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Environment: Six finalists vie for title of European Green Capital 2012 and 2013

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The competition for the 2012 and 2013 European Green Capital Awards has entered its final stages, with the 17 candidate cities now been whittled down to a shortlist of six. The finalists are Barcelona and Vitoria-Gasteiz from Spain, Malmö from Sweden, the French city of Nantes, Nuremberg in Germany and Reykjavík, the capital of EU candidate country Iceland. The evaluation panel began examining applications on 1 February 2010, and a decision has now been reached. Cities are evaluated against a comprehensive checklist of environmental criteria which includes the local contribution to the fight against climate change, transport facilities, green urban areas, sustainable land use, nature and biodiversity, local air quality, noise pollution, waste production and management, water consumption, waste water treatment, and the environmental management of the municipality.
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Applicant cities have been asked to provide information on a variety of indicator areas with regards to their present environmental status and results, what they are doing to improve the urban living conditions, their future initiatives and dissemination plans. Over the coming months, the six finalists will supply further details to support their applications. When the evaluation panel has assessed the six shortlisted cities over the course of the second evaluation round, it will present its recommendations to the jury, which will then make the final decision. The announcement of the European Green Capitals for 2012 and 2013 will be made at a ceremony in Stockholm in late October 2010. Stockholm is the current European Green Capital, with the title passing to Hamburg in 2011.

Background: The European Green Capital Award
The annual award is a new initiative presented to a city in the vanguard of environmentally friendly urban living. The award panel use 11 environmental indicators, with cities being judged on their record in achieving high environmental standards, their commitment to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and the extent to which they can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practice in other European cities. The jury choosing the winners is made up of representatives from the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors' Office, the European Environmental Bureau and the Committee of the Regions.

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