28 Nov 2018

No less than 18 cities and 4 partners from the European Capital Network signed the so called Call for Action in Nijmegen, a pledge to enhance sustainability in all cities around the world. The Call for Action seeks to inspire and to call upon cities to recognize and act on their role as drivers of sustainable development. Pieter van Ree and Maike de Lange, Management Consultants at Royal HaskoningDHV, being the project managers for Nijmegen European Green Capital 2018, organised the Network meeting.

18 European cities sign Call for Action to enhance sustainability | Royal HaskoningDHV

Climate Change requires initiatives from cities, but certainly also from residents and businesses. This bottom-up movement, or the ‘Dutch Approach’, receives approval in the European Community with the signing of the Call to Action.

“Approximately three quarters of the European population lives in urban areas, and the urban population is expected to continue to grow in the years to come. These are huge figures and they emphasise the importance of making our cities healthy places to live in. In this global age of urbanization we cannot address environmental issues by ourselves. We need to exchange visions, best practices and expertise with other cities in Europe in order to find the right solutions. Cities have to create networks and become more involved in creating and implementing national and European policies. But our commitment to sustainability can not just stem from government initiatives, the involvement of citizens and other stakeholders is a must if we want to make our cities more sustainable and reduce CO2 emissions to the agreed level of 1,5 degree Celcius.”

With this message, Mayor Bruls of Nijmegen opened the Mayors Conference on Friday 23 November. Nijmegen, as European Green Capital 2018, was host of this meeting where mayors and representatives of EU cities (Covenant of Mayors, Eurocities, Energy Cities and ICLEI) were gathered to sign the Call for Action of the European Green Capital Network. The cities also offer to help other cities in their efforts to give sustainability a boost in their own city.

Cities play a key role in climate action

Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General in charge of Coordination of Resource-efficiency policies and instruments in DG Environment (ENV) was also present at the Conference. She stressed the important role cities play. “In the European spirit, I am proud that you will show the world that it is by working together that we can truly shape the urban environment for the future.”

The first in a series of workshops on future proof cities took place in Nijmegen from 20-22 November 2018 with 13 cities from the network. The experiences, expertise and lessons learned from the network are being brought together and made accessible for other cities via the European Green Capital Network website.

COP 24

With this Call for Action the Green Capital members emphasize the important role cities are playing in the transformation to more sustainable cities to tackle climate change.

During the global climate change conference #COP24 in Katowice, Poland, from 3 - 14 December 2018, representatives from the EGCN will call upon national governments and international institutions to acknowledge the important role of cities and involve them early on in the process of developing policies.

These cities signed the Call for Action: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bristol, Essen, Freiburg, Gent, Hamburg, ’s Hertogenbosch, Lahti, Lissabon, Ljubljana, Malmö, Nantes, Nijmegen, Nürnberg, Oslo, Umea and Vitoria Gasteiz.

The Call for Action is also strongly supported by ICLEI (Local governments for sustainability), Covenant of Mayors, Energy Cities en EuroCities and will be presented by Nijmegen, Oslo (coming Green Capital) and other representatives during the global climate change conference #COP24.