Invitation to join Green City Accord initiative

Invitation to join Green City Accord initiative

3 December 2021
Green City Accord
1 February 2024

The UBC Sustainable Cities Commission warmly invites UBC member cities to join the Green City Accord and showcase their leadership in accelerating environmental performance!

While the EU’s policies over the years have led to significant progress in improving the environment, and in raising standards across the EU Member States, many environmental challenges still prevail. With more than 70% of the EU’s population currently living in urban areas, cities are critical to meeting the EU's environmental objectives and in helping the EU to become a more sustainable region.

“Regions and cities will be at the core of the €1.8 trillion #NextGenerationEU plan for a green, digital and resilient recovery. Its success will depend on each of the one million local administrators in Europe. This is their moment, their opportunity, and their responsibility.”

Ursula von der Leyen (from Twitter)

Launched in October 2020, the Green City Accord (GCA) is a movement of European mayors committed to making cities cleaner and healthier. By signing the Green City Accord, cities agree to achieve by 2030 significant improvements in five areas of environmental management:

  • air: improvement in air quality by moving closer to respecting the WHO’s air quality guidelines and ending exceedances of EU air quality standards as soon as possible,
  • water: progress in improving the quality of water bodies and the efficiency of water use,
  • nature and biodiversity: progress in conserving and enhancing urban biodiversity, including through an increase in the extent and quality of green areas in cities, and by halting the loss of and restoring urban ecosystems,
  • circular economy and waste: advance towards the circular economy by securing a significant improvement in the management of household municipal waste, an important reduction in waste generation and landfilling, and a substantial increase in re-use, repair and recycling,
  • noise: significantly reducing noise pollution in cities and moving closer to WHO recommended levels.

“Turku’s ambitious climate action goes hand in hand with environmental protection and the promotion of circular economy. We are currently drawing up a programme to protect biodiversity, implementing a progressive forest strategy and working to conserve the Baltic Sea.“

Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku

In each of these areas, signatory cities will:

  • establish baseline levels and setting ambitious targets that go beyond minimum requirements set by EU laws within two years of signing,
  • implement policies and programmes in an integrated manner, to achieve their targets by 2030 and
  • report on implementation and progress every three years.   

The Green City Accord is a European Commission initiative. The GCA secretariat is currently run by a consortium consisting of: Eurocities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). UBC Sustainable Cities Commission joined the forces with the GCA Secretariat in May 2021 as a supporter organisation and committed to promote the initiative among its member cities, to involve in capacity building and knowledge transfer activities and share best practices with the network.

What’s in it for your city?

The Green City Accord is open to any cities of 20,000 inhabitants and above located in the European Union. The term “city” means an urban area with an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of a democratically elected body. This includes large metropolitan areas, as well as agglomerations.

The Accord will offer your city the following benefits:

  • Europe-wide visibility in recognition of your city’s environmental actions and achievements. 
  • Contribute to shaping EU environment policy and become part of a community of like-minded cities driving the transition towards a clean and healthy Europe. 
  • Increase your transparency, accountability and credibility vis-à-vis the local community. 
  • Access to information concerning EU funding opportunities.
  • Participation in networking events, avail of capacity-building opportunities.
  • Benchmark your city achievements against progress in other cities

By implementing the Accord, your city would also be delivering on the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Green City Accord can be signed at any time.

Among 95 signatories of the Green City Accord, 7 UBC member cities have already joined the initiative. Let´s make our urban environments cleaner and healthier together!