The prestigious title was awarded at a ceremony in Nijmegen (the European Green Capital 2018 while Oslo is European Green Capital from 2019) by Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.
In handing over the award, she said: “As we enter the second decade of the European Green Capital Awards, the initiative has become even more significant than ever. Globally we are faced with enormous environmental challenges.
“Climate change, over- consumption, plastic waste and biodiversity loss are major threats to our cities and our future. It is heartening and inspiring to see such strong leadership from Lisbon, and other European Green Capital winners.”
The jury felt that Lisbon – which started its journey towards sustainability during a period of economic crisis – can be an inspiration and a role-model for many cities across the EU, demonstrating clearly that sustainability and economic growth go hand in hand.
The expert panel highlighted that Lisbon is particularly strong in the field of sustainable land use, sustainable urban mobility (transport), green growth & eco innovation, climate change adaptation and waste.
Lisbon was the first capital in Europe to sign the New Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change and Energy in 2016, after achieving a 50 percent reduction in C02 emissions (2002-14); reducing energy consumption by 23 percent and water consumption by 17 percent from 2007 to 2013.
It has a clear vision for sustainable urban mobility, with measures to restrict car use and prioritise cycling, public transport, and walking.
Other reasons for winning the award were that in 2017 Lisbon launched a bike-sharing scheme, with electric bikes comprising two thirds of the fleet to encourage cycling in the hillier parts of the city; it has one of the world’s largest networks of electric vehicle charging points, while 39 percent of the municipal car fleet is electric; 93.3 percent of people in Lisbon live within 300m of a frequent public transport service; and 76 percent of people in Lisbon live within 300m of green urban areas.
It has a strong commitment to sustainable land use with particular focus on establishing green infrastructure, or connected networks of green space, to counteract the effects of climate change, such as drought, extreme heat, and storm flooding.
The Spanish city of Cornellà de Llobregat was commended for its commitment to sustainable transport modes and water management measures, and the Dutch city of Horst aan de Maas was recognised for its well-planned inclusive urban strategy and its extensive bicycle and public transport network.