The “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award” was conferred to Izmir (Turkey) during the high-level session of the 20th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention which is being held in Tirana, Albania (17-20 December 2017).
Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan, introduced the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award” and the procedure followed for the nomination and selection of the winner, including through public voting.
H.E. Ornela Cuci, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania presented the commemorative plaque to the mayor of Izmir, Mr. Aziz Kocaoglu. The municipality was congratulated on its exemplary implementation of an urban political agenda in the region. They also expressed their appreciation for the high quality of the applications submitted by the other candidate-cities for the award.
Mr. Aziz Kocaoglu accepted the award on behalf of the people of Izmir and noted the numerous environmental investments and projects implemented in Izmir while encouraging participants to experience the city that thinks about its future.
An environment friendly city is a coastal city in which people enjoy a high quality of life and where sustainable development takes place within the carrying capacity of healthy ecosystems. Izmir was selected as the winner of this pilot edition of the award, among 17 applicant-cities. The selection was made through a process applying criteria under four main categories: Nature and biodiversity protection; built environment; Social, economic, and cultural sustainability; and Governance.
The Contracting Parties established the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award“ to recognize and reward the efforts of local authorities to improve the environment and the quality of life, and to promote sustainable development in Mediterranean coastal towns and cities.
Planning and managing sustainable Mediterranean cities is also one of the six objectives of the “Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016-2015” (MSSD), a guiding document for all stakeholders and partners to translate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional, sub-regional, and national levels. The “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award” is specifically referenced as a flagship initiative in the MSSD, and it is also consistent with relevant priorities of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan and the Acton Plan for the Implementation of the ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean.