Getting to climate neutrality: 53 Pilot Cities offer a path towards transformation 

Mar 3, 2023: Fifty-three cities are embarking on unprecedented climate action to learn how to become climate neutral by 2030. The Pilot Cities were selected by NetZeroCities, a programme funded by Horizon 2020 that supports the EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. As the leader of the programme, EIT Climate-KIC will help these Pilot Cities set the urban climate transition on a new trajectory.  

Selected from a wide array of 103 applications involving 159 cities from 33 countries across the European Union and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries, each of the Pilot Cities will implement systemic and locally designed innovative actions that span multiple areas, from buildings to waste, and levers of change, including governance, finance and policy. Over their two-year journey, they will reflect and learn as they go, providing opportunities for other cities to follow in their footsteps, replicating and/or scaling approaches and solutions relevant to their context.   

Mission Cities seeking to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 are undertaking ambitious and innovative actions. Through the Pilot Cities programme, we are helping them try out new approaches to engaging citizens and stakeholders, advance new policies, and mobilize capital to fund and finance their actions. This approach recognizes the value of learning through doing, tackling barriers directly through ways of working and different governance models. This effort should produce very exciting developments that can benefit all cities, and thus help us respond to the climate emergency,” says Thomas Osdoba, Director of Net Zero Cities, EIT Climate-KIC. 

Pilot Cities’ activities will be supported by €32 million in grants from the NetZeroCities project. The grants will complement the support already provided by the City Advisors and the Consortium partners of NetZeroCities. The Pilot Cities Programme is a crucial part of accomplishing the objectives of the EU Cities Mission, which aims for 112 cities to be climate neutral by 2030.  

In continuing work under the EU Cities Mission, an increasing number of Mission Cities will be supported to enhance their proposed activities and ascertain funding to implement them through the NetZeroCities Pilot Cities Programme, piloting their own approaches to rapid and systemic decarbonisation. In addition, all the cities that were not selected as Pilot Cities at this stage will have many other ways to engage with the Cities Mission, for example through a twinning and teaming programme that will start shortly.  

Pilot Cities represent the start of a longer journey toward climate neutrality: one that will transform cities and bring them together around a shared vision for a just climate transition.  

Congratulations to the 53 cities selected for the Pilot Cities Programme to contribute to EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. They will test new strategies to achieve their local climate goals. Their experience will serve as examples to all cities across the European Union and beyond. The Pilot Cities Programme is only one of many building blocks put in place by the EU Cities Mission. I encourage all cities to check out all future initiatives, and to engage now with their citizens and stakeholders and prepare their strategy for becoming climate neutral,” says Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. 

Six of the selected Pilot Cities have already worked with EIT Climate-KIC through the Healthy, Clean Cities Deep Demonstration programme: Leuven, Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan, Malmo and Krakow

NetZeroCities is a project consortium consisting of 33 partners from 27 European countries, managing the EU Cities Mission platform. The project supports 112 European cities, known as the Mission Cities, in drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality. The EU Cities Mission supports the European Green Deal in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future through research and innovation.   

 Learn more about the Pilot Cities Programme and see the full list of cities here.  

Press-releases you may be interested in
EIT Climate-KIC and partners collaborate with Laud...

On 23 March 2021, EIT Climate-KIC, with the support...

EIT Climate-KIC and partners collaborate with Laudes Foundation to advance Madrid and Milan sustainable urban approach across Europe