Garden in Lisbon. Photo Wikimedia Commons.
Lisbon in Portugal won the European Green Capital Award 2020. The opening ceremony took place on 10 January 2020. According to the jury Lisbon can act as an inspiration and role-model for climate adaptation in other cities across Europe. The city receives a financial incentive of 350.000 euros from the European Commission to kick-start its green capital year.
Lisbon was selected because is particularly strong in the field of sustainable land use, sustainable urban transport, green growth, eco innovation, climate change adaptation and waste treatment. Lisbon was the first capital in Europe to sign the New Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change and Energy in 2016. They managed to reduce water consumption by 17% from 2007 to 2013. The city also took measures to restrict car use and prioritise cycling, public transport and walking.
Furthermore Lisbon is establishing green infrastructure to counteract the effects of climate change, such as drought, extreme heat and storm flooding. ‘Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and the second largest European port on the Atlantic Ocean. The city faces environmental threats, including those linked to the impacts of climate change, and has been vulnerable to financial crisis in recent decades which triggered socio-economic and socio-spatial stresses on the city’s ecosystem’, stated the European Commission.
Preparing for storms
The city is preparing for storms by integrating response services to increase efficiency and effectiveness. But officials recognize that they have more work to do to plan effectively for larger, more severe events brought on by climate change. Lisbon resilience action planstates the city must overcome financial constraints as it integrates emergency response with proactive city planning. The main challenges are the aging infrastructure, buildings, population, accessibility and social cohesion and inclusion.