Joint organiser: Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action

As one of several EUKN activities to support the 2021 Portuguese EU Council Presidency, this Policy Lab focused on the need to generate new urban policies supporting the transition towards sustainability, along with related challenges. Using the Portuguese National Circular Cities Initiative (InC2) as an example of a circular economy strategy, the event explored how similar initiatives could propel coherent, integrated urban policies.  

Following a keynote speech and discussion on urban policies required for European cities to flourish, two interactive Working Groups mapped paths and barriers to generating forward-looking urban agendas.

Expert contributions

Prof. Dr. Ing. Geert R Teisman

Full Professor Public Administration, Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Mr Teisman outlined existing policy cycles’ siloed fragmentation, and its need to focus on outcome and impacts. Multi-level value chains across government and policy must be created, to underpin joint actions for long-term transitions. Promoting multi-level governance, rewarding joint actions, and solving contemporary issues with a future focus are key.

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João Mourato

PhD, Research Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

Mr Mourato and Mr Teisman reflected that reaching truly integrated policy-making is a challenging, ongoing process. Ambitious strategy and objectives are there, but there must be more focus on capacitating the human resources behind them. Traditional organisations must be supported to focus on practical, place-based implementation over policy-making input.


Elisa Vilares

Head of Division of Territorial Development and Urban Policy, Directorate General for Territory, Ministry of Environment and Climate Action, Portugal

Ms Vilares presented the Portuguese InC2 as an initiative empowering municipalities and communities to transition to a circular economy. InC2 aims to create multi-level synergies in policy and ensure effective local uptake, addressing one of the primary challenges experienced in Portugal’s national urban agenda.

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