Europe’s ‘Green Capitals’ set to get greener from 2017

green-european-capital-2014-copenhagenEvery year, one European city with more than 100,000 inhabitants is chosen as Europe’s Green Capital, the winning city commits to a number of environmental, biodiversity and climate goals (1).

However, since the Green Capital award was established in 2010 (fawarded to Copenhagen, pictured,in 2014) no specific attention has ever been given to pesticides, despite the danger from exposure was recognized by the European Union decades ago leading to the establishment of the Sustainable Use Directive on Pesticides (SUDP) in 2009 (2).

During the recent Green Week organized in Brussels, the selection criterias for municipalities wishing to become Europe Green Capital in 2017 were published (3). For the first time, making a strong reference to the SUDP reminding “the need to improve water quality, minimize or prohibit use in certain specific areas such as public and protected areas, and introduction of integrated pest management in European farming sector”.

As a result, municipalities wishing to participate in the 2017 award will need to give details regarding trends in local water quality, and regarding their intention to reduce use of pesticides in both public areas and in protected – or green – areas. However, municipalities still do not need to give details regarding how to detox the food which is eaten in the cities, despite the fact that low input agriculture, especially organic in local food chains – have huge potential as drivers in the local change towards the development of sustainable societies (4).

PAN Europe President François Veillerette said: “It is great that EU is now asking
municipalities to name actions on pesticide issues to become considered as Green Capitals.
PAN Europe and our national PAN groups are more and more often contacted by concerned
parents, dog owners, nature lovers etc. for advise and actions, and organic town is a fast
growing phenomenon.” (5).

Nick Mole, PAN UK, added: “Copenhagen, European Green Capital in 2014, banned the use
of pesticides in public areas in 1997, showing that cities wanting to be really green cannot
continue to use poisons in the parks and streets where its citizens work, live and play.
We hope that Bristol will take of of this and commit to going pesticide free in time for 2015.”

Footnotes

(1) Click here.
(2) Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009 on Sustainable Use of Pesticides.
(3) Click here.
(4) The guideline on EU Green Capitals specifies refers to article ‘11, 12 and 14 of the
Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive 128/2009’, While municipalities will have to explain: 1) what is done on water quality, among others defined in article 11 of the SUDP on specific measures to protect the aquatic environment and drinking water; and 2) what they will do to reduce pesticide use in public and sensitive – green – areas, among others defined in article 12 on reduction of pesticide use or risks in specific areas. Municipalities still do not need to explain which ‘measures they take to promote low pesticide-input pest management, giving wherever possible priority to non-chemical methods, so that professional users of pesticides switch to practices and products with the lowest risk to human health and the environment among those available for the same pest problem, including both integrated pest management and organic farming, though this is a clear requirement according to article 14 of the SUDP.
(5) See the map of the 768 French towns already detoxed here.

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Category: A Frontpage, Biodiversity, Climate change, Environment, EU, Green Week, Pesticides