Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility launches Urban Learning Center for municipalities in Eastern Partnership countries

Brussels, Istanbul, 7 December 2022The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched today a new ecosystem of learning opportunities to reimagine urban and local spaces for transformative change and future-readiness under the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility. The Urban Learning Center (ULC) is designed as an umbrella for various programme and learning opportunities, knowledge management and stakeholder engagement of the M4EG network, and will be supported by an online platform. The ULC aims to introduce approaches beyond “business as usual” to support municipalities with an “urban makeover” vision, i.e., helping Mayors and their teams re-invent their cities with a focus on key priority areas such as green and digital transitions, and on approaches such as foresight, social and community listening, sensemaking, adaptive and agile management. The ULC will also foster local solutions linked to the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnershipregion and the realizations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda.

“The network of 350 M4EG cities keeps growing, and so do the needs of municipalities. In such unprecedented times, Mayors and their teams seek new ways to stimulate economic growth and unlock the potential of the green and digital transitions,” said Nicholas Cendrowicz, Deputy Head of Unit C.1. Georgia, Moldova, Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership countries, DG NEAR. “Coupled with up-to-date learning insights, the Urban Learning Center will allow cities and towns to attract more investment, people and opportunities.”

“UNDP, together with the EU, strives to ensure that local authorities that are members of the M4EG Facility receive new learning and networking opportunities. The challenges faced by municipalities are highly complex. Hence, they need to develop a portfolio of skills and solutions focusing on innovations toward building smart and inclusive cities,” said Gerd Trogemann, Manager of the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub.

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. You can access here the ULC concept note to discover more about the center.


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,