This is the message 22 cities and four European city networks laid out in the Call for Action which was presented to the Patrick Child, Deputy Director General of DG Research and Innovation during the Climate Change Conference COP24 in the Polish city of Katowice.
“About three-quarters of the European people already live in urban areas and the number continues to grow. These are serious numbers that underline the importance of healthy cities, but they also show that investment in sustainable cities has a big impact on limiting climate change throughout Europe,” says mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls.
This Dutch city is the EU Green Capital, the sustainable capital of Europe, for 2018. Bruls presented the Call for Action on behalf of cities such as Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona, Hamburg, Essen, Bristol, Ljubljana, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Nantes. These are all cities in the EU Green Capital network because they either won the title or participated in the competition.
With the Call for Action, they are appealing to governments to acknowledge the leading role of cities by utilising the knowledge available within them more effectively and by working together more intensively on the development of sustainable solutions. The cities also want to draw more attention to the involvement of citizens and companies in climate issues, because it is this bottom-up movement that is creating new solutions and fostering understanding for the measures taken.
The cities themselves promise to take additional steps to increase sustainability in their urban areas and to strengthen their collaboration.
Bruls: “In this global era of urbanisation, we cannot handle environmental issues on our own. We need to exchange visions, best practices, and knowledge with other cities in Europe to find solutions. Cities have to create networks to be more effectively involved in the creation and implementation of national and European policy. As Green Capital cities, we already learn a lot from each other in relation to engaging citizens and other stakeholders. This is an absolute must if we want to make our cities more sustainable and bring the CO2 emissions back to the agreed level of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Call for Action
The Call for Action was drafted by all partners in Nijmegen in November this year. The document was signed by Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bristol, Brussels, Essen, Freiburg, Ghent, Hamburg, ’s Hertogenbosch, Copenhagen, Lahti, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Malmö, Nantes, Nijmegen, Nürnberg, Oslo, Reykjavik, Stockholm, Umea, and Vitoria Gasteiz.
The Call for Action is supported by ICLEI (local governments for sustainability), Covenant of Mayors, Energy Cities, and EuroCities.
More information and the full text of the Call for Action is available here: https://greencapital2018.nl/en/callforaction/