2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index – meeting in Strasbourg on November 24th
Yesterday members and partners of the URBAN intergroup had the possibility to learn more about the Social Progress Index (SPI), at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Michael Green, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, presented the concept of this Index: it doesn’t pretend to replace GDP but rather to complement it in order to show inclusive growth. At the beginning of the meeting, he showed the general framework of the SPI based on three main components: Basic Human Needs (Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Shelter, Personal Safety), Foundations of Wellbeing (Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communications, Health and Wellness, Environmental Quality) and Opportunity (Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Tolerance and Inclusion, Access to Advanced Education). In global Social Progress Index, EU Member States have in general very high social progress compared to other countries.
Then, the presentation focused on the EU Regional Social Progress Index, which is a three-year joint project of the European Commission (DG REGIO), Social Progress Imperative and Orkestra (Basque Institute of Competitiveness). This regional index intends to help regions to prioritise issues they want to address with their cohesion policy programmes and to identify peers (from whom they could learn). Moreover, it can serve as well as a sounding board for the EU executive to assess whether its policies and programmes address the right issues in the right places. Finally, it allows DG REGIO to make a contribution to the beyond GDP debate.
What next after Quito? – meeting in Strasbourg on October 27th
Members of the URBAN Intergroup who attended Habitat III – the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – in Quito mid-October had the possibility to share their experiences during the last meeting of the Intergroup on October 27th in Strasbourg. At the beginning of the exchange of views, Jan Olbrycht underlined that four members of the URBAN Intergroup participated in Habitat III conference: Kerstin Westphal, Ernest Maragall, Bogdan Wenta and himself. He pointed out that during the discussions in Quito, European participants were concentrated on the relations between the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Urban Agenda for the EU. The outcome of the reflection was that the European Urban Agenda is an instrument to implement the New Urban Agenda inside the EU.
Jan Olbrycht announced as well that the European Commission presented in Quito three commitments to meet NUA’s global objectives. Firstly, the EC committed to deliver the NUA through the Urban Agenda for the EU. Secondly, it has been decided to develop global and harmonised definition of cities in partnership with OECD and the World Bank. And finally, the EC presented its will to foster cooperation between cities in the field of sustainable urban development.