The Mission of our times

22 September 2020

Inspired by the 50-year anniversary of the moon landings, and the famous 1962 challenge of US President John F. Kennedy to get there by the end of the decade, the European Commission’s new ‘missions’ are set to come up with similarly ambitious challenges for Europe.

Within the framework of its Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, five bold new missions will seek out paths not walked before. The board for the Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission, in which Anna Lisa Boni, Eurocities Secretary General, is one of 15 advisory experts, proposes to achieve “100 climate neutral cities by 2030.”

Thus, the proposal aims to deliver across 100 cities “in 10 years what the Europe plans to achieve in 30 years”.

The Mission will work with pioneering cities “to support, promote and showcase” them “in their systemic transformation to climate neutrality by 2030, making these cities innovation hubs for all cities.”

By signing a “Climate City Contract” Mayors, the European Commission and national authority will jointly take responsibility for affecting the necessary transformative change.

One pivotal aspect of the Mission is to consider citizens in their different roles, “as political actors, users, producers, consumers or owners of buildings and transport means.” Within the Climate City Contract, for example, at least 1% of funding from the EU “should be devoted to support citizens and their platforms for the development and implementation of climate actions.”

If successful, the Mission can become a central part of meeting the EU’s Green Deal objectives, and given this, relevant money will need to be foreseen in the next EU 7 year budget, through the Horizon Europe programme, and in the recently announced Next Generation EU recovery plan.

The full report of the Mission Board for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities, outlining this proposed Mission is now available here: Cities Mission – mission proposal