The Kick-off Meeting Between Sofia and Korea as Held Under the IURC Program

5 October, 2021

The kick-off meeting of the cities from Korea and Europe, approved to participate in the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) Program, was held on September 30th. The program is funded by the European Commission.

During the meeting, the team of the “Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development” department of Sofia Municipality (Innovative Sofia) presented the digital, innovative, economic and green development of Sofia and Bulgaria, Sofia’s expectations of the project, as well as some of the already implemented policies and projects supporting Sofia’s “smart” transformation.

The IURC program focuses on areas that are of key interest for the development of Sofia and are directly related to digitalization,environmental transition and the Green Deal. The program will focus on topics such as circular economy and waste management, urban and regional modernization, sustainable mobility and transport and innovative, sustainable carbon-neutral ecosystems in strategic sectors. A special emphasis will be put on education, jobs and skills development and facilitation of the development of clusters and innovation centres.

During the programme, Sofia will be paired and will be partnering with the city of Sejong. Representatives from the two cities will participate in regular monthly meetings and special webinars to exchange good practices, policies, experience and discuss opportunities for cooperation. The other EU-Korea city pairs under the IURC program are Dublin – Seoul and Rotterdam – Busan. The presentations that each participating city shared during their first meeting can be found here.

The implementation of the IURC program in Korea is supported by CityNet, Seoul’s leading association of urban stakeholders committed to sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. CityNet acts as the help desk for the six cities and will organize some of the IURC thematic events. The first of them was the webinar „Addressing Climate Change Issues in Cities: Nature-Based Solutions and Green Infrastructure“,which took place on October 5, 2021.

Several more webinars are due to take place during the program, covering topics such as inclusive recovery and the effects of COVID-19, as well as energy transition in cities and more.

A list of all the 86 European cities participating in the international and regional cooperation program can be found here.

Sofia has been identified as one of the best applications under the 2021 IURC program, and has received the opportunity to partner with two cities – one from Korea, and one from China. The EU-China meetings will take place later in October.