The Commission has launched its search for the 2017 European Green Capital. The award is given to a European city that has demonstrated a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards and is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for future sustainable development. Cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants can apply for the title.
European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik said: “I am delighted to launch the 8th edition of this Europe-wide competition. Europe is home to some of the world’s greatest cities, and this award is a golden opportunity to showcase their environmental success stories. Nearly 500 cities are eligible, and I hope as many as possible apply for this chance to open their doors to the world.”
Entries will be assessed on the basis of 12 indicators: climate change, mitigation and adaptation; local transport; green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use; nature and biodiversity; ambient air quality; quality of the acoustic environment; waste production and management; water management; wastewater treatment; eco-innovation and sustainable employment; energy performance; integrated environmental management.
The competition is open to EU Member States and Candidate Countries (FYROM, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey); Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Cities can apply online at www.europeangreencapital.eu. The deadline for applications is 20 October 2014. The competitions are adjudicated by a European jury supported by a panel of renowned experts in different environmental fields. The winners will be announced in June 2015.
The European Green Capital Award is the outcome of an initiative taken by cities with a green vision. The concept was originally conceived at a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, held on 15 May 2006, at the initiative of Mr Jüri Ratas, former Mayor of Tallinn, where 15 European cities and the Association of Estonian cities signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of such an award.
Six cities – Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen and Bristol – have won the award so far, from 2010 to 2015 respectively. The 2016 European Green Capital will be announced at the annual award ceremony in Copenhagen on 24 June 2014.
More than two thirds of Europeans now live in towns and cities. Many environmental challenges facing our society originate from urban areas but it is also these urban areas that bring together the commitment and innovation needed to resolve them.