The Urban Transports Community and the empowerment of territories for a more sustainable future for the Mediterranean: Results of the Workshop / BXL

Within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities, a workshop focused on the empowerment of territories for a more sustainable future for the Mediterranean was organized. Learn more on the Urban Transports Community's participation.

(Rome, 28 October 2019) “In relation with the climate emergency, citizens will have to take action, whether they like it or not: the issue is how to convince them to do it, to recycle, not to use the car, etc.” pointed out J. Canals on the occasion of the workshop dedicated to “the future of the EU and the roles of the regions and cities”, to which the Urban Transports Community (UTC) took part. Well aware of such climate emergency, the UTC works towards achieving tailored-made sustainable mobility plans and low carbons mobility solutions in the Mediterranean area.

Taking place in the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019, this workshop showcased the achievements of the Interreg MED Programme. The workshop was focused on the horizontal projects (HPs) and their interaction with modular projects. As A. Rampal highlighted, “the Horizontal Projects and the communities of the Interreg MED Programme provide a great opportunity to compare different practices in priority sectors, such as energy efficiency, blue growth and biodiversity protection”.

It engaged the audience in an open debate on the role that the regions and cities should play on three cross-cutting topics: climate change, blue economy and inclusive growth. The Urban Transports Community, taking part in this event, is particularly committed to these issues, working towards the enhancement of sustainable urban mobility in the Mediterranean.

This workshop featured, among others, the presence of J. Molinas, from MedCities, partner of the Urban transports Community, who highlighted the importance of MedCities as a network involving the extremely culturally diverse three sides of the Mediterranean, allowing to share practices and learning from one another. He recognised that decentralisation is a very crucial topic on the agenda of many Mediterranean countries and emphasized the challenge of engaging citizens, due to the technocratic approach of policy-makers. “We need a real implication of people to build a greener model: investments are important, but citizens’ participation is crucial” added M. Bresso, a need on which the MOTIVATE project dedicated itself wholly. Part of the UTC, this project promotes citizens' engagement in urban sustainable mobility planning through the use of social media and crowdsourcing applications. It is important that citizens understand the tangible results of the existing projects.

This workshop was the occasion to introduce the MED Programme architecture with a particular focus on its structure, intended to facilitate the capitalisation and appropriation of results. Notably, M. Bresso underlined the need for training and capacity building to implement a sort of “organisational innovation”, where all different stakeholders – research organisations, businesses, public administrations and citizens are involved. For example, I. Ostoic presented the case of Preko, an insular municipality in Croatia that was involved in a renewable energy Interreg Med project. She explained how the municipality managed to engage citizens, by showing the tangible results of the project and highlighted the opportunity Preko had to present the results to neighbour islands, spreading the knowledge and comparing practices with others. Following these considerations, A. Rampal stressed the importance of creating synergies among territories facing similar challenges. Within the UTC, the LOCATIONS project uses the same approach by developing through transnational cooperation and local actions, a greener mobility in cruise destinations. ENERNET-Mob is also worth mentioning in this regard, as it develops Mediterranean Interregional Electromobility Networks for intermodal and interurban low carbon transport systems.

“Spreading the knowledge about the achievements of a project is particularly useful to stimulate innovation in municipalities” highlighted I. Ostoic, something on which the recently renewed Urban Transports Community will continue developing.

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