(Source: European Committee of Regions)
During the signing ceremony, the CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas called on all EU mayors to step up environmental ambition and join the EU-wide initiative
One year after the launch of the Green City Accord, the European Commission organised a ceremony to celebrate new signatories joining this flagship initiative, which reunites cities committing to ambitious environmental protection goals by 2030. The high-level signatory ceremony took place on 22 September 2021.
During his speech, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Greek region of Central Macedonia said that “The green energy transition and preservation of our precious environment will happen in our cities, regions and villages, or it will not happen at all. The Green City Accord demonstrates the level of local ambition, local commitment and local leadership found across Europe, determined to protect our planet and leave a sustainable future for our people.”
The Green City Accord focuses on five areas: improving air and water quality, enhancing biodiversity protection, tackling noise pollution, and moving towards a more sustainable, circular economy. The Green City Accord is open to any city of 20,000 inhabitants and above located in the European Union. A total of 73 cities have already joined the Green City Accord. They are listed in this online map.
Welcoming new signatories, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Today, it’s all about you. Europe needs cities and mayors who are determined to involve local stakeholders, innovators, entrepreneurs and young people to build a better, greener future. Today’s event is a milestone reflecting the spirit of our partnership. It shows that we can go forward together, building a greener environment where quality of life matters.”
As part of the Green Deal Going Local initiative, the European Committee of the Regions is closely cooperating with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment to promote the Green City Accord as to increase the number of signatory cities.
In joining the Green City Accord, mayors agree to take action to achieve the following five goals by 2030.
1. Significant improvement in air quality in cities, moving closer to respecting the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines, while ending exceedances of EU air quality standards as soon as possible.
2. Important progress in improving the quality of water bodies and the efficiency of water use.
3. Considerable progress in conserving and enhancing urban biodiversity, including through an increase in the extent and quality of green areas in cities, and by halting the loss of and restoring urban ecosystems.
4. Advance towards the circular economy by securing a significant improvement in the management of household municipal waste, an important reduction in waste generation and landfilling, and a substantial increase in re-use, repair and recycling.
5. Significant reduction in noise pollution, moving closer to the levels recommended by the World Health Organization.
The benefits of joining the Green City Accord are:
· Gain Europe-wide visibility in recognition of environmental actions and achievements.
· Contribute to shaping EU environmental policy.
· Become part of a community of like-minded cities driving the transition towards a clean and healthy Europe.
· Increase their transparency, accountability, and credibility within the local community.
· Gain access to information concerning EU funding opportunities.
· Participate in networking events and benefit from capacity-building opportunities.
· Receive tailored guidance and support via a dedicated helpdesk.
An online tool for monitoring and reporting progress is available for signatory cities.