M4EG Virtual Forum

The 2021 Urban Transformation Virtual Forum, hosted by the M4EG, will focus on system transformation and working in complexity.
The Forum will showcase emergent practice on urban transformation in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. The audience is civic and private actors, members of the M4EG network, and cities, municipalities beyond, and EU and UNDP country delegations/offices.


Cities and municipalities are at the forefront of addressing systemic risks, like climate events and continue to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has most recently surfaced their vulnerability, the need for heightened resilience and is likely to have a long-term impact on structural aspects, spatial distribution and organization of our urban spaces. Cities are also at the forefront of addressing complex issues like inequality and taking on board new technologies.Cities in the Eastern Partnership countries still exhibit physical, social and cultural remnants from the socialist or even pre-socialist past of urban development. Many suffer from a confluence of socio-economic factors. One aspect is outmigration, and negative natural population balances have resulted in a marked population decline, affecting in particular economically lagging secondary and small cities. Cities and towns in the region are systemically under-resourced, require deep retrofits, are exposed to some of the highest pollution rates, and suffer from low capacity in public administration and imbalanced development.  

The question on how to achieve urban transformation and modernisation necessitates new ways at looking at our future(s) along with new approaches, lenses and narratives to better and quicker adapt. The pandemic, climate change, and inequality, are dynamic challenges that continuously change and evolve. Addressing them separately and with pre-existing solutions, which may have worked in a different context, is insufficient. These new approaches require embracing uncertainty and discovery, building partnerships based on trust, honesty and openness, learning and iterating together.


9 – 11:00 CET, 19 November, 2021

Platform: live web stream through Notified

09:00 – 09:10

Welcome & opening speeches by the hosts – EU & UNDP
Diana Jabłońska, Head of Unit C1 Georgia, Moldova, Economic Investment Plans, DG NEAR

Gerd Trogemann, Manager, Istanbul Regional Hub, RBEC

09:10 – 09:20
VIDEO – M4EG network facts

09:20 – 09:30
Live survey among members and participants

09:30 – 09:45
System Transformation – interviews with experts

09:45 – 10:45

Dialogue between various actors around how to move from visions and missions to actions:

Moderator: Andrea Cuzyova, UNDP Moldova

Oleksandr Kobzarev, Institute of City, Lviv, Ukraine

Gorka Espiau, Agirre Lehendakaria Center, Bilbao, Spain

Eva Kail, Vienna City Hall, Austria

Michele d’Alena, Bologna Civic Imagination Office, Italy

Mariela Atanassova, Chora Foundation

10:45 Closing