The COVID-19 pandemic clearly showed that municipalities are at the forefront of tackling crises. That’s why we need resilient municipalities and regions to lead on the recovery and prepare for future shocks, while continuing to shape a sustainable future for all!
At the Greening from the Ground Up Conference on 7-8 May, mayors and local councillors got together to discuss how we can achieve this together. They touched on the topics of making space for youth and children, the role of digital technologies, climate-friendly solutions, prioritising openness and inclusivity, the future of mobility, and ensuring safety and wellbeing for all. We are proud to have more than 16,000 Green local councillors – now connected through the Local Councillors Network – and 300 Green mayors working to provide well-being and a more just and sustainable future to citizens in municipalities and regions throughout Europe.
How Greens are leading progressive change at the municipal and regional level
Thousands of local councillors and mayors are delivering green innovation and solutions to create a better future for all – tackling mobility, biodiversity, energy savings and production, food systems, social cohesion, inclusivity and more. Regions and municipalities are also at the forefront of citizen engagement and thus a cornerstone of democracy in the EU.
Throughout the Greening from the Ground Up Conference, Green mayors and local councillors emphasised the importance of rethinking cities and communities to enhance the wellbeing of people and the planet. Colette Finn, Local Councillor of Cork City South-West in Ireland, spoke of securing a more car-free future to win more space and quality of life in a post-pandemic future “One of the impetuses for creating more cycle routes was because nurses petitioned for a safer route to work. As restrictions lifted, they had to compete with cars again.” Papi Robles, Member of the Valencian Parliament and Spokesperson of the Compromís coalition, spoke of the importance of creating inclusive cities, emphasising the need “to make the LGBT movement visible, to let it occupy public spaces, and work closely with the community.” Luka Rakcevic, Local councillor in Podgorica, Montenegro, insisted on youth participation in political decision-making: “Without young people participating, we cannot achieve anything.” These are just some examples of the forward-thinking best practices and solutions that Greens are applying in municipalities and regions across Europe!
Vula Tsetsi, European Greens Committee Member, speaking to the mayors and local councillors at the event, highlighted the renewed importance of local and regional politics:
“Things are changing because a lot of European decisions have an impact on the local and regional level and all the crises of today have a direct impact on more than 70% of the European population which are in urban areas. (…) You as elected people are our best ambassadors to show that changes are possible. Quality of life is possible. Sustainable development is possible. Sustainable transport is possible. Breathing an air which is clean is possible. And it is possible to fight inequalities.”
Greens are most present at the local level and are committed to driving changes to ensure a more sustainable and resilient Europe!