Europe’s Major Cities Agree On Green Digital Agenda
The mayors of 14 of Europe’s biggest cities have signed a charter which will commit them to reducing emissions through Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). An official signing ceremony was held on 27 November as part of EUROCITIES 2009 Stockholm, where around 400 delegates including mayors, politicians and stakeholders discussed local government action for a green recovery.
By signing the ‘EUROCITIES Green Digital Charter’, the mayors of these first 14 cities – Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Genoa, Ghent, The Hague, Lisbon, Murcia, Nantes Metropole, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Stockholm, Vienna and Zaragoza – have agreed to:
- Deploy five large-scale ICT pilot projects before 2015;
- Decrease ICT’s direct carbon footprint by 30% by 2020; and
- Create a partnership of cities on ICT & Energy Efficiency to work until 2011.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, which is the lead city behind the intiative said:
“Real opportunities exist today for harnessing digital technologies to address climate change, especially to increase energy efficiency. Cities have a crucial role to play in achieving Europe-wide climate change targets in partnership with EU institutions and Member States.”
Today, conurbations across Europe are responsible for a main share of emissions, but they are also well-placed to deliver solutions. In terms of specific measures aimed at reducing emissions through IT, city councils that get behind the Charter will identify opportunities to use new technologies at a critical scale, provide for regulatory incentives, set up new types of public-private partnerships with business, industry and the voluntary sector, and share expertise and practice with fellow cities.
Also commenting on the initiative, EUROCITIES’ Secretary General Paul Bevan said:
“The Green Digital Charter aims to be a catalyst for cities to work together to find creative and imaginative ways to become ‘Smart Cities’.”
The Green Digital Charter originates from talks between EUROCITIES, Manchester City and the European Commission. It represents another step in the network’s climate change activities, which to date includes EUROCITIES’ Declaration on Climate Change; the joint European and US Stockholm Appeal on Climate Change to negotiators of the COP15 climate agreement; and our involvement in both the Local Government Climate Roadmap and the European Commission’s Covenant of Mayors initiative.