QeC-ERAN (Quartiers en crise – European Regeneration Areas Network) and URBACT II

What is QeC-ERAN?
QeC-ERAN is a network of EU cities/towns/district councils as well as strategic NGO’s, all of whom are connected by being involved in national, regional and EU policies and programmes concerned with area based regeneration.
What is URBACT?
URBACT II has the following overall objectives:
- To facilitate the exchange of experience and learning among city policy makers and practitioners in the field of sustainable urban development among local and regional authorities;
- To disseminate widely the experiences and examples of good practice collected by the cities, and especially the lessons drawn from these projects and policies, and to ensure the transfer of know-how in the area of sustainable urban development;
- To assist policy-makers and practitioners in the cities and managers of operational programmes under the Convergence and Competitiveness Objectives to define action plans in sustainable development of urban areas, which may be selected for Structural Funds programmes.
The URBACT II programme has two overarching priorities:
- Priority Axe 1 – Cities, Engines of Growth and Jobs. The main sub themes to be addressed include:
o   Promoting Entrepreneurship;
o   Improving Innovation and Knowledge Economy;
o   Employment and Human Capital (employability, qualification, access to labor market, education and training systems, job creation especially for disadvantaged groups and areas).
- Priority Axe 2 – Attractive and Cohesive Cities. The main sub themes include:
o   Integrated development of deprived areas and areas at risk of deprivation – brownfield sites, inner cities, peripheral deprived areas;
o   Social integration: housing, managing immigration, young people, health, security, ICT, culture;
o   Environmental Issues: waste, improving monitoring of the environment, improving air quality; water quality and supply; renewable energies, integrated transport policies, moving to a recycling society;
o   Governance and Urban Planning: urban planning, multi-level government, citizen’s participation, territorial governance (horizontal and vertical).
Under the Urbact II programme, Thematic Networks have the following key elements:
- A partnership of 10-12 Cities, Regions or Universities;
- A maximum budget of €670,000;
- Co-financing via ERDF of 70% for cities in Competitive regions and 80% for those in Convergence regions;
- Three year duration consisting of:
o   6 month preparation
o   18 months exchange
o   12 months capitalization and dissemination;
- Each partner city will have to establish a Local Support Group which would bring together a cross section of key stakeholders who would:
o   Participate in the transnational exchange programme
o   Undertake local consultation and dissemination
o   Participate in linked “capacity building” programme.
Under the URBACT II programme, the following issues are offered:
- URB governance
- European local regeneration forums exchange
- Managing change impact of demographic ageing for cities
- Creative cities – creative innovation and cultural clusters
- European Roma exchange
- Innovative methodologies and tools for integrated urban development
- The social economy and third sector in local regeneration
- Women, enterprise and employment and local development.
Next Steps
Each of the eight proposals above (for more information about proposals see www.qec-eran.org) has an expression of interest from a number of cities. However, more partners that wish to engage in one or more themes outlined above are required. Please remember that under the URBACT II rules no city/town/region can be in more than two URBACT Proposals at the same time.
Partners from Republic of Croatia can participate in URBACT II using IPA pre-accession fund, as EU candidate countries are not eligible to receive ERDF resources.
The timescale for URBACT II will mean that initial expression of interest will have to be submitted by 15 February 2008. For the submission of the initial expression of interest a partnership of 5 is required. We would aim to finalize the initial five partners before end December 2007.
If you are interested in becoming a partner or simply want more information, send an email to h.saad@gec.skynet.be.