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Financial framework for the urban environment

The aim of this Decision is to encourage local authorities to rise to the challenge of environmental issues and to provide them with financial and technical assistance in working towards sustainability.


Decision No 1411/2001/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Community framework for cooperation to promote sustainable urban development.


1. The state of the urban environment, where some 80% of Europeans live, is a matter of concern with implications at the local, European and global levels. The depletion of natural resources and the increase in pollution and waste are impacting upon local, regional and global ecosystems.

2. The Community has already entered into an international commitment at the Rio summit. Agenda 21, which was the subject of the Protocol signed at Rio, stipulates that most local authorities in each country should undertake a consultative process with their populations.

3. Following the communication entitled "Sustainable urban development in the European Union: a framework for action" [COM(1998) 605 final], this Decision of the Council and of the European Parliament puts in place a Community framework for cooperation to define, exchange and implement good practices with regard to sustainable urban development and in the framework of Agenda 21. The main partners are the Commission and the networks of towns and cities organised at European level. The European campaign for sustainable towns and cities is an alliance which brings together 540 local authorities committed to the development of local policies and activities to ensure sustainability.

4. The types of activity which might be eligible for funding are:

  • information and exchanges of information on sustainable urban development and local Agenda 21 and improvement of environmental quality in areas where environmental problems occur alongside socio-economic problems;
  • cooperation between the partners concerned by sustainable development and Agenda 21 at European level;
  • accompanying measures.

These activities must take place in the course of the year to which the financial contribution relates or the following two years.

5. The Commission will ensure consistency and complementarity between these activities and other programmes and initiatives, in particular the URBAN initiative. Projects eligible under other Community programmes and funds are not eligible under this cooperation framework. The selection criteria for the activities are:

  • a sound cost/benefit ratio;
  • a lasting multiplier effect at European level;
  • effective and balanced cooperation among the partners concerned;
  • a contribution to a multinational approach;
  • a multisectoral approach taking account of the social, economic and environmental dimensions;
  • a high degree of involvement of all the players, including the representatives of civil society;
  • revitalisation of public services of general interest.

6. Calls for proposals for projects are published each year by no later than 31 January. The Commission decides by 31 May which projects it will finance, and then makes that decision public.

7. The programme is open to participation by Cyprus, Malta, the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and countries which have concluded association agreements with the Community.

8. The Commission will take all necessary measures to combat fraud, and the financial audit will be carried out by the Court of Auditors.

The financial support given by the Commission may be reduced, suspended or recovered if irregularities are found. Beneficiaries must explain any delays in the progress of a project and must submit a financial report to the Commission six months after completion of the project. For contracts of more than one year, beneficiaries must present annual progress reports.

9. The Community cooperation framework operates from 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2004. An interim assessment is scheduled for 31 March 2003 at the latest.

10 The budget for the period 2001-2004 is EUR 14.8 million. 80% of the resources are allocated equally to information and cooperation activities. The remaining 20% goes to accompanying measures.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 1411/2001/EC



OJ L 191 of 13.7.2001


Regulation (EC) No 614/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environmen t (LIFE+) - Commission statement [Official Journal L 149 of 9.6.2007].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment [COM(2005)718 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission of 11 February 2004 "Towards a thematic strategy on the urban environment" [COM(2004) 60 - Official Journal C 98 of 23.04.2004]

Last updated: 26.06.2007