Ghent was named the 2018 Transformative Action Award winner at a ceremony in Brussels this month.

The Belgian city won the prestigious European sustainability title at an event co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Country, and the City of Aalborg (Denmark) and supported by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank. Beating off stiff competition from Bologna and Tirana, Ghent came out on top thanks to its Transformative Action, Gent en Garde, which ‘seeks to transform the city’s local food system through participative governance models’.

 

“Gent en Garde is our ambitious programme towards a more sustainable local food system. We want our food system to be local, resilient and fair. The challenge is huge and requires the commitment of many stakeholders and change at many levels. But we believe our approach is working and we will work hard to further scale this up in Ghent,” Deputy Mayor of Ghent, Tine Heyse, told the ICLEI news team. “For us this award is very important. The launch of our own local food policy has been one of our top priorities and we are very pleased to see it recognised. Gent en garde has brought significant change to our local food system: through it, we are decreasing food waste, making food procurement more sustainable, and improving access to food. I would like to underscore the importance of the Basque Declaration – it has been instrumental in guiding our sustainability ambitions.

 

Through its work Ghent successfully implemented the 15 pathways outlined in the Basque Declaration, a key criteria of the awards, which is about delivering ‘socio-cultural, socio-economic, and technological transformation of the community’.