As experience shows, the twinning of cities has given rise to different urban networks worldwide. The origins of this project lie in the twinning agreement between Niort (France) and Gijón (Spain), cities which continue to co-operate through two city networks: AIRE 198 and the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities (CAAC), together with Cardiff (GB) and the Vale do Tejo association (PT).
City networks, especially those created by twinning links, are a natural re-grouping for the exchange of experiences and mutual learning. They are responsible for the dissemination of good practices and actions, not only their own but also those of their members. City networks have the necessary skills and resources to advise and support cities’ initiatives. Hence the impact and importance of city networks is crucial to make the most of twinning.
TONETA, with the support of the European Union “Europe for Citizens” programme, aims to reinforce and improve the networking of cities by improving, promoting and fomenting the different networks which work in the Atlantic area.
TONETA (Town Networking through the Atlantic) project intends to foster the synergies created by twinning and joint membership of networks of the cities located in the Atlantic Arc. Networking is the fundamental core of the action strategy, as all initiatives depend on a solid implementation of the joint action and exchange During the more than years of cooperation inside CAAC, Atlantic Cities have identified some key assets of transnational networking such as:
- Exchanging experiences in key topics of sustainable urban development, by collecting good practices that provide affordable and useful solutions.
- Benchmarking of the territories and their initiatives as a starting point for making the most of synergies. To make territorial cohesion real, it needs to start from specific reference points that enable suitable resources to be mobilised.
- Formal and non-formal learning as a tool for exchange. Networking as soft diplomacy helps the exchanges on the basis of interculturality, solidarity, synergies, the Atlantic, European and global perspectives…
- Pooling resources in an efficient and profitable way. Crystallising the pooling of resources is done clearly and efficiently through the CAAC, as all the agents involved contribute in the search for common goals. Community involvement based on subsidiarity, coherence and proportionality. Cities and their networks should aim to be a sound box to measure people’s needs in the Atlantic Area, but also a communication tool for people’s initiatives.