Author: Inna Chilik

In an era where climate change poses one of the most significant challenges to our cities, the power of collaboration and knowledge exchange has never been more crucial. The Twinning Learning Programme is facilitated by NetZeroCities, managing the EU Cities Mission Platform. The Programme has set a new benchmark for how cities can work together to achieve their sustainability goals. A recent meeting between Budapest, Hungary, and Eskisehir, Turkey, under this programme, exemplifies the potential of international partnerships in driving meaningful climate action.

A Meeting of Minds and Missions

From 12 to 13 March 2024, a delegation from Eskisehir visited Budapest to engage in a deep dive into the latter’s pioneering efforts in sustainability, particularly through the Budapest Cares project. This initiative is a comprehensive approach to enhancing energy efficiency in housing and tackling energy poverty, all while fostering increased citizen participation and awareness.

The heart of the meeting was the sharing of insights on the establishment of a Climate Agency in Budapest. This innovative model, created in collaboration with commercial banks and international financial actors, serves as a beacon for Eskisehir and other cities aiming to streamline their climate action efforts. Through extensive knowledge exchange sessions, the programme delved into data collection, technical parameters regarding energy efficiency, and financial support mechanisms.

Learning from Practical Implementations

One of the highlights of this collaboration was the on-site inspections of renovated housing projects in Budapest. These visits provided the Eskisehir delegation with tangible examples of energy efficiency improvements, offering a glimpse into the practical challenges and triumphs of implementing such initiatives. This hands-on learning experience is invaluable, offering clear, actionable insights that can be adapted and applied in Eskisehir’s context.

Towards a Shared Sustainable Future

The Twinning Learning Programme is not just about one city teaching and the other learning; it’s a reciprocal exchange of ideas, strategies, and visions for a sustainable future. The programme underscores the significance of adapting best practices to fit local needs and contexts, a principle that both cities embraced wholeheartedly.

The collaborative framework provided by the programme emphasises the importance of partnership in tackling global challenges like climate change. By working together, sharing knowledge, and learning from each other’s experiences, cities can accelerate their progress towards sustainability goals.

Key Takeaways for Global Cities

The meeting between Budapest and Eskisehir offers several key takeaways for cities worldwide. Firstly, it highlights the innovative approaches to institutionalising climate action, such as the establishment of dedicated agencies to coordinate efforts. Secondly, it demonstrates the value of practical, on-the-ground learning through project site visits. Lastly, it reinforces the need for continuous adaptation and learning, as cities evolve their strategies to meet new challenges and opportunities.

A Call to Action for Urban Sustainability

The Twinning Learning Programme is a testament to the power of collaboration in the face of climate challenges. As cities around the world grapple with the complexities of sustainable urban development, the partnership between Budapest and Eskisehir serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when we innovate together.

As we move forward, let this programme remind us of the collective strength and potential that lies in our shared commitment to a sustainable future. It is through partnerships like these that cities can not only meet their climate goals but also become beacons of hope and innovation for the world.

Join the Conversation

Are you involved in urban sustainability efforts? Have you witnessed or participated in similar collaborative initiatives? Share your experiences and insights. Let’s keep the conversation going and work together towards a more sustainable and resilient future for our cities.