Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

The 2012 European Green Capital leads the movement of Cities having a more prominent role in environmental policies

23rd May 2012

Last week Vitoria-Gasteiz, the 2012 European Green Capital, hosted the “Cities for a Green Economy” Conference, where a number European and Latin American cities met to show that the commitment to sustainability in urban areas is not only possible, but may become the key to economic development. The conference was hosted at the beautiful Palace of Villasuso in the City.

At the close of the conference, Javier Maroto, the Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, concluded with the idea that cities should have a greater role in decision making, as are they are able to act quickly and effectively.

The mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, summed up the two-day conference as one which has joined two continents together to achieve a common goal: to have its own voice at the World Summit on the Environment Rio+20. 10 Euro-Latin American cities have shared their experiences of the successes they have had, and have worked together to formulate a document that will represent them at the Rio+ Summit in Brazil, with Vitoria-Gasteiz taking a lead role.

“This year as a Green Capital we have the perfect opportunity for Vitoria-Gasteiz to take on a decisive role, and to show how, as a local authority, we can have more contact with citizens and can act more quickly in terms of implementing sustainability solutions” said the Mayor.

In closing the Mayor also highlighted other ideas around:

  • Need to provide infrastructure to the cities to implement their commitments that create convenient solutions
  • Develop performance criteria and evaluation to ensure that actions always take place from sustainability
  • To achieve better local governance, implemented with transparency and excellence criteria
  • Implement a joint strategy for cities, citizens, business sector and 3rd sector to develop the urban environment
  • Coexistence of city and surrounding countryside for sustainable regional development
  • Encourage self-help networks of cities to share knowledge and experiences
  • Harnessing the indigenous experiences and knowledge

Throughout 2012, Vitoria-Gasteiz is opening its doors to showcase and share its environmental policies, projects and challenges with the rest of Europe, and the World. The city has prepared a programme of activities, offering a platform for the exchange of good practices and for dissemination of green ideas.

The programme sets out to involve the maximum number of people in making 2012 a decisive year for environmental progress.

For more information on the 2012 European Green Capital click here

For more information on the European Green Capital Award click here