Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by M Hjälm

Oslo wins the European Green Capital Award 2019 and Leuven and Växjö are the joint winners of the European Green Leaf 2018

Oslo (Norway), Leuven (Belgium) and Växjö (Sweden) have a lot to celebrate! Oslo was announced as the winner of the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) 2019, while Leuven and Växjö are joint winners of the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) 2018. The Awards Ceremony took place in Essen, current European Green Capital, on 2 June 2017.

Oslo has taken a number of positive steps to improve its urban environment, particularly in its climate action, demonstrating a strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Oslo will officially become the European Green Capital at the Handover Ceremony in 2019, where Nijmegen, winner for 2018, will pass on the title.

Leuven was commended for its focus on climate change and its environmental management at the governance level. Växjö was praised for its approach to sustainable land use planning and its leadership in moving away from fossil fuels.

Oslo is the 10th city to win the EGCA. Stockholm, Sweden, was the first winner in 2010, followed by: Hamburg in Germany, 2011; Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, 2012; Nantes in France, 2013; Copenhagen in Denmark, 2014; Bristol in the UK, 2015; Ljubljana in Slovenia, 2016; Essen in Germany, the current European Green Capital; and Nijmegen, Netherlands, who will take over the title in 2018.

 

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen.

 

The EGLA started in 2015 to reward smaller cities and towns for their environmental achievements. Mollet del Vallès, in Spain, and Torres Vedras, in Portugal, were the first winners, followed by Galway, in Ireland, the current European Green Leaf.

 

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje.

 

This year’s competition saw a high number of applicants, with 14 cities applying for both Awards. The finalists were chosen by the Expert Panel in April 2017. The shortlisted cities then presented to the Jury in Essen earlier this week.

 

The Awards Ceremony

There was great excitement at the Awards Ceremony in the Lichtburg Theatre, Essen, as the shortlisted cities eagerly awaited the announcement. It opened with a welcome from Mayor of Essen, Thomas Kufen. The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, also gave a speech, where he congratulated all shortlisted cities on their achievements before announcing the winning cities.

 

EU Green Week 2017

The Awards Ceremony followed the closing event of EU Green Week 2017. EU Green Week is an annual event providing an opportunity for discussion and debate on European environmental policy. This year’s theme was ‘Green Jobs for a brighter future’, highlighting the role of environmental jobs for sustainable employment.

The programme in Brussels included a range of events, each day focusing on a different aspect of green jobs. The European Green Capital and Green Leaf Secretariat were in Brussels, engaging with cities interested in applying for future competition cycles.

With a packed week in Brussels and over 80 partner events across Europe, EU Green Week 2017 successfully generated a wide discussion on green job growth in Europe.

 

Call for Applicants

The call for EGCA 2020 and EGLA 2019 is now open. If you think your city has what it takes to win the Award, why not attend the Applicant Workshop, taking place in Brussels on 27 June 2017?

For more information on how to apply for the EGCA, click here. For EGLA eligible cities, click here.