“Inspiring and useful”, “the chance to tell your story”, “a pressure cooker experience on Climate City Contract relevant topics”, “good networking opportunities”, the kind of intensive training that really reduces the amount of extra work”…this is how Mission Cities refer to their experience participating in the first two NetZeroCities Summer Schools! 

In June and July, some 60 Mission Cities representatives embarked on an intensive learning track to accelerate their way to 2030 climate neutrality. With two NetZeroCities Summer School sessions organised in Milan and Como, Italy, early June, and in Santander, Spain, mid-July, cities had the opportunity to join an exciting laboratory of practice and work together on their climate goals.  

NetZeroCities Summer School in Milan and Como, Italy

The Summer School is designed to help cities in their climate action pathways towards climate neutrality and to support them in accelerating the design of coherent portfolios of actions and sound funding strategies. From investment planning to social innovation, cities have been sharing approaches and tools with each other, and cooking some Climate City Contracts to move climate action forward. 

Here are some of the topics addressed during these two days and a half:

  • How to set up a Transition Team
  • How to co-design a coherent portfolio of actions
  • How to design the city’s pathways and indicators
  • How to finance the transition and plan investment
  • How to engage stakeholders and citizens in the process 
  • How to leverage social innovation opportunities 

With a mix of workshops and learning sessions, not only have the two Summer Schools been a space for in-depth knowledge sharing from NetZeroCities experts, but also for reflection exercises, questions, and peer-to-peer exchange. Cities were able to share good examples of solutions they implemented in their cities for climate neutrality, including ongoing projects and initiatives, governance formats they are experimenting with, organisational relations they are developing, and more. Cities that have already submitted their Climate City Contract to the European Commission for review were available for support and peer-to-peer exchange in Santander for cities planning to submit in autumn which demonstrates clearly the backbone of mutual learning among the Mission Cities.

NetZeroCities Summer School in Santander, Spain

Beyond thematic learning, the Summer Schools are also about in-person encounters. For city representatives, they are the opportunity to openly share with each other on their progress, questions, doubts, interests and have fruitful conversations in a safe space. These kinds of encounters are essential for Mission Cities to connect, feel empowered by each other, and get support from peers in addition to support they can get from the NetZeroCities consortium members.  As one of the participants pointed out, “The Summer School is a set of sessions that clarify the systemic approach on climate action and that enable you to create stronger bonds with other cities and individuals that share the same vision.” 

The Summer School is one of the components of a wider Capability Building Programme for Mission Cities (available on the NetZeroCities Portal with individual groups for the eight Modules) that provides online and offline learning opportunities, in complement to City Advisors’ support. It aims to support cities in building the capabilities necessary to accelerate the climate neutrality transition and lead a Climate City Contract process, interacting with specialists but also building closer relationships with other cities participating in the Mission.