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Approximately 200 technicians and decision-makers from municipalities across Europe participated in the meeting of the Eurocities Network Environment Forum. The meeting was organized in partnership by the cities of Porto and Guimarães and took place, exceptionally, in an online format in view of the current pandemic context.
Under the theme “People and the Planet for a green transition”, the participants will discuss how the economic recovery package can be used in the process of transition to a more sustainable society, more just and respectful of the planet’s ecological limits, based on the cities.
At the start of the Forum, the Deputy Mayor of Porto and Councilor for the Environment, Filipe Araújo, praised “the strong commitment of several European cities towards carbon neutrality, in a demanding fight against climate change, which respects the ecological capacity of the Planet, but it has to be socially fair”. In turn, the Mayor of Guimarães, Domingos Bragança, wished that this meeting “will be enriching and inspiring, through the example of the practices of each of the cities, and that at the end of it we will know even better the way to go”.
The meeting was attended by researchers Derk Loorbach, from DRIFT – Research Institute for Transition, who discussed the concept of managing the transition to a more sustainable society, and Katherine Richardon, from the Center for Sustainability Science at the University of Copenhagen, which addressed the issue of the limits of the planet.
These ideas served as a motto for the political debate, in which Filipe Araújo, vice-president of the Chamber of Porto and chair of the Environment Forum of Eurocities, also participated, and Sofia Ferreira, councilor of the Chamber of Guimarães with the Environment Department. The interventions were aimed at finding out how the city’s recovery strategies can be used to bring about real change with a positive impact on people’s lives, the environment and the economy, instead of trying to return quickly to the pre-pandemic situation.
During the event, the co-organizing cities had the opportunity to share with their European counterparts the work they have been developing in the areas of the circular economy, climate ambition, solutions inspired by nature, among others.
The Eurocities Environment Forum is an annual meeting to share, collaborate and affirm the fundamental role of cities in the transition to sustainability within the European Union. It is recalled that the Vice-President of the Chamber of Porto has been the President of the Eurocities Network Environment Forum since November 2018 and that the cities of Porto and Guimarães are among the most active members of the Forum, with Guimarães assuming the co-presidency of a of the Working Groups, namely: “Green areas and Biodiversity”.
The Eurocities Network brings together the main European cities and its main mission is to share knowledge, exchange ideas and influence the institutions of the European Union to provide an appropriate response to issues that influence the daily lives of European citizens, through legislation that allows citizens to local governments effectively address various strategic challenges at the local level.