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A Coruña, one the finalists. Photo by Eduardo Fernandez on Unsplash

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EU cities lead sustainable transition

The Spanish City of A CoruñaLa Titaranya SCCL and the City of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, have been named as the finalists for the 2021 Transformative Action Award.

The award is organised jointly by ICLEI Europe, the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark) with support from the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Award, which recognises ongoing or concluded Transformative Actions – inspired by the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration – that accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, in addition to spearheading the socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation of societies.

 “The many challenges we face today – including mitigating the impacts of climate change, distributing and implementing equal access to resources, ensuring a green and just COVID-19 recovery, and creating sustainable, thriving cities – require transformative leadership and transformative action,” said Wolfgang Teubner, Jury Member and Regional Director of ICLEI Europe.

In the running for the title of “Transformative Action of the Year 2021” are:

The City of A Coruña, for weaving together a network of urban gardens that aims to connect green areas while offering numerous environmental, economic and social benefits to its residents, including strengthening biodiversity and climate change resilience, providing new economic opportunities and encouraging sustainable lifestyles;

La Titaranya SCCL, for integrating citizens, stakeholders and civic organisations into the creation of a sustainable, long-term strategy for the physical and social rehabilitation of a highly degraded neighbourhood in Valls, Spain, and

The City of Nijmegen, for underscoring and promoting the importance of sustainability strategies that are not exclusive, but instead welcoming and supportive of the involvement of all citizens, regardless of background.

This year’s applications for the award were stronger than ever, according to jury member and director of UNESCO Etxea, Arantza Acha, who said: “It is very inspiring to learn how cities, civil society and the private sector put the Basque Declaration into action, transforming our societies towards sustainable development. As a jury member, I was very impressed by the innovation, inclusiveness and resourcefulness that this year’s pool of applicants demonstrated in their applications.”

The Transformative Action Award serves not only to inspire other cities, but it also supports local authorities in translating European commitments into local realities.

Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor of Seville and Chair of the Commission for Environment, Climate change and Energy of the Committee of the Regions, added: “The European Green Deal needs to be implemented at both local and regional levels throughout the EU to ensure that no one is left behind. The Transformative Action Award amplifies local and regional best practices that put European commitments into action at the local level and offer inspiration to others.”

The award ceremony will take place virtually on 23 November at 12:15–13:00 CET as part of a European Committee of the Regions (CoR) meeting. The winner will be announced during the ceremony and will receive €10k to support or kick-start a Transformative Action in their city, region or municipality.

In addition, the winner will be presented with a trophy and the right to call themselves Transformative Action of the Year 2021.

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