This prestigious title is awarded annually to a European city that is a leader in sustainable development, including environmental, social and economic considerations. The title includes a €350,000 prize to further bolster exceptional sustainability efforts. Only 12 cities have been awarded this title, ten of which are ICLEI Members.
For the past year, ICLEI Member Oslo (Norway) held the title of 2019 European Green Capital. On 10-11 January 2020, they officially handed this honour over to Lisbon.
At the Green Capital Award handover ceremony on 10 January, Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina declared the city’s commitment to lead by example this year. That commitment was already on display on its first full day as European Green Capital, during which residents planted over 20,000 trees throughout the city. The theme of Lisbon’s green capital year is “choose to evolve.” Mayor Medina explained that the word “choose” is used to summon people, emphasising that combatting climate change will require us to come together and choose to take action.
The 10 January ceremony – and site visits around the event – brought together representatives of the European Commission, United Nations, and Mayors from across Europe who are committed to forging green cities.
What is perhaps most impressive is that not only has Lisbon achieved great things in sustainability – spanning from fighting ocean degradation to increasing urban green space – but that the city became a leader in sustainability in the midst of a financial crisis. They overcame prevailing thought, proving that sustainability can even be taken on in times of serious financial strain.
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