Does València deserve to become European Capital of Innovation?
Valencia greenlights its first mission to achieve climate neutrality by 2030
It will be the first mission developed within the Missions Valencia 2030 framework, and it is designed as a part of the Valencia Urban Strategy 2030.
The 100 shortlisted cities will act as an innovation hub for other cities. Therefore hundreds of European cities will find their inspiration, learn and replicate the ideas and solutions issued from this mission.
The Valencia Urban Strategy 2030 as well as the Missions Valencia 2030 framework were supported by the vast majority of the municipality’s political groups.
During its plenary session on February 25th mission, the Valencia City Council adopted the Mission Valencia Neutral City. The goal is for at least 3 city neighborhoods or towns to become climate neutral by 2030 by (and for) the citizens. This initiative was supported by the vast majority of the municipality’s political groups, such as Compromís, PSPV, PP, and Ciudadanos.
This is the first mission developed within the Missions Valencia 2030 framework, carried out by the City Council and the innovation center Las Naves. It is designed as a part of the Valencia Urban Strategy 2030 which, on the one hand, will articulate the needed cross-cutting coordination and the deployment of tasks to be performed by the different delegations and the local public sector. On the other hand it will forge alliances, appropriate networks and public-private partnerships in order to boost the needed systemic innovation and transformation for the success of the Mission Valencia Neutral City.
The mitigation of the effects of climate change is one of the main challenges for humankind. Nevertheless, the time frame for action is narrowing, and therefore there is a need to accelerate the transformation so to respond in a context already widely acknowledged as a climate emergency. In this regard, cities are called to play a crucial role, as they are responsible for 72 % of global emissions, and by 2050 they will concentrate 80% of the global population.
Councilman for Innovation and Management of Knowledge at Valencia City Council, Mr. Carlos Galiana, stated that “we wish to make an institutional call to all actors from civil society, academia and researchers, economic sectors and other public institutions of the Valencia Region, the Spanish Government and the European Union, so they join the Valencia climate mission. This is a collective journey where everyone has their place”.
Following the adoption, the City Council will boost and deploy the tasks needed to submit Valencia’s application as a candidate to be one of the 100 European cities shortlisted in the context of European Mission: 100 neutral European cities before 2030 by (and for) the citizens.
Valencia Neutral City, a consensual mission
The general framework for the Valencia Urban Strategy 2030 was ratified last September 24th 2020 by the City Council Plenary, with the support of the vast majority of the municipality’s political groups. This agreement confirms the political and ethical engagement of Valencia with the SDG, the Agenda 2030 and the Urban Agenda so to translate them into cross-cutting references for public policies in the city. In that sense, the green transition seems to be one main aspiration thanks to the planning-action-learning approach based on innovation and experience, which aligns perfectly with the missions approach.
The Missions Valencia 2030 framework was adopted in the plenary session on May 28th 2020, also with a broad consensus among most political groups. In this framework, we can find relevant European and Valencian areas on which missions can be focused. In the eyes of Valencia as a sustainable city, one of the areas identified was a 50% reduction of CO2 emissions in Valencia. This aligns with one of the five priorities of the European Commission.
In this European, national and local context, Valencia City Council strengthens its engagement to stay at the European avant-garde to mitigate the climate emergency and to boost missions-oriented innovation in order to improve the quality of life of our citizens. For that matter, the adoption of a neutral city mission is a huge opportunity for Valencia, considering the impact on health, sustainability, green transition, climate change adaptation, investment attraction, and the promotion of carbon-neutral economic initiatives, the creation of jobs and fostering research and innovation.
Mission 100 neutral European cities by 2030 by (and for) the citizens
One of the missions set by the European Commission was for 100 European cities to become carbon-neutral by 2030 by (and for) the citizens. The goal would be to support, promote and showcase how 100 European cities can run the path towards climate neutrality before 2030 by the means of a systemic transformation, keeping in mind that the global European goal is set for 2050. For large cities as Valencia, the European Union doesn’t understand the concept of “city” as a whole, but rather scaled down to neighborhoods, districts or areas of special interest inside the city that would comply with some conditions and requirements.
The European Commission proposes the signature of a Climate City Contract to the 100 cities shortlisted during this first decade as a new mechanism to deploy the support from the EU. This climate contract will be signed by the Mayor of the city, the European Commission and regional and national governments.
Citizens are most relevant in this climate mission, as its success will depend on the role that people play. This should be an active and leading role thanks to new platforms of action and better resources for that purpose. At least 1% of the funds allocated to cities through the climate city contract will be invested in supporting citizens to develop and implement climate actions.
The 100 signatory cities of the climate contract will develop and implement a new concept of innovation: systemic innovation.
They will work hand in hand to face common challenges and to create economies of scale. During this process, the 100 shortlisted cities will act as an innovation hub for other cities. Therefore, hundreds of European cities will find their inspiration, learn and replicate the ideas and solutions issued from this mission.
The main criteria for the selection of the 100 European cities will be their ambition, their engagement, their capability and their citizen engagement. Also, inclusion and cohesion will be general principles allowing a fair geographical balance and differences between the preparation levels of the cities.