The Green City Accord: a new EU initiative for greener, healthier cities

16 June 2020

Environmental challenges are a growing concern in European cities. Today air pollution is the main environmental cause of premature death and disease, the quality of water bodies is still under significant pressure, and urban wastewater is still not treated properly in two thirds of EU member states.

Meanwhile, noise pollution is on the increase, biodiversity and ecosystems continue to deteriorate, and the management of waste remains an important challenge in many cities. Numerous local policies and practices provide evidence of the capacity of cities to improve the state of Europe’s environment. At a time when over 70% of EU citizens live in urban areas (projected to be 80% by 2050) and environmental challenges are only expected to increase, citizens may be wondering… What will life in their cities look like tomorrow?

The Green City Accord is a movement of European mayors committed to safeguarding the natural environment, which is currently being prepared by the European Commission. The Accord will help cities achieve cleaner and healthier environments, thereby improving the quality of life of citizens. It will mobilise cities willing to step up their actions in five areas of environmental management:

  • Improving air quality;
  • Enhancing nature and biodiversity;
  • Reducing noise pollution;
  • Improving municipal waste management and advancing the circular economy;
  • Improving the quality of water bodies and the efficiency of water use.

Eurocities, ICLEI, and CEMR are supporting the European Commission in developing and implementing the initiative. EUROCITIES is responsible for the overall coordination of the project, identifying and disseminating good practices, and capacity-building and knowledge-transfer activities, such as workshops and city study visits.

What’s in it for cities?

The Accord will offer cities:

  • Visibility for your environmental efforts;
  • A framework for managing local resources more effectively, helping your city deliver its environmental goals in a more integrated way;
  • Technical support to plan and implement environmental actions through a helpdesk, peer-learning and capacity-building;
  • Improved access to information about financing;
  • Opportunities to exchange knowledge and good practices with other cities;
  • A line of communication between cities and European policy-makers.

By implementing the Accord, your city would also be delivering on the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What’s next?

The Accord is expected to be launched – and opened for mayors’ signatures – in October 2020.

This voluntary initiative will be open to all cities in the EU.

Want to find our more?

For more information about the initiative, please visit the Green City Accord website.


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer
Laura Baroni Project coordinator