest trends at European level. We are also continually working to improve the knowledge sharing tools and methods we use during forum meetings. In the framework of our EU-funded projects, we have developed very strong and widely recognised knowledge sharing and replication methodologies. One of my key responsibilities is to look at how to make the best use of these methods in our forums, and to ensure that our members can adapt and transfer good practices upon their return home from our forum meetings. I am also seeking ways to better integrate our EU-funded projects in the activities of our forums and working groups to enable members to benefit from our project findings and results.
Of course, the entire EUROCITIES team is dedicated to improving the work of our forums and working groups in close cooperation with our members. We are working hand in hand with our forum chairs and vice chairs to improve the quality, focus, and impact of their meetings. This includes: promoting stronger inter-forum cooperation; embedding projects in the forums’ work; attracting more members to our forum sessions; involving politicians more efficiently; ensuring a stronger link between our forums’ strategies and the overall strategic framework of EUROCITIES; and providing guidelines for preparing forum meetings.
I am very pleased to report that a record number of participants attended this spring’s forum meetings: 130 members travelled to Tallinn for the culture forum; the social affairs forum in Lisbon had 120 people in attendance; and the environment forum in Antwerp also attracted 145 participants. Our forums are clearly becoming more and more relevant and increasingly beneficial to our members!