The purpose of the thematic networks is to promote the exchange of ideas and good practices, working together and collaboration amongst the IAEC cities around specific issues. These issues may be put forward by the Executive Committee or by a minimum of five cities from three different countries. Each thematic network is co-ordinated by one city and aided in this task by a minimum of two other cities.

Those member cities that propose to create a thematic network must submit a formal application to the Executive Committee indicating the objectives, working methodology and Action Plan with which they propose to carry this out, accompanied by a schedule for doing so.