*This piece was initially included in the Solutions Guide for Cities, as Bable's contribution*
Overall, 30% of the EU’s budget will be spent on climate change and the priorities of the European Green Deal. This includes billions for supporting the green transition, building new infrastructure, and conducting innovative research.
Along with other existing funding vehicles, there is considerable opportunity for cities to fund their sustainable ambitions through public financing schemes.
This budget, however, is made available to cities in a variety of ways that are complex to navigate. Many cities do not have the capacity to monitor and assess the relevance of the different funding and financing opportunities as they become available, let alone put together a competitive proposal. The amount of effort required to build a strong consortium and develop a mutually beneficial project concept is another challenge that cities face.
Many cities do not have the capacity to monitor and assess the relevance of [...] financing opportunities
How then can cities ease the process of determining whether a funding opportunity is relevant for them? One way to do this is by carrying out intermittent needs assessments that enable the identification of problems that need to be solved per time and initiatives that are already in place or in development. Having this information helps build a robust list of specific needs and enables their proper prioritization based on strategic importance.
With these needs identified, cities should then create a strategy for which funds to apply for and ensure they have the knowledge and capacity to handle the public funds in practice. The most meaningful funding programmes should be targeted, using tools such as BABLE Funding Check, and project teams created with the ability to administer the publicly funded projects they aim to implement. The strategy should be regularly reviewed and updated for maximum effect.
Cities should [...] create a strategy for which funds to apply for and ensure they have the knowledge and capacity to handle [them]
Bielefeld has a high level of digital development in the public sector and planned to build on its existing projects. As a model municipality for urban resilience and climate adaptation, Bielefeld has the ambition to implement pilot projects of nationwide interest. BABLE supported Bielefeld in applying for funding through European structural funds to finance their Research and Innovation Campus while also successfully receiving EUR 10 million from Germany's Model Municipality funding scheme.
The funding schemes available are many and diverse, with a wide range in focus and size. The municipality of Guarda was looking for ways to meet its climate goals and were introduced to a grant designed specifically for developing relevant investment concepts related to the implementation of actions identified in the climate and energy action plans of cities. BABLE supported Guarda in securing EUR 60,000 in funding to develop their energy community concept involving building retrofits.