Although there is strong evidence that urbanization can induce significant advancements in the social, economic, cultural and spatial conditions of cities, actions need to be taken both to hasten these achievements and to cope with the negative consequences of urban growth, particularly in terms of equitable and inclusive access to the city for all. European universities and institutions have been able to carry out a large array of individual and joint research projects and to offer many training programmes on urban challenges in developing countries. However, not only have most of the governments of the European Union – and the European Union on its own, failed to fully draw on this research and training to design their support programmes and policies, they have also in recent years been reducing their support for research and aid focusing on the developing countries. Against the background of on-going preparation processes for the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in 2016 (Habitat III), the CA secretariat is asked by its members to increase the advocacy work in support of an urban agenda. Using the new location in Brussels, the secretariat is therefore looking for strategic partners in Europe for joint advocacy campaigns.
It is against this background that N-AERUS as a pluri-disciplinary network of researchers and experts working on urban issues in developing countries is considered as a strategic partner for joint advocacy activities. It was created in March 1996 by a group of European researchers. Its objective is to mobilise and develop the European institutional and individual research and training capacities on urban issues in the South with the support of institutions and individual researchers with relevant experience in this field. N-AERUS works in association with researchers and institutions in developing countries.
The Cities Alliance Secretariat in cooperation with the N-Aerus contact group has agreed to influence the global debate on the role of cities in sustainable development through a number of distinct activities in 2015/16. The aim of this cooperation is:
- To identify a number of key topics that both institutions could focus on and establish working groups, produce knowledge pieces and organise advocacy events;
- To provide and share knowledge and information on key emerging opportunities for engagement;
- To enable cross-learning and exchange by facilitating mutual presentation opportunities at CA events or university lectures;
- To jointly increase the visibility of both institutions.
Update on findings is presented under Discussions towards Habitat III.