Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section, attended the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters which took place on 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Topics raised concerned the possible added-value of small and mediums-sized cities in cross-border regions, the progress towards the EU Urban Agenda, the urban challenges of the refugee situation and most importantly the Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions, a document which sums up the high-level representatives’ declared opinion on the aforementioned matters (see below). This meeting was an essential milestone towards the EU Urban Agenda, a brand new initiative which the EESC has requested for years.
On 20th April 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Egadi Islands (IT), with the objective to evaluate the islands' use of local resources. With 54 000 hectares, the Egadi Islands constitute the most important marine reserve of the EU. Welcomed by M Giuseppe Pagoto, Mayor of Favignana and M Stefano Donati, Director of the Protected Marine Area of the Egadi Islands, EESC Members had a fruitful exchange of views with local stakeholders including citizens. The EESC delegation visited four projects developed in the island: a photovoltaic plant managed by the municipality, the Posidonia's pilot project managed by the Protected Marine Area, a marine rescue centre opened to fishermen, the conversion of an old tuna factory into a museum of archaeology supported by the Region of Sicilia, and a project combining water supply and waste reduction.
On 30 March 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in Genoa to discover some of the very inspiring smart city initiatives that have been implemented there. The Municipality of Genoa is investing in its ‘vision’ of a city able to recognise and manage its own unique complexities, through the implementation of an intelligent, integrated and sustainable urban system, which identifies and enhances its own cultural, economic, productive and environmental characteristics, thus helping to develop a compatible and attractive natural urban fabric. Genoa has an ‘experimental’ vocation and sees itself as a laboratory in which to develop an innovative and technological approach designed to meet the city’s real needs, including in partnership with other Smart Cities.
On 4th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section is on mission to the island of Samsø (Denmark), with the objective to evaluate the islands' smart projects developed in the area of energy autonomy.
On 20 May 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation carried out a study visit in Lisbon to gain first-hand knowledge of some of the extremely interesting smart city projects that have been set up in the city.
The Lisbon region boasts a high concentration of companies involved in high-level technology and research, with approximately 333 000 companies headquartered in the region.
The delegation had the opportunity for a study visit to learn more about the Sharing Cities lighthouse project.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.
On 17th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Aegean islands (EL), with the objective to learn about the islands' production of energy.
ECO Workshop "Partnership – the key to successful urban development" during the CoR OPEN DAYS 2015, moderated by Mr van Iersel, ECO president.
This workshop will look at the cases of Glasgow and Vilnius. The objective of the workshop is to examine the potential opportunities and challenges faced by the cities and how these are determined by their location.
Following the lead of the upcoming Dutch EU Presidency, the European urban policy community is actively working on the preparation of an Urban Agenda. The aim is to promote cooperation between European, national and city level representatives and stakeholders so as to stimulate growth, liveability and innovation
On 29 April 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in La Rochelle to discover some of the inspirational smart city initiatives that have been implemented so far.
The delegation had the opportunity to make a technical visit to find out, inter alia, about the Atlantech project.