Cagliari bay, Italian city view of the ocean
© Gianluigibec

The European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards are competitions for European cities which are improving the environment

The Green Capital 2024 European city finalists are Valencia (Spain), and Cagliari (Italy). Additionally, the Green Leaf 2024 finalists are Elsinore (Denmark), Velenje (Slovenia) and Bistrița (Romania).

The finalists were selected based on 12 environmental indicators for the Green Capital, and on 6 environmental topic areas for the Green Leaf awards, including:

  1. Nature, Biodiversity, Sustainable Land Use and Soil
  2. Air Quality and Noise
  3. Water
  4. Waste and Circular Economy
  5. Climate Change and Energy Performance
  6. Sustainable Urban Mobility

How is this good for European cities?

Being a European Green City capital or Green Leaf winner will increase the city’s profile to build new alliances and greener infrastructure.

By using their prize, cities will be able to better organise their year and improve more environmentally transformational activities.

Winning the European Green City award also creates a spirit of optimism, by boosting local pride and the feeling of belonging to a progressive environment.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Cities are at the heart of our fight against the climate, pollution and biodiversity crises.

“It’s about tackling air pollution, advancing clean mobility, reducing energy consumption in buildings, greening urban spaces, and looking in a completely different way at waste management.

“You are showing Europe the way and leading efforts to deliver the systemic and long-term changes the European Green Deal calls for. I wish this year’s European Green Capital and Green Leaf finalists the best of luck on this path.”

Valencia, a European city in Spain
© Aleksandr82

What was the procedure for European city finalists?

1) Applicant cities need to design an overall strategy, vision, and commitment to sustainability, and how these are being and will continue to be implemented in practice – as well as the approach the applicant city intends to take as a European Green Leaf respectively.

2)  The applicant cities also need to develop a communication strategy and action for its role as a European Green Leaf, which should address:

  • Citizen communication and involvement to date in relation to the 6 topic areas (for Green Leaf), effectiveness via changes in citizen behaviour, lessons learned and proposed modifications for the future.
  • The applicant city’s ability to showcase the city’s sustainability vision and plans at local and regional levels.
  • How the applicant city intends to fulfil their role of Green Ambassador/role model, inspiring other European cities

3)  The city’s proposal on initiatives and measures should be intended to be set in place within the year of the award to enhance the applicant city’s environmental sustainability and to contribute to achieving the applicant city’s sustainability vision.

The applicant city needs to sustain their vision, plans and measures to achieve targets in the European Green Deal, in particular those specified in the Zero Pollution Action Plan, the Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan, and the Fit for 55 Package.

City of Bistrita in Romania, Europe
© Abdelmoumen Taoutaou

Finalists are to continue their environmental work

The European Green Capital winner will receive a financial prize of €600,000 to implement their strategy and engage and mobilise their citizens and stakeholders.

The title of European Green Leaf is awarded to one or two cities, granting each winner a financial prize of €200,000.

Following the competition closure in April, the announcement of the green city winners will be in October of 2022. The finalists will present their cities to the jury panel chaired by the European Commission.

Here, they will display their communication strategy and action plan, to demonstrate how the city will fulfil their European Green Capital year if they win.

The winner announcement will be on 27 October 2022 at the Awards Ceremony in this year’s Green Capital, Grenoble, France.


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