Four out of five Europeans lives in an urban environment. In recognition that preserving forests and conserving wildlife is not sufficient to resolve the environmental issues facing us, the European Commission will start announcing a "European Green Capital" every year starting in 2010. Stavros Dimas, EU Commissioner for the Environment says:
I trust that this award will help us turn our urban centres into prosperous places to live and work.The award will recognize cities that
- Have a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards;
- Are committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development;
- Can act as role models to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities.
During the launch event on World Biodiversity Day, Commissioner Dimas signed a Declaration establishing the award scheme together with Paddy Bourke, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and President of the Union of Capital Cities of the European Union, and Mr Gino Van Begin, Regional Director for Europe of ICLEI. Also present was Mr Jüri Ratas, former Mayor of Tallinn and current Vice-President of the Estonian Parliament, who laid the ground for the award in May 2006, along with other mayors.
Cities wishing to apply can learn how at the official European Green Capital website. Cities with populations over 200,000 are eligible for the award.
UPDATE: Sharp eyed TreeHugger readers noticed that the picture on the European Green Capital website is the Peace Tower located at the site of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. TreeHugger contacted the secretariat at the website and thanks to alert TreeHugger readers, the European Green Capitals website will soon be improved with a picture of a European landmark. You can read the full story here: TreeHugger Readers Improve European Green Capitals Website.