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Kõlvart: We wish to make sustainable governance the guiding principle in Tallinn

Kõlvart: We wish to make sustainable governance the guiding principle in Tallinn

On Friday 20 January, Tallinn will host the inaugural conference of the European Green Capital Year for Sustainable Cities "Fantastic Creatures: Making European Cities Safe, Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable". The opening speeches will be delivered by Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries and Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart. 

“Cities that have been awarded the title of European Green Capital must take the lead in creating sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities in the future. In doing so, they will ensure a good living environment, which is the basis for sustainable economic and social development, said Kõlvart. He added that the Tallinn strategy 2032 and the Tallinn Climate Plan and the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be integrated into the Green Capital Year and future activities. "We want to make sustainable governance a guiding principle for the city of Tallinn," added Kõlvart. 

According to European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, Europe is facing very big challenges in terms of sustainability on several fronts. "Whether it's the air we breathe, the water we drink, the waste we produce or the biodiversity we depend on," said Sinkevičius, adding: "We need an energy revolution and we need a different kind of economy - one that is less polluting, more circular, more nature-friendly and climate neutral by mid-century." No one city has all the answers, he said, but many cities have some. "Green Capital status means sharing the solutions you have found," he added.  

The keynote speaker, Connie Hedegaard (pictured below), former European Commissioner for Climate Action and current Chair of the Board of the Climate and Social Change Adaptation Mission Board, spoke about the obstacles that need to be overcome to accelerate progress towards climate targets. She added that the EU and countries have set climate targets, now it is important to translate these targets into real action.   

At the conference, European local government politicians and officials, together with experts, discussed the challenges of designing sustainable, inclusive and equitable cities where everyone has equal opportunities to participate in society, and how to make Europe's cities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.  

They will also discuss what forms of cooperation are needed in cities for sustainable development, how we can involve citizens, organizations and businesses in urban governance, what co-creation tools are available and how people and organizations can make their voices heard.  

The opening events of the European Green Capital, which run from Thursday to Saturday, have brought 57 cities and municipalities from more than 20 European countries, including 8 mayors, to Tallinn.

Photos by: Ardo Kaljuvee ja Aleksandr Guzhov