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European “Cities” Mission: The 9 French Laureate Territories Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality

On January 30, 2023, the national entity “Groupe Miroir national Ville – Horizon Europe” organized a working day with the nine French winning local authorities of the European Mission “100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 – by and for Citizens”, in coordination with NetZeroCities, the European consortium which leads the support platform for the European Commission’s Cities Mission. 


Aligning National and European Frameworks 

In coordination with the teams of the European platform NetZeroCities dedicated to supporting the laureates of the Cities Mission, a meeting was organized by the national “Mirror Group” at the Arche de la Défense with the 9 selected cities. The group is co-led by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, in close cooperation with the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion and the National Urban Information Point. Within this framework, Sustainable City by France and France Urbaine coordinate the work of the “Territory Support” group. 

This meeting specifically served as a reminder of the importance of the Cities Mission’s work in guiding all European local authorities towards carbon neutrality by 2050. The 100 winning cities aim to achieve this goal 20 years earlier, placing significant emphasis on research and innovation. 

Other national partners associated with the mirror group (Ademe, ANCT, Cerema, Puca-Popsu, etc.) were able to present the programs in which the 9 laureates were already involved in their carbon neutrality efforts (CRTE and Territoires engagés Transition écologique), in order to exchange ideas on how to build better coherence and alignment with existing European frameworks. It was notably proposed that Ademe’s programme “Territoire engagé Transition écologique” (TETE) could serve as guidance for building projects based on the “Climate-Air-Energy” and “Circular Economy” labels. Additionally, it was necessary to incorporate this into the territorial project and the objectives and investments outlined in the Contract for Recovery and Ecological Transition (CRTE). Work dedicated to harmonizing indicators and proposing a common core for all frameworks is planned for the first quarter of 2023. 


Identifying Collective Reflections 

Representatives from the laureate cities and inter-municipalities provided an update on the preparation of their Climate City Contract (CCC), a document that is intended to be flexible and detail the deployment and monitoring strategy of innovative solutions. It should include the commitments of the local authority regarding its territorial project to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, along with an action and investment plan. 

One of the major challenges for the winners is to ensure that the climate city contract is not an additional process, but a complementary one that will enrich local climate plans and territorial climate-air-energy plans (PCAET). 

While most laureates are in the process of revising them, the aim is to move faster and further in the dynamics already initiated in the territories and those yet to be built, while ensuring good coordination with the CRTE. 

In line with these approaches regarding the alignment between European and French frameworks, a sequence of workshops, facilitated in the morning by NetZeroCities, including the dedicated advisors to the winning cities (the City advisors), also helped identify the difficulties and obstacles experienced by local authorities regarding their Climate City Contract (governance challenges at multiple levels: City/Metropolis/Region/State/EU; questions about the level of requirement demanded by the European Commission for the first version of the climate city contract; monitoring and evaluation, including indicators and financing). The workshops also aimed to identify the levers and, ultimately, the collective work that could be carried out. 

Author credits : Delphine Bourdin and Maëva Fleytoux (France Urbaine).


📧 For more information, feel free to reach out to the coordinating team:  marion.gonzales@francevilledurable.fr

About Solène

Mission Officer, Working Group, and Projects. Student at the Urban School of Sciences Po Paris, focusing on the ecological transition of cities.

About Quentin

Motivated by climate issues and planetary boundaries, Quentin decided to study land use planning at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. His experience in associative field at the Fresque du Climat, helped him to better understand the stakes of the ecological bifurcation. Between his native Haute-Savoie and his home town Rennes, where he gained expertise in mobility and sustainable agriculture, he is now based in Paris to deploy the Sustainable City by France’s territorial workshops throughout the country.

About Alice

After five years’ study at Sciences Po Lyon, with a specialization in territorial transitions, Alice joined Sustainable City by France (France Villes et territoires Durables). She actively contributes to the deployment of the association’s territorial workshops and working groups.
See her LinkedIn profile 

Currently studying as a second-year Master’s student in International Relations at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Tara holds a Bachelor’s degree from INALCO, with a double-major in Hindi language, and International relations / Environmental studies. Her work with us is in line with her former experiences at UNESCO and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, thus deepening her professional expertise in the field of environmental diplomacy and international cooperation for sustainable development.

See her LinkedIn profile


She holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Action Abroad at the same university. She approaches the problems of sustainable cities and territories through these different perspectives and her international experiences.

About Isabelana

Isabelana is a Mexican journalist who holds a Master’s degree in Digital Communication and Data Analysis from the Sorbonne University. She previously worked in communication and press relations in the cultural sector in France and Mexico. Today, she is interested in ecological actions and solutions to preserve the environment and the biodiversity.

About Camille

camille photo
With a background in social sciences, art history and architecture, Camille has worked in communication within the VINCI group: from major international projects to La Fabrique de la Cité, a think tank dedicated to urban foresight.

About Alexandra

A geographer by training (Saint Petersburg State University), she started as a geographer and economist at the Academy of Agricultural Economics (Russia), before pursuing her career in France as an administrative and accounting assistant (Air Liquide, Association TGV Provence Côte d’Azur, COFHUAT, Groupe Hervé)

About Marion

Trained in international and European affairs between England and France as part of a double degree at Sciences-Po Lille / University of Kent, Marion started her career in advocacy and institutional relations of non-governmental organisations, in the fair trade sector (Max Havelaar France label). Her experiences are also linked to territories, with a passage in decentralised cooperation at the level of a departmental council.

About Sébastien

Before joining the SCbF team, he held several positions in local government management. From elected official and deputy mayor of his native city Besançon, in charge of university relations and international cooperation, to Director of Economic Development of the City of Pantin, to Chief of staff in Montreuil – where he notably piloted the in-depth redesign of the urban project towards more ecology and sustainable development – he continued his career as Senior Resilience Officer of the City of Paris.
He promotes a holistic and systemic vision of sustainable development and brings his expertise in territorial resilience, ecological and social transition.