Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

About The Award

Europe is an urban society, with many environmental challenges to face.  The European Commission has long recognised the important role that local authorities play in improving the environment, and their high level of commitment to genuine progress.

The European Green Capital Award has been conceived as an initiative to promote and reward these efforts.

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Background to the European Green Capital Award

The European Green Capital Award is the result of an initiative taken by 15 European cities (Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Ljubljana, Prague, Vienna, Kiel, Kotka, Dartford, Tartu & Glasgow) and the Association of Estonian cities on 15 May 2006 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Their green vision was translated into a joint Memorandum of Understanding establishing an award to recognise cities that are leading the way with environmentally friendly urban living.

View the memorandum please click here. The initiative was launched by the European Commission in 2008.

It is important to reward cities which are making efforts to improve the urban environment and move towards healthier and sustainable living areas.  Progress is its own reward, but the satisfaction involved in winning a prestigious European award spurs cities to invest in further efforts and boosts awareness within the city as well as in other cities.  The award enables cities to inspire each other and share examples of good practices in situ.

The overarching message that the award scheme aims to communicate to the local level is that Europeans have a right to live in healthy urban areas. Cities should therefore strive to improve the quality of life of their citizens and reduce their impact on the global environment.

This message is brought together in the Award’s slogan “Green cities – fit for life”.

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Annual Award Process

Starting in 2010, one European city is selected each year as the European Green Capital of the year. The award is given to a city that:

  • Has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards;
  • Is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development;
  • Can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities.

The winning cities to date include: Stockholm in 2010, Hamburg in 2011, Vitoria-Gastiez in 2012, Nantes in 2013 and Copenhagen in 2014Bristol will hold the title in 2015 and Ljubljana in 2016.  All are recognised for their consistent record of achieving high environmental standards and commitment to ambitious goals.

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Cities as Role Models

The award aims to provide an incentive for cities to inspire each other and share best practices, while at the same time engaging in friendly competition. In other words, the cities become role models for each other.

“The finalists and winners of the European Green Capital Award provide us with valuable real-life examples of how respect for the environment, excellent quality of life and economic growth can all be successfully combined,”

EU Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Janez Potočnik.

This short video examines the benefits of being a European Green Capital. So don’t miss out! Get your city involved to be the next European Green Capital.

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