The EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum (SAF) is a place for exchanging experiences and mutual learning among cities on policies tackling poverty, inequalities and social exclusion.

Our mutual learning programme is designed to build the capacity, motivate and inspire city policymakers to improve their social inclusion policies by learning from and providing feedback to each other’s practices.

City policymakers learn from each other by sharing knowledge, comparing different approaches, testing innovative solutions and identifying best practices. Alongside the capacity building advantages for cities, these activities also provide an informed and inclusive basis for developing EUROCITIES policy inputs to the EU policymaking.


Our methodologies are carefully designed to encourage cities’ participation and involvement, as well as to produce an impact. Our mutual learning programme features two main methodologies leading to the implementation of innovative policies and policy change:  policy transfer and critical friend review. They are the basis to facilitate the identification of solutions to complex challenges and the transfer of successful policies:

  1. Policy transfer: builds the capacity of the city experts to learn, transfer and replicate elements from inspiring practices. The methodology involves the identification of a good practice and the understanding of its context, success factors and innovative elements via site visits and supporting documentation and presentations. Then, group discussions and workshops with cities, civil society, academia and other stakeholders are held, after which the replicating cities develop a draft action plan adapted to their context.
  2. Critical Friend Review: guides cities’ experts to mentor a selected city that needs to respond to a social challenge either by developing or by improving a practice. The method includes first the selection of a city facing a social inclusion challenge, and then the gathering of other cities’ experts and stakeholders to visit the city, understand its context via group discussions and workshops, and give a critical feedback to the host city. The host city then prepares an implementation plan taking on board the feasible elements highlighted by the critical friends.

EUROCITIES SAF working groups cover the cross-cutting topics of our mutual learning activities