Reducing the pressure on natural resources is an urgent environmental necessity, as highlighted at the Bonn climate conference. City authorities hold a key playing card in this fight and are leading efforts on the ground to make the transition to a more climate friendly economy. The EUROCITIES conference, gathering 100 politicians and 400 urban experts in Ljubljana this week, focussed on the role of cities in leading this fight by transitioning to a circular economy.
Abdeluheb Choho, chair of EUROCITIES Environment Forum, and deputy mayor of Amsterdam, said: “Building a sustainable economy is vital to our efforts to future proof our cities and improve people’s quality of life. Creating the right conditions for a circular economy is a key battleground in the fight for carbon neutrality. It will provide new and sustainable competitive advantages for Europe, and stimulate job creation. EU leadership can help set the right conditions at city level by removing barriers to accelerating the circular economy.”
Cities can shape political debates, set policy and create the right conditions at local level to drive innovation and unlock the potential of this transition. Through public sector procurement, as providers of services and as managers of waste, cities are well placed to deliver under the right conditions.
The EUROCITIES Awards 2017 shared best practice examples of how cities are doing this through circular economy projects. The three winning entries from Brussels Capital Region, Gothenburg and Munich, out of a shortlist of nine, are models that can be replicated. Cities are committed to sharing experiences and learning from each other to jointly build capacity and become circular cities.
Further examples of cities’ efforts in delivering circular economy goals are collected in EUROCITIES new publication ‘Full Circle – cities and the circular economy’.
Speaking from the EUROCITIES conference, Zoran Janković, mayor of Ljubljana, said: “The message from cities is clear: work with us to accelerate the transition towards a circular economic model. As the level of government closest to citizens, cities can ensure that circular opportunities generate benefits for citizens, leaving no one behind. The circular economy is one of the key elements securing the survival of the planet.”
To maximise the potential benefits of a circular economy, cities need EU leadership to back efforts at city level by setting a strong enabling framework. Specifically, we ask EU policy makers to:
- Strengthen support for mutual learning and capacity building between cities across the EU
- Stimulate and promote sustainable business models through an EU framework that considers the whole value chain
- Drive investment in jobs and skills to create a work force ready to embrace the circular economy in Europe
- Facilitate the creation of a market for secondary raw material, developing a level playing field between virgin material and the reuse of treated material
- Strengthen the development of standards and indicators on the circular economy to measure the impact of the transition process
Notes to the editors
1. EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities, with over 140 members, representing more than 130 million people. We work in all areas of interest for cities, from culture to mobility, environment to social affairs, economic development to smart cities. We facilitate learning experiences between cities, and represent cities’ interests towards the European Union. www.eurocities.eu
2. The EUROCITIES conference focuses on a different theme each year. More information on EUROCITIES 2017 is available here: http://www.eurocities2017.eu/about-conference
3. EUROCITIES Awards showcase outstanding achievements by our member cities in the delivery of local activities or practices which improve the quality of life for citizens. The theme of the awards changes every year in line with the EUROCITIES conference. The nine finalists in 2017 were: Almere, Antwerp, Brighton & Hove, Brussels Capital Region (with two entries), Gothenburg, Lille Metropole Europeenne, Munich, Tampere.
The awards are presented across three categories: cooperation, innovation, participation. More information is available here: http://bit.ly/2AVoeD5
4. EUROCITIES new publication ‘Full Circle – cities and the circular economy’ is available here: http://bit.ly/2AUcvol
5. More information on EUROCITIES political position on circular economy, published today in our statement ‘Towards circular cities’, is available here: http://bit.ly/2hGLqR2
Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 // firstname.lastname@example.org