Our year as European Green Capital will change people’s lives, Mayor vows as city takes over title

December 8, 2014

Bristol today promised to stage the best-funded and most-comprehensive programme of events yet by any European Green Capital as it officially took over the title.

The European Commission bestowed the title on the city from this year’s holders Copenhagen in a  ceremony in the Danish capital. Bristol is the first UK city to be awarded the prestigious accolade.

Today’s event also provides an opportunity for European cities to come together and discuss the importance of the green and circular economy, the benefits of the award and common challenges faced across the continent.

Fifteen young people from Bristol form part of the UK delegation in Copenhagen and will join contemporaries from Belgium, Sweden and Denmark in a Children’s Climate Summit to debate how the next generation can be engaged in the vital issue and help ensure a sustainable future.

The 6th form students were selected from across Bristol after submitting essays on the subject of why young people should care about the planet’s future. Some 13 students from city schools will present recommendations to delegates alongside Bristol’s elected youth mayors Rondene Vassell, from Clifton College and James Gibson from John Cabot Academy.   

Speakers at the handover event will also include the new EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella, director-general for environment Karl Falkenberg, Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson and Mayor Morten Kabell, technical and environmental administration, Copenhagen.

Mayor Ferguson, pictured at today's ceremony, said: “With just over three weeks to go until Bristol takes up the title of European Green Capital, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues in Copenhagen for sharing their learning with us and setting a standard that inspires us to excel next year.

“My ambition is that Bristol’s year as European Green Capital should make a positive difference to people throughout the city and create a lasting legacy that we can all be proud of.”

The handover ceremony marks the sixth year of the European Green Capital initiative, which rewards cities making efforts to improve the urban environment and move towards healthier and more sustainable living areas. The title has already been held by Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain (2012), Nantes (2013) and Copenhagen (2014). Ljubljana will take over from Bristol in 2016.

Today’s event will be followed tomorrow by a debate in Copenhagen among representatives of Europe’s green frontrunner cities including major international clean-tech companies and global city network organisations on taking a common approach towards the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) Climate Summit in Paris next December.

The participants will join in a call for national governments to take ambitious action and to facilitate the continued effort of cities and industries to find local answers to address climate change.


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