International Action is involved in the global agendas for a more sustainable world. Within its scope of activities, it takes part in the international networks of cities along with the Brussels Region’s exchanges and international projects.



    Global agendas

    Global agendas in relation to urban development’ action is enshrined in the global agendas that provide cities with the guidance to be followed in terms of urban development:

    • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and more specifically, Goal 11 ‘Sustainable cities and communities’;
    • The New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted at the Habitat III United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (2016) which sets out standards for more sustainable cities in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number 11;
    • The Paris Agreement on Climate, COP 21, approved in 2015, which establishes a framework to keep global warming below 2°C, with an implication for urban planning given the important role of cities (and particularly urban spread) in CO2 emissions.
    • The European Green Deal to achieve the EU's climate objectives. This contains an important urban dimension.



    International collaboration on statistics, through the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (BISA), works with its federal and regional partners on the statistical definition of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

    The BISA also follows the work of the UN Statistical Commission, which brings together the directors of the statistical institutes of the Member States and thereby keeps abreast of international statistical standards and recommendations.

    Participation in the Brussels Region’s bilateral cooperation

    The Brussels-Capital Region has around thirty bilateral cooperation agreements with cities and regions across the world. These are managed by Brussels actively contributes to these agreements on the subjects of territorial development, urban planning and statistics.

    Cooperation with Chile on school infrastructure is also involved, through its School Service, in a cooperation with the University of Bío-Bío (UBB) in Chile and the Chilean Ministry for Education in developing a new standards framework for the school infrastructure in Chile. This partnership includes various working and discussion sessions such as the international school lab, dedicated to the school of the future rooted in society.

    Current projects

    Current projects

    Setting up a regional observatory of territorial dynamics in the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region (Morocco) and the Brussels Regional Informatics Centre (BRIC) are supporting the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Region (Morocco) to set up a new regional observatory of territorial dynamics. This cooperation with the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Region is reflected through the organisation of workshops and training courses, providing technical assistance and sharing experiences.

    The UN-Habitat Global Urban Observatory Network is part of the Global Urban Observatory Network set up by UN-Habitat. This network promotes the "Urban Observatory" model as an innovative tool for collecting, analysing and monitoring urban data.

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    The Metropolis network's project on "the assessment of living conditions to improve urban planning" is involved in a project to improve living conditions in partnership with the cities of Montréal and Barcelona. This project was selected under the 2021-2023 call for pilot projects by the Metropolis network.

    The dual objective is to:

    • set up a common standard to measure well-being and the quality of living conditions;
    • improve the impact of plans and land-use policy in the districts.

    Past projects

    Past projets

    Working group "Rethinking public space for a sustainable metropolitan future" of the Metropolis Network participated in 2021 and 2022 in a working group on quality public spaces of the Metropolis network with and the cities of Barcelona, Montreal and Seoul. The health and economic crisis has shown that there is more need for quality public space. The project focuses on how integrated and transversal policies can lead to more qualitative, inclusive and resilient public spaces.

    The project partners published the comparative study "Rethinking public space for a sustainable metropolitan future".

    Metropolis network's « Sustainable Cities Collaboratory » project took part in the Sustainable Cities Collaboratory pilot project. Launched as part of the Metropolis network and coordinated by Berlin, this project brought together 12 metropolis from five continents, including Brussels.

    The objective was to test a methodology developed by the University of Western Sydney to improve the integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in urban policies.

    Result for this project is the document "Principles for Better Cities'"

    Exchanges and networks

    Exchanges with other cities and regions contributes to exchanges with other cities and regions worldwide through workshops or field visits, in Brussels or abroad such as in Guangzhou, Guangdong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Taipei.

    It is also active at international conferences such as the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Urban Future Global Conference, the Forum sur l’urbanisme scolaire de Montréal, the Child in the City Conferences and even the OECD Conference on National Urban Policy.

    International networks is a member of several international urban development networks.

    ISOCARP : professional association in terms of urban development. organised two ISOCARP workshops in Brussels (in 2015 and 2017) and attends the annual world congresses where it presents Brussels' urban projects and discusses planning issues with international experts. In 2016, the Brussels-Capital Region received the ISOCARP Award for Excellence in urban planning for the Region’s canal plan. In october 2022, Brussels will host the annual ISOCARP Congress.

    Metropolis : this network enables major cities and metropolitan areas to connect and share experiences so as to provide a better response to local and global challenges and act as a lever to promote urban and metropolitan issues at a global level. Within this framework, is involved in several pilot projets and activities.

    Plateforme francophone des Agglomérations: takes part in the Platform’s annual symposium. It brings together researchers and urban planners from the French-speaking world for a better understanding of the issues and developments associated with urban areas.

    IABR : in 2016 and 2018, was involved in the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), a platform that aims to generate real change in the world and society through architecture and design. In 2016, co-produced the ‘The productive City BXL’ workshop and the ‘A good city has industry’ exhibition; and in 2018, ‘The missing link: Brussels’ programme and exhibitions.