Germany, Belgium and Portugal are home to the three finalists in the 2019 edition of the prestigious Transformative Action Award. The leading European Sustainability Award platform is spearheaded by ICLEI, the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark) and supported by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). It recognises ‘ongoing or completed’ initiatives progressing the ‘15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration that advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Award celebrates the ambition of cities and municipalities to create sustainable communities,” said Karl Heinz-Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions and host of the Transformative Action Award Ceremony. “It sends a clear message that local democracy and citizen engagement are the driving force for a sustainable future.”

The contenders are:

Circular Berlin, Germany, for advancing circular economy in the German capital, through providing platforms for engagement and knowledge exchange and supporting local actors through collaboration;

Leuven2030, Belgium, for bringing together all local stakeholders to create a comprehensive roadmap to a carbon-neutral future, and for creating an innovative governance model to implement it, and

The City of Lousada, Portugal, for using environmental education to promote environmental practices, inspire and support alternative ways of creating conservation areas and job opportunities, and reconnecting local citizens with their rural landscape.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 21 November at the CoR in Brussels. As well as receiving €10.000 and the title: Transformative Action of the year 2019, the winner will be granted free access and an opportunity to present at Mannheim2020 (30 September-2 October), an event which will ‘act as the multi-level interface between the European Union and sustainability action at a local level’.

The jury were also impressed this year with the City of Umeå (Sweden), for its actions in delivering a public library for sports-equipment, toys and leisure items.

“Umeå deserves particular recognition for their inspiring and heartening transformative action, which allows children to overcome economic barriers to participating in cultural activities, fosters inclusion, and supports and strengthens the local community, while reducing environmental impact,” added Wolfgang Teubner, Jury Member and ICLEI Europe Regional Director.