European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

Partnership City Initiative - dialogue and cooperation

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Thu 10, October 2019
11:00 - 12:00
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Partnership City Initiative is often called a Polish URBACT, as it was inspired by the effects of this European networking project. The aim of this initiative is to support, from the national level, thematic networks of the cities, where cities themselves identify their most pertinent challenges and work on solutions and recommendations for improvement.

The Ministry of Investment and Economic Development provides organisational (e.g. organising meetings) and expert support for the networks. So far, 3 networks have been launched: air quality, urban mobility and revitalisation, with 34 cities involved. All cities, in addition to exchanging experiences, work on the so-called Urban Action Initiatives, which are documents containing specific solutions for previously identified challenges and/or local problems. The final result of the work of each network will be the Improvement Plan, which is a document containing a set of recommendations for conducting national policies related to the thematic area of a given network. The idea is the recommendations proposed by the cities are taken into consideration at national level and lead to policy changes, enabling better integration of urban policy. The pilot nature of the project of the first thematic networks allows us to state that the Partnership City Initiative is a simultaneous combination of initiatives at European Union level - Urban Agenda, URBACT.

Profiting from the “Urbact Methodology”, Poland has managed to spread these ways of working into 34 other towns and cities, increasing the capacity of a European level networking programme, to a lower national level.

PIM especially allows smaller towns and cities to profit from a sharp learning curve (they have often lost their administrative and/or economic roles and are looking for new ways of sustainable development).

Peter Wolkowinski, moderator expert, URBACT expert, Poland.
Marcin Augustyniak, expert, City of Wałbrzych, Poland.
Emmanuel Moulin, Head of the URBACT Secretariat, URBACT Secretariat, France.
Katarzyna Poskrobko, Expert on Social Communication, Association of Białystok Functional Area, Poland, Poland.
Magdalena Skwarska, Minister's Counsel, Urban Policy Unit, Ministry of Investment and Development of Poland, Poland.
ALDO Vargas-Tetmajer, Expert and Polish Urbact National Contact Point, Association of Polish Cities, Poland.
Peter Wolkowinski, moderator expert, URBACT expert, Poland.
Q&A on presented theme
The Future of the EU and the roles of the Regions and Cities
Ministry of Investment and Economic Development
english (en)
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room 310 (circle 3).
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

During the session Polish Ministry of Investments and Economic Development (Magdalena Skwarska) presented the project  Partnership City Initiative (PCI) often called Polish URBACT, aimed at the exchange and promotion of knowledge between cities and other entities involved in urban policies in Poland. The project is a response to the needs of local governments for knowledge and was prepared in close cooperation with cities and URBACT National Contact Point in Poland. Following some of the topics set by the European Urban Agenda and based on the working experience of the URBACT programme, the project carried out in 2017 its first process of recruitment for interested cities to participate in 3 pilot thematic networks on Urban Mobility, Urban Regeneration and Air Quality. Over 105 cities applied, indicating a high demand for this type of projects, of which 34 cities were selected to participate in the PCI first edition. During 2-years work all cities have developed with the Local Partnership a City Action Initiatives, which contain concrete solutions to identified local challenges and problems. Above them, Improvement Plans (one per each network) were also completed, aimed at formulating recommendations for national policies related to the thematic area of a Network.

The director of URBACT secretariat (Emmanuel Moulin) highlighted that it is very positive that Poland has started steps to transfer knowledge and know-how with these 3 networks based on the URBACT model. Furthermore, this national approach is complementary to what is done by URBACT to reach out smaller cities and towns, as it is more difficult for them to involve in European projects (lack of means, language barrier, alleged complexity of European schemes).

Intervention of representatives from two cities taking part in PCI (Wałbrzych and Association of The Bialystok Functional Area) proved that PCI in some cases were an accelerator to associate and establish cooperation in specific dimensions of urban policies. In others it initiated cross-sectoral cooperation around urban policies. In addition, the PCI project enabled the collaboration between cities and national level creating new communication channel that allows better, more effective adjustment of national urban policies to the needs of cities. The formula of the PCI project was also an opportunity to test a new way of developing better, more interesting and inspiring ideas for the development of cities that have social support, in the form of partnership cooperation involving representatives of the public, social and private sectors.

The representative of NUP in Poland (Aldo Vargas–Tetmajer) underlined that the key to PCI’ success was the practical application of the integrated approach: cities could present their needs and expectations, and the ministry, using the experience of the URBACT program, a useful and effective work method that enables the implementation of specific actions in cities with little resources.




Take away message

PCI were inspired by both the EU Urban Agenda and the URBACT Program. The PCI project is implemented as part of Polish national urban policy. It is exchange scheme for and with the cities – 34 cities were working within three networks dealing with air quality, urban mobility and urban regeneration. This national approach is complementary to what is done by URBACT to reach out smaller cities and can be considered as a pilot project which could inspire URBACT for the future.

The Polish PCI is the expression of excellent cooperation between the ministry, the Association of Polish Cities and cities themselves. It can be considered as a pilot project which could inspire URBACT for the future due to close links of the activities carried out at European, national and local level.


PCI were inspired by both Urban Agenda for the EU and the URBACT Program. While working with Polish cities involved in UAEU and URBACT we noticed that there is a need and expectations to introduce mechanism which will enable exchange of knowledge among Polish Cities.

The discussion and exchange of knowledge with members of Local Partnership allowed for a more detailed identification of problems and needs of local communities. LP members support each other in solving various problems, sometimes jointly implementing various common projects. And sometimes they advise each other and pass on good practices.

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