The Mayors for Economic Growth Facility launches “Smarter and Inclusive Cities” course

Istanbul, 6 June 2024 – Today, the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility, a joint initiative of the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), announced the soft launch of the “Smarter and Inclusive Cities course as part of the Urban Learning Center (ULC) and marking the World Cities Summit 2024 in Singapore. This course introduces several key topics to help municipalities embrace a smarter and more inclusive urban future. It is designed to enable municipalities to deep-dive into tools and approaches through successful examples and equip them with a broad understanding of how cities can become smarter and more inclusive.  

“Smart and inclusive development depends on a people-centered, collaboration-driven, and community-led approach,” said Thibault Charlet, Programme Manager for Digital and Local Economic Development at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission. “Municipalities should learn how to recognise the needs of diverse communities while unlocking the potential of digital technologies. This course will help cities build a smarter and more inclusive future. It will also help them attract more public-private investment under the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership region”. 

“Citizens are looking forward to their cities becoming ‘smarter’ not just smart, meaning focusing on technologies only is not enough, but rather increasing the quality of life and ensuring prosperity for all enabled by the technology,” commented Elina Jarvella, M4EG Regional Project manager a.i., UNDP. “Putting people at the centre of smarter cities by empowering them to take on different social roles helps ensure inclusiveness and community engagement are part of the transformation process.”

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

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. The ULC offers free access via the SparkBlue online community engagement platform, although registration is necessary for new participants. The ULC was developed as part of the Mayors for Economic Growth Facility funded by the European Union. 

The biennial World Cities Summit is a platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships. 


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 for 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,