The Mayors for Economic Growth Facility launches a “Foundations for Future Readiness” course

Istanbul, 26 July 2023 – The Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility, a joint initiative of the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), announced the launch of the Foundations for Future Readiness course under the Urban Learning Center (ULC) together with its innovative partners Arup, Climate KIC, and TalTech. The course aims to boost Eastern Partnership (EaP) municipalities’ future readiness  to shape thriving places, with participants  gaining a broad understanding of a range of topics across a series of modules –  from the EU’s Green Deal, Smart and Inclusive Cities, to approaches in managing complex problems and mobilising more municipal resources, funding, and public-private financing.

“This online course will empower local authorities with the skills and knowledge to shape vibrant, inclusive, and resilient cities. It will also help them tap into the opportunities of our Economic and Investment Plan,” said Thibault Charlet, Programme Manager, Digital and Local Economic Development, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), European Commission. “The course is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to support local authorities in the Eastern Partnership region.”

“The purpose of the course is to offer in a condensed and accelerated way knowledge and tools which enable driving innovation, and forging smart, inclusive and future-ready cities,” commented Lejla Sadiku, Knowledge and Innovation Team Leader at the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub.

“The Course embodies our commitment to going beyond ‘business as usual’ and fostering an ‘urban makeover’ mindset,” said Tim Hawley, Associate Director, Arup. “By integrating foresight, adaptive management, and a focus on local solutions aligned, we can create a momentum for transformative change at the local level.”

The self-paced online course is available on the ULC SparkBlue Platform (after log-in) and provides video summaries and bite-sized content such as interactive quizzes and activities to help users apply new learnings to their own context. It will be complemented with in-country-specific events and workshops.

The Urban Learning Center is designed as a Learning Ecosystem that interconnects community members at the national and regional levels, organized around the practitioner member as both a learner and contributor. Access to ULC is free and available through the SparkBlue online community engagement platform (sign-up is required for new participants). The ULC was developed as part of the Mayors for Economic Growth Facility funded by the European Union. 


The M4EG Facility draws on the Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative, launched and funded by the European Union (EU) in 2017. Since 2021, the EU-funded M4EG Facility has been managed by UNDP in close cooperation with the EU, local authorities and a range of partners.

Media enquiries

For the European Commission/DG NEAR:

Mr. Thibault Charlet, Programme Manager, Digital and Local Economic Development, DG NEAR Unit C1,


Mrs. Laurence Lessire, Regional Communications Specialist,

Ms. Svetla Baeva, Communications Lead, Innovation Team Istanbul Regional Hub,

Mr. Anton Sydorenko, M4EG Facility Communications Lead,