The deadline for submitting entries to become European Green Capital 2016 is now closed and the following 12 cities from 11 different countries have entered the competition:
- Dabrowa Gornicza (Poland)
- Essen (Germany)
- Larissa (Greece)
- Ljubljana (Slovenia)
- Nijmegen (Netherlands)
- Oslo (Norway)
- Reggio Emilia (Italy)
- Santander (Spain)
- Tours (France)
- Umeå (Sweden)
- Zaragoza (Spain)
- Pitesti (Romania)
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “I am very pleased to see the many applicants for the European Green Capital Award. This shows the commitment of European cities to improve the quality of life of their citizens and the environment. The European Green Capital Award initiative provides a springboard for sharing best practices, ideas and showing the way to other cities. I wish all of the applicants the very best of luck with the 2016 competition!”
The European Green Capital Award is presented to a city at the forefront of environmentally friendly urban management. These cities aim to set higher standards in sustainable urban development, listening to what their citizens want and pioneering innovative solutions to environmental challenges.
This year, for the first time, cities across Europe with at least 100,000 inhabitants were eligible to apply for the 2016 title. In previous years, only cities with a population of 200,000 or more were eligible. Opening the award to smaller cities has led to over half the applications coming from cities with less than 200,000 inhabitants.
An international Expert Panel will perform a technical assessment of each entry on the basis of 12 indicators covering climate change, mitigation and adaptation; local transport; green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use; nature and biodiversity; ambient air quality; quality of the acoustic environment; waste production and management; water management; wastewater treatment; eco-innovation and sustainable employment; energy performance; and integrated environmental management.
In 2014 shortlisted cities will be invited to present their proposals to an international jury, which will evaluate their commitment to on-going environmental improvement as well as their future goals. The jury will also evaluate their ability to communicate with citizens, also looking at their capacity to act as a role model and promote best practices in other European cities. In addition to inspiring others, experience shows that the winning city benefits from an increased public profile, which can enhance its reputation and attractiveness as a place for people to visit, work and live in.
The winner will be announced in June 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2014 European Green Capital.
Six cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since the Award began in 2010. Stockholm won the inaugural title, then Hamburg in 2011 and Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2012. The 2013 holder is Nantes. Copenhagen took the title for 2014 - and Bristol for 2015.
The EGCA jury comprises representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors' Office and the European Environmental Bureau.
Europe is now an essentially urban society, with more than two thirds of Europeans living in towns and cities. Many environmental challenges facing society have their origins in urban areas, but it is also in those areas that solutions are being found.
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