North-West Ireland City Region selected for the Intelligent Cities Challenge

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‘Innovative solutions that will place the city region at the forefront of the green and digital twin transition through Local Green Deals’

The North-West Ireland City Region has been selected for the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) 2023-25 edition, a support programme spearheaded by the European Commission.

A spokesperson for ICC said the city region, which consists of Derry / Strabane and Donegal, will now start its “two-year journey to create an impactful strategy and develop innovative solutions that will place the city region at the forefront of the green and digital twin transition through Local Green Deals”.

“The ICC programme will help cities to harness the power of cutting-edge technologies, while improving their economic competitiveness, social resilience, and the European citizens’ quality of life.

“They will receive high quality, tailored guidance, expert support, access to advisory and city peer networks, and capacity building tools, to drive their city closer towards the twin transition.”

Derry City and Strabane District councillor Conor Heaney (Sinn Fein) and vice chair of ERNACT (European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology) said: “I welcome this opportunity for the City Region to continue on the Intelligent Cities Challenge journey, to access expert guidance for green-digital transition and to learn from other EU cities.

“These supports will help us to face increasing constraints on resources and progress our desire to provide attractive, enjoyable places to live, work and visit, in an inclusive, sustainable way.”

Commenting on the announcement, Donegal County Council Cllr Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fáil), chair of ERNACT, said: “We look forward to being part of the ICC and boosting our progress towards a sustainable and low carbon region guided by our Local Green Deal, the North West Regional Energy Strategy of Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council.”

The previous ICC edition (2020-2022) saw €1.9 billion earmarked for ICC cities’ actions and €247 million in public funding from EU, national and regional sources was leveraged which helped facilitate 336 actions planned by the 136 Core cities.

This new edition will build on the success of the previous ICC programme (2020-22) and Digital Cities Challenge (2018-20) and provide an extensive high-profile network, solid methodology framework and strong support mechanisms.  

Dana Eleftheriadou, Head Cities and Proximity Team, DG GROW at the European Commission, said: “Cities are the beating heart of Europe’s economy.

“The new phase of the Intelligent Cities Challenge offers cities with the prime opportunity to put themselves on the map as a European Intelligent City and to turn their sustainability and technological ambitions into action, especially by launching their own Local Green Deals across city departments and with the local businesses.

“These will put your cities firmly on the path towards making the European Green Deal and the Green Deal Industrial Plan a reality, while scaling-up Europe’s net-zero industry.”  

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