Launching event of the Green City Accord
This event saw the launch of the Green City Accord, a new European Commission initiative to improve air and water quality, conserve and enhance nature and biodiversity, improve waste management and advance the circular economy, and reduce noise in cities. The Accord will bring together mayors committed to taking ambitious action in these five areas.
In their opening speeches, Juan Espadas (Mayor of Seville and Chair of the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy) and Joanna Drake (Deputy-Director General, DG Environment, European Commission) emphasised the essential role of cities in achieving Europe's environmental goals.
Claudia Fusco (DG Environment, European Commission) explained the Accord's vision, the goals to be achieved by 2030, the reporting obligations entailed and the benefits of joining the movement.
Dario Nardella (Mayor of Florence), Filipe Araujo (Deputy Mayor of Porto), Audrey Linkenheld (Vice-President of Lille Métropole and Deputy Mayor of Lille) and Martin Horn (Mayor of Freiburg) welcomed the Green City Accord, underscored their strong support for the initiative and presented inspiring environmental actions from their cities.
Take away message
The Green City Accord recognises cities as key partners in the transition to a more sustainable Europe. Mayors across the EU are invited to join this new initiative and commit to taking ambitious action to make their cities cleaner and healthier by 2030. Signatory cities will gain access to capacity-building and networking opportunities, expert advice via a dedicated helpdesk, and international visibility for their environmental efforts.
"The specific environmental policies included in the Green City Accord need strong local expertise and increased citizen awareness, but also firm political commitments. The Committee of the Regions is ready to support the European Commission in strengthening such political commitments from the EU's local and regional authorities." Mayor Juan Espadas
"Local governments are essential partners in achieving sustainable urban development and key players in addressing pollution, in managing waste sustainably and in supporting the transition to a circular economy." – Joanna Drake
"EU legislation sets a high standard for protecting the environment and rightly so. As city leaders we can do a lot locally to pursue ambitious green policies. The EU cannot achieve its ambitious goals without mayors and cities." – Mayor Dario Nardella
"The Accord (...) provides the opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other (…). I strongly welcome this new, important initiative. I hope that many cities will join and make the Green City Accord a driving force for greener cities – and thus for a greener Europe at large." – Mayor Martin Horn