Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

2016 European Green Capital Award Ceremony

On 24th June 2014 the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana was announced as the winner of the 2016 European Green Capital Award. The award ceremony, hosted by this year’s European Green Capital, Copenhagen, took place in The Black Diamond, part of Copenhagen’s Royal Library.

The beautiful Dome of Visions was the venue for this year’s Grand Opening of the European Green Capital Award Ceremony 2016. Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

The beautiful Dome of Visions was the venue for this year’s Grand Opening of the European Green Capital Award Ceremony 2016. Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

Mayor Zoran Jankovic accepted the Award on behalf of Ljubljana from Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik. Commissioner Potočnik said: “It gives me great pleasure to present Ljubljana with the European Green Capital Award for 2016. As a citizen of Ljubljana, it is with immense pride that I congratulate the city on its environmental achievements. I very much look forward to its year as the 2016 European Green Capital. All of the finalists of this 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.”

Mr. Janez Potocnik, European Commisioner for the Environment presenting Mr. Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana with the Award. Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

Mr. Janez Potocnik, European Commisioner for the Environment presenting Mr. Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana with the Award. Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

Ljubljana impressed the Jury with its sustainability strategy ‘Vision 2025′, its implementation of a range of green urban measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network. This is the first time an Eastern European City has won the Award. Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana, Tjasa Ficko said “Ljubljana is a green city and a great city. Winning the European Green Capital Award 2016 carries a great responsibility so there is a lot of work in front of us.” Ljubljana will take over the title from the 2015 European Green Capital, Bristol.

Mr. Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana and his team winning the European Green Capital 2016.  Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

Mr. Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana and his team winning the European Green Capital 2016.
Photo courtesy of Ursula Bach Sharing Copenhagen

In recent years, transportation in Ljubljana has dramatically changed. Ljubljana‘s focus has now moved towards more eco-friendly transport alternatives. In 2013, Ljubljana modified the traffic flow within the city to limit motorised traffic and give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Cycling is also increasing, with over 1.6 million journeys using the ‘BicikeLJ’ bike-sharing system since 2011, and future transportation plans are promising. In 2012 the city adopted ambitious goals that will see public transport, non-motorised traffic and private vehicles account for equal one-third shares of all transport by 2020.

The European Green Capital Award was conceived by Mr Jüri Ratas, former Mayor of Tallinn, Estonia in 2006, as an initiative to promote and reward efforts, to encourage cities to commit to further action, and to showcase and promote the exchange of best practices amongst European cities. Seven cities – Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol and now Ljubljana – have won the award so far, from 2010 to 2016 respectively.