Partnership City Initiative - dialogue and cooperation
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.