Tallinn sets sustainability governance trend

10 February 2023

 “European Green Capitals must be innovative and take the lead in creating sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities of the future,” said Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn, in a roundtable in Brussels with former EU Green Capitals this February.

Tallinn is leading the network of European Green Capitals this year and has ambitious plans. The city wants to launch debates on new forms of governance and is looking forward to working with other cities on this topic. Supporting sustainable urban transitions and local green deals is at the heart of its action.

On Wednesday 8 February, the Mayors of Tallinn, Grenoble and Lahti met in Brussels to discuss the best sustainable practices from their cities and how to replicate them across Europe. Their experience as European Green Capital award winners is key to exchanging around sustainable urban governance and to suggesting ways to achieve European climate and environmental objectives.

Roundtable of European Green Capitals, Tallinn Strategy Center, European Green Capital Bureau. Session moderated by Dorthe Nielsen, Executive Director of Eurocities.

More concretely, Tallinn has been focusing on biodiversity and protecting pollinators in the city. The capital of Estonia is also very keen on developing green technology and innovation, areas in which the city already excels. It introduced the Test in Tallinn initiative to test mobility, energy efficiency and renewable energy innovation. The city and will also be holding a green technology week and EXPO in November. It expects to benefit from fresh ideas in green innovation from their implementers coming from all over the world.

The message is clear: innovation can assist cities in becoming more sustainable.

Pekka Timonen, Mayor of Lahti, Veronica Manfredi, DG Environment Director for Zero Pollution and Green Cities, Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, and Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn.

The municipality wants to promote a Europe-wide initiative to consolidate that knowledge and make it available to others across Europe. In practice, the European Green Capital 2023 is planning for the creation of a competence center for urban development and sustainable management. It also wants the development of a cooperation network with other European cities and EU institutions.

“The need for the consolidated leadership skills is already urgent in the context of reconstruction of the Ukrainian cities and support to Ukraine in their EU membership process,” added Mayor Kõlvart.

In this regard, Eurocities just launched a pilot project to assist Ukrainian cities thanks to European experience. The project will mobilise expertise through city-to-city peer-learning and capacity building to assist Ukrainian cities in rebuilding better. 36 Eurocities member cities will work with 10 Ukrainian cities, respecting the objectives of the European Green Deal.

With today’s cities facing growing challenges such as climate change, pandemics, the war in Ukraine and growing social and economic inequality, collaboration and knowledge sharing between cities is needed more than ever.


François Troussier Eurocities Writer