When cities breathe, people progress

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Committee of the Regions


cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe's Cities and sub-national level want

20-22 June 2012

In 2007 for the first time in human history, 50% of the entire global population lived in urban areas. Only a century ago this figure stood at 13%. It is now predicted to reach 69% by 2050. (UN Population Division 2006 and 2010).

z“With half of humanity living in cities

today, urbanisation is a critical issue for Rio+20. Cities are where the pressures of migration, globalisation, economic development, social inequality, environmental pollution and climate change are most directly felt. We expect world leaders to come up with concrete action plans to realise sustainable cities for the future we want.� Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of Rio+20

Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions

Europe is committed to making the Earth Summit in Rio on 20-22 June a success. By speaking with one voice, European proposals reflect our true nature: united in diversity. This is how we see the input of the Committee of the Regions within the European Delegation to the Rio+20 Summit. As representatives of the European Union's cities and sub-national level, we will work together as "one team" to seek ambitious targets and an effective roadmap to "green growth" that must be agreed worldwide. For this to happen we believe that commitments must be taken at a level close to our citizens: in towns, cities, regions, not only in Europe but on all other continents across the globe. Though they may vary, European cities and regions have responded to the territorial challenges they face developing a range of models that are contributing to a truly inclusive, green economy that places sustainable development at its heart. And whilst being ready to share their knowledge and experiences with our partners worldwide, they are open to finding synergies and learning from other around the world.

In Rio we will share some of our most successful achievements such as the European Green Capitals and the Covenant of Mayors. We want to speak about their further development and to connect them with similar experiences in other continents. We have chosen to concentrate on the topic of sustainable cities, since we see the modern urban fabric as one area that is particularly apt to drive green growth, to act as incubators for the creation of jobs, to help tackle climate change, and to provide a social space where we can ensure an inclusive society and a decent quality of life. By leveraging on concrete results, as achieved by the Local Agenda 21, in Rio we will rally to pursue effective global governance of environmental and sustainable development. Our Earth needs multilevel governance which engages, by decision, action and cooperation, all of our local communities.

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


Achim Steiner UN Environment Programme Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations The Rio+20 conference in June this year – two decades after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 – takes place in a world that is profoundly different from that of the late 20 th century economically, socially, environmentally and geopolitically.

Today, the challenge facing world leaders is how to grow economies and generate employment but in a way that keeps humanity’s footprint within planetary boundaries. Two overarching themes have been chosen – a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and an Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development. UNEP’s Green Economy report*, an assessment designed to inform Rio+20, pin points cities and regional authorities as being central in terms of catalysing a low-carbon, job generating, resource efficient and socially equitable future. Among the points noted in the report: • there is a global potential to reduce approximately 29% of the projected baseline emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 cost-effectively in the residential and commercial sectors; • a transition to energy-efficient buildings would create millions of jobs, as well as “greening” existing employment for many of the estimated 111 million people working in the construction sector; & • investments in energy-efficient buildings could generate an additional 2 to 3.5 million jobs in Europe and the US alone. Rio+20’s second theme – the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development – is aimed at modernising and reforming the institutions charged with realising a sustainable 21st century including the UN Environment Programme. Contributing to this is the work of the Committee of the Regions on its White Paper on multi-level governance which prompts political action to be refocused on principles and mechanisms that contribute to a sustainable transition. With cities responsible for the consumption of some 75% of the Earth’s natural resources, the purchasing and policy decisions of cities and regions can assist in tipping societies into the sustainability space and thus make a key contribution to a positive outcome in Rio+20 and beyond. You can find the report on: http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/Portals/88/documents/ger/GER_12_Cities.pdf

* For more information read GREEN economy: Cities Investing in energy and resource efficiency, UNEP 2011.


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Janez Potočnik EU Commissioner for Environment

The Earth Summit that will bring together world leaders on 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, will mark the 20 th anniversary of the 1992 Rio UN Conference on the Environment and Development, and the 10 th anniversary of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. There have been positive developments since the first Earth Summit in 1992. But we are still facing major economic, social and environmental challenges that urgently require global action. Responses to these challenges will only come

from promoting the right kind of economic growth at all levels of government, including cities and representatives at sub-national level. A growth model that looks beyond today and into the future,

that is based on a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. An economy that values our natural capital, that helps preserve and invest in the assets of key natural resources and that transforms many challenges we face into economic opportunities. An economy that can help reduce pressure on resources, boost innovation and sustain prosperity for the highest number of people on this planet. We have to make the Rio+20 Summit a defining moment for sustainable development, both in the European Union (EU) and across the world. It can accelerate the profound world-wide transition towards a green economy and launch the much needed reforms of international sustainable development governance. One of the key outcomes that the EU is proposing for Rio+20 is a ‘roadmap for an inclusive green economy’ with specific goals, targets and actions at international level. This should be a vehicle to deliver sustainable development, not a gimmick to replace it. For the EU, the roadmap should focus on five key areas of the green economy: sustainable energy, water, oceans, land and ecosystems, and resource efficiency including waste. These areas are not only fundamental to life and health, but also to social and economic growth, development and poverty eradication. The livelihoods of many people across the world depend on them, especially in developing countries, where the lack of access to quality resources is an important underlying cause of poverty. The 2012 Earth Summit represents a unique opportunity to push forward the global green economy agenda and secure global renewed political commitment for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Europe can play a key role in this transition at a global level, indeed, it is determined to do so. And if we speak with one European voice, we will be heard.

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


The Road to Rio: The history of sustainable development and the Summit’s objectives Milestones for sustainable development governance • 1972 – UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm Creation of UNEP by UN General Assembly publication of The Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage • 1992 – UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro Agenda 21 (UN action plan for sustainable development for the 21st century) The “3 Rio Conventions”: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Setting up of Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) • 1997 – Rio+5 Summit, New York Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol • 2000 – Millennium Declaration – Millennium Development Goals • 2002 – World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg (Rio+10)

zThe United Nations Environment Twenty years after the 1st Earth Summit, Heads of State and Government will meet again in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012 for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20 Summit. Local and sub-national governments are involved in Rio+20 through the “Local Authorities Major Group”, as one of the nine major groups that represent different stakeholders. The overall objective of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. Rio+20 will review progress made, plan and decide on further action, including the adoption of a set of Sustainable Development Goals.Rio+20 will explicitly focus upon two important interlinked themes in global sustainability:


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Programme (UNEP) was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972. It coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. Its activities include 6 priority areas: Climate change, Resource efficiency, Disasters and conflicts, Environmental governance, Harmful substances and hazardous waste and Ecosystem management. It has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and six regional offices, including one for Europe, based in Geneva. http://www.unep.org

Theme 1: Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” The role of International Financial Institutions is also stressed. The preparations for Rio+20 have highlighted seven areas which need priority attention: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. EU has lifted 11.6 million people out of risk of poverty and social exclusion

Theme 2: The Institutional Framework for sustainable development This first concerns a more efficient international governance structure, in particular the debate on the upgrade of UNEP, on a reform of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and the need to tackle the fragmentation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Rio+20 will also address better environmental and sustainable governance at national, sub-national and local levels. Sub-national governments need to coordinate policies and decisions with other levels of the government and need to be equiped with strategic and integrated planning capacities, including the capacity to choose regulatory tools and economic incentives to achieve locally appropriate objectives.

The Committee of the Regions appreciates the overall support given to sub-national and local governments by the European Union and its Member States in their contribution to the compilation document of the Rio+20 Zero draft, as a basis for the European negotiation position. In particular, the EU contribution included a whole section on sustainable urban development, as well as a section on “Multilevel sustainable development governance: the role of regional, national, sub-national and local authorities.” The Member States in the Conclusions of the Council of the EU of March 2012 have reiterated one of the key actions that the EU is proposing for Rio, the “roadmap for an inclusive green economy”, with a set of goals, inspirational targets, and concrete action for fundamental key areas of the green economy. They have also given their support to proposals on post -2015 Sustainable Development Goals as a valuable contribution to Rio+20. Another major concern for the EU is the upgrade of the UNEP into a specialised UN agency for the environment.

zGlobally, with a population

share of just above 50 % but occupying less than 2 per cent of the earth’s surface, urban areas concentrate 80 % of economic output, between 60 and 80 % of energy consumption, and approximately 75 % of CO2 emissions. (Kamal-Chaoui and Robert 2009, UN Population Division 2010)

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


The Committee of the Regions of the European Union Created in 1994, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the EU’s political Assembly of Regional (sub-national) and Local Representatives. Through its 344 members – Governors, Presidents of regions, Mayors or elected representatives of regions and cities – the CoR provides institutional representation for all the European Union’s territorial areas, regions, cities and municipalities. Its mission is to involve subnational and local authorities in the European Union’s decision-making process and thus to encourage greater participation from citizens of the 27 Member States. Members of the CoR, while being active in their respective constituencies, meet regularly at the European level to prepare and vote on political recommendations for European strategies and participate in the preparation of European Union’s legislation. Upstream, at the earliest stages, they propose political lines of approach and action drawn from the experience and expertise of the regional and local authorities, who are most often also responsible for implementing European legislation.


Committee of the Regions


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

The CoR’s political action is based on the belief that cooperation between European, national, sub-national and local levels is essential to build an ever closer and more mutually supportive union among people of Europe and respond to the challenges of globalisation and sustainable development. To this end, the CoR works closely together with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and in the Member States with the various tiers of authority, in order also to promote the concept of a “multi-level governance.”

The CoR’s contribution to the preparation of Rio+20 The CoR has been actively bringing the voice of the EU’s sub-national and local governments into the political process leading up to Rio+20. This follows the participation of the CoR in recent Conferences of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Today, the CoR is joining, as an observer, the EU delegation to Rio+20. At its Plenary Session in December 2011, the CoR adopted its opinion, “Contribution of the EU’s local and regional authorities to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20)”. The rapporteur for this opinion was Mr Ilmar Reepalu, Mayor of Malmö (Sweden) and currently chairman of the CoR’s commission for environment and climate change, who is also part of the CoR’s delegation to Rio. A draft of this opinion was submitted in October 2011 to UNDESA.

z“We work to secure

har monious and sustainable development across all European territorial areas. In this way, we champion the objectives of economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union in the interests of the principles of equity and solidarity.” CoR Mission statement

The zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document provides a promising basis for the involvement of sub-national and local governments. The final document to be adopted in Rio, however, needs to be more ambitious and action-oriented, as well as being clearer in mandating a coherent/comprehensive multilevel governance approach, as a means to bridge the current implementation gap of international governance.

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


Reinforcing the role of sub-national and local governments in international environmental governance - the EU's Committee of the Regions as a role model If international environmental and sustainable development governance wants to succeed and deliver lasting results, it needs to look at new ways of involving sub-national and local governments in international decision-making. They have significant power in environmental matters and sustainable development policies and are thus key to implementing global agreements and shaping policy. This role should be better harnessed by the UN and its members states. The Committee of the Regions of the European Union is considered by the UNEP as a possible model in this regard – in particular for including governmental stakeholders in international decision-making through “obligatory consultation”.* The CoR is the consultative political assembly of the European Union that provides both the sub-national and local levels with a voice in EU policy development. From a global scale perspective, it is a quite unique institution in which the CoR members, all elected representatives, including Governors and Mayors, represent the sub-national and local governments from all 27 EU Member States. The EU, with its 500 million inhabitants, has around 90,000 local authorities and 1,100 intermediate and subnational authorities, amongst those about 250 sub-national governments. The CoR has a consultative role in all policies and EU laws that have an impact on local or sub-national governments, including EU environmental and climate change policy, but also agriculture policy and EU cohesion policy – and this at all stages: • Agenda setting by issuing so-called Own-initiative or “Outlook” Opinions; • Decision-making (including, since 2009, the option for the CoR to defend its prerogatives and the principle of subsidiarity before the European Court of Justice); • Experimentation and implementation: support for schemes and awards such as the EU’s Covenant of Mayors or the European Green Capital Award, providing a meeting place for local and sub-national governments to network and exchange with the EU Institutions; • Monitoring, assessment and policy review: for example by the CoR Monitoring Platform of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including actions on resource efficiency – or assessment by the CoR Subsidiarity Monitoring Network and other networks of practitioners from local and sub-national administrations of the territorial impacts of upcoming legislative proposals.

* UNEP Perspectives paper No 2, 2012: Models for Local Government Organizations (LGOs) involvement in a strengthened UNEP.


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Local action for a green and inclusive economy The success of a green economy lies in promoting in particular a green and inclusive urban economy: by 2050 two-thirds of all humans will be living in cities and urban areas. The cities account for 67% of world primary energy consumption and contribute to around 70% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities that was co-organised by the CoR in March this year, as well as European initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors and the European Green Capitals, confi rm that unique opportunities exist for cities to lead the transition to a green and inclusive economy – turning their population density, knowledge, and infrastructure into resource effi ciency, and social and economic opportunities.

zLocal and regional

expenditure represents about EUR 2,100 billion a year and accounts for roughly one third of all public expenditure in the EU. In public investment, the figure is twice as high and accounts for 70% of all public investment in the EU. Source: CEMR – Dexia, 2011

Local and sub-national governments are often pioneers in the experimentation of innovative actions that would take much longer to develop at national and international levels. Contributions from cities and regions to a green and inclusive economy: • encourage eco-innovation, also through their public procurement and limit their spending in areas that deplete natural capital; • modernise municipal services (energy, water, waste, transport); • use their regulatory powers for strategic urban development and reducing urban sprawl • influence the private sector and citizens’ production and consumption patterns through e.g. authorisation procedures, financial incentives/disincentives and a green taxation; • invest in capacity building, training and education for boosting green jobs; • engage their citizens on a positive green vision of their cities and territories; • establish strategic private-public partnerships between SMEs and local and regional authorities aiming to further develop low carbon technology; • raise public awareness and motivate citizens to shift towards resource efficient behaviour; • promote e-inclusion and social economy; • design, fund and implement policies that integrate the citizens excluded from the labour market; • share good practices among local and regional stakeholders.

z150 of the world’s most significant

metropolitan economies produce 46% of global GDP with only 12% of the global population. (Berube, Rode et al. 2010)

Buildings, transpor t, and industry – which are constituent components of cities and urban areas – contribute 25%, 22%, and 22%, respectively, to global GHG emissions (Herzog 2009). Between 1950 and 2005 the share of urban population grew from 29% to 49% of the global population (UN Population Division – World Urbanisation Prospects 2007) while global carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning increased by almost 500% (Boden et al. 2010). When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


THE FUTURE WE WANT Europe’s local and sub-national governments’ messages for Rio+20

z“The future of Europe

hinges on our towns and cities. In the face of climate change and over consumption of natural resources, our towns and cities are in the front line for driving sustainable development. As vital tiers in the democratic process, cities also have a pivotal role to play in bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens. They thus hold the key to a European genuine renaissance.” CoR President Mercedes Bresso at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

For an inclusive green economy and an ambitious framework of action: • adopt a roadmap for an inclusive green economy and an ambitious framework of action with clear operational targets and timeframes in particular in areas such as sustainable cities, energy, water, land management and ecosystems, resource efficiency and waste, for eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies and for introducing indicators that measure progress beyond GDP; • include a specific section on a green and inclusive local economy that recognises the key role played by local and sub-national governments, and invites them to set-up local roadmaps; • promote an expand the international Covenant of Mayors and Governors, following the model of the EU Covenant of Mayors; • ensure that sustainable cities are one of the global and coherent post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals; • agree on adequate means of implementation recognise and involve local and sub-national governments as important additional donors in decentralised cooperation in development; • ensure that a Capacity Development Scheme includes an international knowledge sharing platform for local and sub-national governments on a global scale.

z“Europe cannot afford not

to discuss green growth. And the input of Europe’s cities and regions is essential if the transition towards the green economy is to become a practical reality in our daily lives.” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark and President-inoffice of the EU Council at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities

z"(In addition to national

Governments,) the substantive involvement of civil society, the private sector and the scientific community, as well as sub-national and regional authorities, is necessary for the right discussions to be held, the right decisions to be made and implementation to happen on the ground." Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

For a real multi-level sustainable development and environmental governance: • upgrade the UNEP into a specialised UN agency for the environment and the Commission on Sustainable Development into a Sustainable Development Council; • adapt the existing structures of the so-called “Major Groups” and recognise local and subnational governments, explicitly in their capacity of “governmental stakeholders”, in distinction from other non-governmental major groups; • mandate a future specialised UN agency for the environment (or strengthened UNEP), or a future Sustainable Development Council to create a standing committee for local and subnational governments that offers a permanent mechanism of obligatory consultation and cooperation, following the example of the EU CoR; • make sustainable development governance and strategies at national, sub-national and local level more coherent and coordinated across the different levels; • recognise and ensure further support of Local Agendas 21 and the regional and global partnerships that have emerged among local and sub-national governments as a leading force for action on sustainable development; • support the promotion of environmental democracy globally (Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration), including by considering legally binding frameworks at the most appropriate level (following the UNECE Aarhus Convention).

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


z“In the next 30 years

cities will receive investments estimated at $350 trillion for the construction, management and maintenance of urban infrastructures. These major investments will be detrimental for our planet, if not following sustainability criteria.” Alfonso Vegara, Architect, Fundación Metrópoli, at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities

Covenant of Mayors Europe’s cities implementing the green agenda The European Union is playing a leading role in the global fight against climate change. Member States are committed to cut CO2 emission by 2020 and the Europe 2020 strategy puts green growth at the heart of its agenda. Local authorities are a big part of this effort - almost 4,000 Mayors from across the European Union and beyond joined the European initiative on energy efficiency signing the Covenant of Mayors. The Covenant of Mayors aims to support the efforts made by local authorities to implement sustainable energy policies and is open to all cities that want to take active and binding steps to achieve this, including those outside the European Union, whatever their size. When they make the commitment to meet and exceed the EU’s 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020, Covenant signatories have to establish a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and submit them to the European Commission. The Committee of the Regions strongly supports the Covenant and its objectives and believes that this initiative has to be expanded beyond energy issues to include the full range of natural resources. A more resource efficient economy will boost green growth and the creation of green jobs at local level, increase the EU competitiveness, generate financial savings and create innovation opportunities. For more information visit www.eumayors.eu Malmö (Sweden) is aiming further In 2020 Malmö will be a denser, greener and more diverse city. Flexibility, mixed-use and space-efficiency are key words as Malmö’s density increases. Malmö will be a city bursting with life and energy where comfort, pleasure, safety and quality characterise the environments in which its citizens live. Malmö’s residents will be close to nature and rich in biological diversity. Scan this code to see a short video describing some of the measures taking place in Malmö.


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Porto (Portugal) sets ambitious targets

The city of Porto is committed to a 45% reduction of its CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 2004. Measures planned to reach the objective include: the set-up of a thermal energy distribution network; the promotion of the solar thermal hot water in municipal and private existent buildings; and a boost of the use of public collective transport. http://www-cm-porto.com/ Genova (Italy) vision for a green future The city of Genova is committed to a 20% reduction of its CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 2005. Their plan includes: the construction of an energy recovery plant from an Urban Solid Waste treatment facility; the promotion of the installation of micro-CHPs plants at hospitals, hotels, shopping centers and sports facilities; trigeneration developments and related district heating networks; measures to promote solar energy as well in urban traffic planning; the creation of protected zones and blue areas; the extension of the underground; and the improvement of public transport fleet, development of cycle paths etc. http://www.comune.genova.it/ Barcelona (Spain) pointing at energy efficiency and environment quality Barcelona is committed to a 23% reduction of its CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 2008. By increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions together with other local effect pollutants, Barcelona wants to improve health of its citizens and become an example for its partners and inhabitants. http://www.bcn.cat/mediambient Sustainable Glasgow (United Kingdom)

The City of Glasgow will make a tangible contribution to tackling climate change through reducing carbon emissions by 30% in 2020, maximising the use of sustainable energy resources and minimising adverse impacts on the environment. Measures includes: the creation of systems to turn the city’s sewage and municipal waste into biogas; the creation of urban woodlands on the city’s vacant land – and use of the resultant biomass for heat and power generation; and the development of a district heating system for the city. http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Business/Environment/Sustainable+Glasgow/

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


70% of the EU population lives in a metropolitan areas and these areas generate 67% of EU’s GDP By 2050 there will be 48 million fewer 15-64 year old people and 58 million more above 65 in the EU

European Green Capitals “Green cities – fit for life” One of the policy tools the European Union uses to address environmental challenges in urban areas is the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) which recognises and rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy and the quality of life in cities.

Capital Conference attracted over 300 delegates from across the globe. In December 2010 the general public nominated people they thought were “environmental heroes”. 78% of Stockholmers were proud that their city was declared the first European Green Capital.

The objectives of this initiative are threefold, namely to: a) Reward cities that have a well-established record of achieving high environmental objectives; b) Encourage cities to commit to ambitious future goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development; and c) Provide a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices and experiences in all other European cities.

One of Hamburg’s biggest achievements is the “Train of Ideas” launched in April 2011. This train had seven carriages, each one looking at a different aspect of life in a green city such as mobility, energy, climate protection, nature, economy and consumption. Hamburg targeted the broadest international audience and presented its own best practices, as well as examples from other cities, from the local to the global perspective. The train stopped in a number of cities including Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Malmö, Marseilles and Vienna, attracting 70,000 visitors.

In four years more than 60 different cities have applied and four have already been awarded the prestigious title: 2010: Stockholm 2011: Hamburg 2012: Vitoria-Gasteiz 2013: Nantes Stockholm, with its 50 Green Capital ambassadors, was in contact with many other European cities. They developed study visit programmes welcoming 120 international delegations in 2010 and providing opportunities for local business to present sustainability ideas. The October European Green

z“Europe’s cities have certainly a

remarkable capacity to find new innovative ways to deal with a fast-changing societal, economic and environmental reality. Our cities have a long-standing capacity to re-invent themselves thanks to innovative urban planning and architectural projects” José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Vitoria-Gasteiz is currently holding a permanent exhibition on the city’s environmental record over recent years as well as their major plans and projects. They organise guided tours in green factories as well as in the green belt encircling the city centre to enable people to explore places where daily environmental processes are handled. Vitoria-Gasteiz is also developing an Ecotourism plan of action including a nature and cultural heritage programme. On 14 July 2012 there will be a Green Night with live music, exhibitions, plays, food and much more to celebrate around the city centre.

Europe’s cities – live better, last longer Bulgaria: Sofia’s integrated urban transport project The project addresses the challenges of growing urbanisation and environmental concerns by modernising public transport, making it the preferred option because of its improved accessibility and speed. Intelligent Traffi c System at major intersections in Sofia will give priority to public transport vehicles without imposing delays on other traffi c. Electronic information boards will give real time information to passengers. The trolleybus fl eet will be renewed and a new tram line will provide a convenient connection to the metro. Reconstruction of the tram lines will allow increased speed along the tram route.

Denmark: Global Challenges – Copenhagen solutions Copenhagen will experience extra ordinary population growth in the years ahead. At the same time, it has the ambition of becoming the world’s first carbonneutral capital by 2025. This provides an excellent oppor tunity for creating a sustainable city in terms of both environmental and economic growth. The plan towards carbon neutrality is to reduce energy consumption through smar t grids; retrofitting and sustainable construction methods; an increase in the share of wind power, biomass, waste, geothermal power and solar energy in energy production; an increase the use of bikes, e-mobility and intelligent traffic systems.

Copenhagen‘s district heating system supplies 97% of the City with waste heat

13 out of top 20 cities with the highest quality of living are European cities 1 Vienna, Austria 108.6 2 Zurich, Switzerland 108 3 Geneva, Switzerland 107.9 4 Vancouver, Canada 107.4 4 Auckland, New Zealand 107.4 6 Dusseldorf, Germany 107.2 7 Frankfurt, Germany 107 7 Munich, Germany 107 9 Bern, Switzerland 106.5 10 Sydney, Australia 106.3 11 Copenhagen, Denmark 106.2 12 Wellington, New Zealand 105.9 13 Amsterdam, Netherlands 105.7 14 Ottawa, Canada 105.5 15 Brussels, Belgium 105.4 16 Toronto, Canada 105.3 17 Berlin, Germany 105 18 Melbourne, Australia 104.8 19 Luxembourg, Luxembourg 104.6 20 Stockholm, Sweden 104.5

Germany: The new Emscher valley The regeneration of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the nor thern Ruhr district and the redevelopment of the river Emscher, still an open sewage system, are the aims of the regional authorities of North RhineWestphalia. EU funded programmes are implemented to improve living conditions, while underground sewers are being constructed and 350 km of waterways are regenerated. Streams and rivers regain their ecological function thereby enriching the neighbouring communities.

Mercer quality of living city ranking 2010 Source: Mercer (2010)

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


Greece: Athens – The Field of Mars The Field of Mars, the second largest park in Athens, is a perfect example of sustainable urban development. Its bioclimatic regeneration began in 2005 with a plan to increase thermal comfort during hot summer days. Through natural and artificial evaporative cooling and the use of only natural cooling materials for pavements, a 2-4 Celsius reduction has been achieved. This helps to offset the urban heat island phenomenon of the wider area. A state of the art irrigation system ensures the water supply from boreholes while pruning residues are being composted.

United Kingdom: Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe The aim of the EU funded programme Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (EVUE) is to help cities overcome the challenges associated with the shift to electro-mobility. Key benefits of the project to London have been the development of new networks between stakeholders improving the engagement and deliverables and enhancing the delivery of the Mayoral electric vehicle targets of 100,000 vehicles and 1300 charging points. With the adoption of these new technologies, London’s air will become cleaner, the streets will be quieter and the transition to a more sustainable and liveable city will be progressed.

In Europe, more than 30% of trips made by cars are for distances of less than 3 km and about half still below 5 km, in theory allowing for their replacement by cycle journeys (European Commission) Brussels Belgium: Local Agenda 21 & Sustainable Neighbourhood Initiative En route to a sustainable city: whether it involves major exemplary urban projects, revitalising old neighbourhoods, or simply finding new ways to live together. By acting with citizens, the entire urban fabric of Brussels is being transformed into a veritable patchwork of sustainable initiatives throughout the area. Sustainable development projects on the ground are being developed inter alia with the help of the Brussels Local Agenda Iris 21 and the Sustainable Neighbourhood Initiative. Participatory methods are used to involve citizens throughout all these local initiatives such as collective buying groups that promote short food supply chains and the creation of vegetable gardens and neighbourhood composting. For more information on sustainable development initiatives in the Brussels Capital Region: www.sustainablecity.be


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

Europe’s Cities and Sub-national level – active actors in decentralised cooperation for development Urgent environmental issues such as climate change require pursuing a more active involvement of all, including sub-national governments, in sustainable development policies. By doing so, the CoR is a long-standing advocate of decentralised cooperation and sustainable development promoting the full participation of sub-national governments both in the formulation and implementation of policies. Sub-national governments can contribute to an increase in the effectiveness and transparency of the development process. Sub-national governments can also provide a wealth of experience and knowledge of local needs and 90% of urban sewage are well placed to promote the in developing world is adoption of local sustainable discharged into rivers, lakes development strategies with and coastal water ways effective consultation between without any treatment stakeholders using a multi-level governance approach. 220 million urban residents in the developing world lack a source of safe drinking water near their homes

With these objectives in mind, the CoR, in par tnership with the European Commission, has established the European Por tal of Decentralised Cooperation: http://lra4dev.cor.europa.eu/portal

Alone we develop faster, but together we develop better

In 2006 the Pays de la Loire Region in France launched a multisector programme in Burundi, including cooperation in environment, education, public health and nutrition through exchanges of knowhow, vocational training, and institutional support for capacity building. Among others, the progamme aims at the restoration of the natural reserves of Ruvubu and Rusizi, capacity building for management of natural resources and biodiversity, and academic collaboration.

In November 2010 the Alsace Region in France, with co-funding from the European Union, started a new programme in Cameroon in order to improve water management and sanitation which is strongly focused on helping the rural population and ensuring environmental sustainability at the local level. A programme between the Chinese municipality of Huangshan and the Franche-Comté Region in France promotes environmental protection in the Huangshan region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, through sustainable tourism in the area. In addition, pilot projects on waste management and water treatment have been initiated in the framework of a long-lasting territorial cooperation programme

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


EU-China Partnership on Urbanisation

Prolonging Shanghai Expo’s “Better City Better Life” spirit for the years to come, the China-EU Partnership on Sustainable Urbanisation was launched in Brussels on 3rd May 2012, by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and the Chinese Vice-Premier, Li Keqiang. The delegation of European Mayors led by CoR President Mercedes Bresso, was present together with a delegation of the Chinese Association of Mayors, led by the Mayor of Bejing, Guo Jinlong. The cooperation aims at tackling challenges together through cooperative efforts between stakeholders at all appropriate levels, including national, regional and local levels. Inter alia, cooperation will highlight subjects like urban energy supply and demand management, mobility and smart transport, green building, ecological protection, urban governance, urban-rural integrated development. The Par tnership will offer a natural framework for concer ted actions, such as a new programme designed to assist Chinese mayors, and the creation of an annual EU-China Urban Forum from 2012 onwards.

z“At Rio+20 we want the creation of a

standing committee in the United Nations where cities and subnational level would have a voice because we believe that we must be the driving force for sustainable development.” Ilmar Reepalu, Mayor of Malmö, Chair of the CoR ENVE Commission


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

z“It is of great significance to

put sustainable cities and urban sustainable development on the agenda of Rio+20 as this will be a major challenge for China in the next years.”

Guo Jinlong, Mayor of Bejing, President of the Chinese Association of Mayors

Europe 2020 - strategy for sustainable, smart and inclusive development

The Europe 2020 Strategy is Europe’s blueprint and guide towards a smart, sustainable and inclusive future. These three mutually reinforcing priorities aim to help the Member States deliver higher levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. Concretely, the European Union has set five ambitious objectives - on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy - to be reached by 2020. Each Member State has adopted its own national targets in each of these areas but no one can act alone - if we are to succeed in meeting the Europe 2020 Strategy goals everybody needs to be on board. In fact, the delivery of the Europe 2020 Strategy happens in Europe’s regions and cities. Within this context the Committee of Regions is promoting a culture of multi-level governance in order to strengthen the Community method based on partnership, dialogue, joint implementation and participation local and regional authorities at all stages of the European process. The Committee of the Regions through the Monitoring Platform on Europe 2020, a network of more than 150 local and regional authorities, is contributing both to promote the culture of multi-level governance and to have the voice of subnational level heard in the Europe 2020 policy cycle. More information on Europe 2020 Strategy can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/ To know more about the Committee of the Region’s Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform visit http://portal.cor.europa.eu/europe2020/

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want


Need for proper financing within the EU To ensure proper financing for European cities and territories in their ambitious transition to a green and inclusive economy, thereby implementing the Rio+20 commitments, the CoR wants the EU to: • ensure that its next Multiannual Financial Framework 20142020 reflects the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy resourceefficiency flagship initiative, including the mainstreaming of climate change and exploring eco-conditionality of EU agriculture funding; • reserve a part of its Cohesion and Structural Funds for 20142020 to sustainable urban development; • mainstream the “polluter pays” principle as well as costrecovery options for local governments for the management of natural resources; • support innovative financial engineering tools and foster public private partnerships; • promote environment-friendly fiscal reforms that take more account of resource use; • phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020, thereby freeing up extra funds for other activities.

The process of making the world’s cities and urban fabric greener and maintaining them in a sustainable way will bring considerable employment opportunities and create jobs in a number of different sectors: 1) Urban and peri-urban green agriculture 2) Public transport 3) Renewable energy 4) Waste management and recycling 5) Green construction


When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want

5th European Summit of Regions and Cities, Copenhagen (22-23 March 2012) At the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities, members of the Committee of the Regions as the elected representatives of the EU’s local and regional governments, adopted the “Copenhagen Declaration” for more beautiful, greener, more inclusive, more competitive and better integrated cities. This Declaration expresses the political will of European cities and regions to make sustainable urban development a key focus at Rio+20: “IN ORDER TO SECURE GREENER, MORE BEAUTIFUL AND MORE ATTRACTIVE CITIES, we confirm our commitment to climate-neutral cities that are economical in their consumption and efficient in production. Spatial planning must ensure symbiosis between urban and natural areas while preserving and enhancing natural and cultural heritage, including architectural heritage;”

to encourage the formation of a balanced network of small and medium-sized towns and to promote local agricultural products;” “WE CALL for THIS VISION OF TOMORROW‘S CITIES, the role of urban policy and the European social model to be upheld and championed at the Rio+20 Earth Summit and within other sustainable development initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors. The Rio+20 Summit should, in particular, recognise the need to mainstream sustainable urban development policies as a key ingredient in national sustainable development policies.” Read the full text of the declaration here

“IN ORDER TO INTEGRATE CITIES MORE CLOSELY WITH THEIR REGIONS, we would like to see the strengthening of cities‘ links with European transport networks and of their capacity to develop trade and ties with the surrounding periurban and rural areas, so as to help them avoid urban sprawl,

“Beautiful, green, smar t and inclusive: Colourful cities” was inaugurated during the 5 European Summit of The exhibition


Regions and Cities. It showcased best practice with respect to energy efficiency, transport and sustainable development, in the fields of architecture and town planning, and projects promoting inclusion, social innovation and employment. The exhibition will be shown again at the European Commission’s headquarters during the 10th European Week of Regions and Cities (Brussels, 8 – 11 October 2012) and can be found on www.cor. Re europa.eu/CoR-Summit2012 eu

When cities breathe, people progress the future we Europe’s cities and sub-national level want



Committee of the Regions

the EU Committee of the Regions & the European Commission, DG Environment invite you to attend a joint side-event

When Cities breathe, people progress: Europe's Cities building partnerships to implement the green agenda Pavilion of the European Union, Athletes Park, Rio de Janeiro 21 June 2012, 5pm - 7pm in partnership with


June 2012 Edited by the Directorate for Communication, Press and Events of the Committee of the Regions Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat, 101 _ 1040 Bruxelles/Brussel _ BELGIQUE/BELGIĂ‹ Tel. +32 25468202_ Fax +32 22822085 www.cor.europa.eu

cdr_1489/JUNE 2012/EN

Committee of the Regions

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