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Tallinn: EU Green Capital of 2023

On 21 January 2023, Tallinn’s EU Green Capital year was officially launched during the Handover Ceremony that took place in the Estonian capital.

EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius together with Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble (European Green Capital 2022), handed over the symbolic Green Book to Mihhail Kõlvart, Tallinn’s Mayor.

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Mihhail Kõlvart, Tallinn’s Mayor.

Mayor Kõlvart reminded that according to the United Nations, around 80 per cent of Europeans will live in cities by 2050 and that, according to the OECD, 65 per cent of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can only be reached with the proper engagement of and coordination with the local and regional governments.

“It will be the cities, that will be implementing the EU Green Deal on the local level,” he pointed out. “It is the cities that are implementing the SDGs on the local level. It will be the local level that will bring about the most imminent change in people’s lives and well-being and contribute significantly towards achieving the EU´s ambition of a first climate-neutral continent by 2050.”

“In Tallinn,” he continued, “we have declared green transition our priority and we strive towards integrating sustainability into the whole governance and development of our city. We are aiming at a change of paradigm in the city and in the mindset of the people.”

In particular, Tallinn will focus on four key themes this year: smart, sustainable, inclusive and learning. One of the strategic priorities on a wider scale is to launch debates on new forms of governance, that support sustainable urban transitions and local green deals. In this regard, the Mayor mentioned one of the flagship projects of Tallinn: the creation of a competence centre for urban development and sustainable management and the development of a cooperation network with other European cities and EU institutions.

Other flagship initiatives focus on biodiversity, climate change, green innovation, introducing an environmentally-friendly mindset and so on.

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