Europe selects Leuven as pioneering climate city

April 28, 2022
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Leuven is one of the 100 cities chosen by the European Commission for the mission '100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030'. With this mission, Europe supports the selected cities with expertise and (financial) resources in their journey towards climate neutrality by 2030.

"After our awards as European Green Leaf and European Innovation Capital, this is once again a great recognition for the Leuven collaborative model and the efforts we are making on climate neutrality and innovation. Europe regards Leuven as an innovation lab, a city that can serve as an example to other European cities. This reinforces our ambition to make Leuven one of the most sustainable, progressive and prosperous cities in Europe, with and for everyone", says a proud Mayor Mohamed Ridouani.

European mission

Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to land a man on the moon, Europe chose to use mission-based innovation to provide concrete solutions to one of the world's greatest challenges: climate change. In November, the Commission launched a call for cities to apply for the European mission '100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030', aimed at cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Out of almost 400 cities, Leuven was selected together with the Belgian cities Brussels, Antwerp and La Louvière and other European cities such as Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen to join the urgent and huge task Europe is undertaking to become climate neutral.

Europe will support the 100 cities with expertise and financial resources on their way to climate neutrality by 2030. Based on the experiences and lessons learned from this leading group, all other European cities will be helped to become climate neutral by 2050.

Acceleration of Leuven's climate ambitions

By being selected as a pioneering city, Leuven becomes an experimentation and innovation hub and an example for other European cities. "Leuven has been working on an ambitious climate policy for years, where no one should be left out. The fact that our city has now been chosen for the European Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities offers the opportunity to realise those ambitions more quickly. This puts our city in the leading group of European climate cities. We remain convinced that cities can make a decisive contribution to the global fight against global warming," said David Dessers, alderman for climate.

In the next eight years, the selected cities will do everything in their power to make their cities and Europe future-proof. A first step in this process is the drafting of a "Climate City Contract", which includes the path to accelerated climate neutrality by 2030 and a financial plan. This contract is to be drawn up through cooperation with local partners, with each partner formally stating its commitment. "We will now get to work with Leuven's partners, from governments, knowledge institutions, businesses and organisations to residents, to submit a strong and supported action plan," says Katrien Rycken, Director of Leuven 2030. "This selection gives us the opportunity to financially solidify and accelerate the implementation of the Roadmap, a scientific step-by-step plan that we drew up together with experts."

"By reconnecting the diverse strengths in Leuven, we are bringing maximum resources and support to Leuven, so that the solutions of the future take shape here. Our model of radical collaboration and committed leadership has not escaped Europe's notice and forms a blueprint for other European cities," concludes Mayor Ridouani.

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