València signs with Madrid, Barcelona and Seville an agreement to accelerate the path towards climate neutrality

On Wednesday, Joan Ribó, Mayor of València, and the Mayors of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona signed an agreement that will transform these cities and accelerate energy and ecological transition before 2030. This compact is a part of the citiES 2030 initiative, brought by the El Día Después platform. As Mayor Ribó stated during the event: “the challenge consists not only in making climate-neutral cities, but in achieving this as fast as possible”.

In his speech at the event, held this morning at the Senate premises, Joan Ribó pointed out the “great transcendence of this institutional declaration that we sign today, as it could become the seed for a great compact between cities for decarbonization”. As a matter of fact, the Mayor of València defended the idea included in the compact “between private sector, public sector, academia, civil society, citizens and media in order to ensure a real collective project towards sustainable transition. A project -he added- that goes beyond a specific Government or City Council when becoming a real city project”.


Ambassador bodies for the missions

This agreement is part of the Cities Mission launched by the European Commission in 2020, in the framework of the Horizon Europe program, the goal being to reach 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030 thanks to and for the citizens. Mayor Joan Ribó explained that València adopted a city strategy “that combines the Urban Agenda (with its set of targets to move forward in our Mediterranean model of sustainable, healthy, prosperous and shared city) and the mission-oriented innovation”. In that context, the Mayor referred to the figure of “ambassador bodies of the mission, created to articulate a wide city social compact for its decarbonization”.

Precisely, the agreement signed this morning has the aim of promoting innovative ways of cooperation between cities, public and private bodies, universities and research centers, as well as civil society organizations, which will accelerate the needed transformation that will make us sustainable, healthy and resilient cities. The four signatory cities committed to run “solutions that will promote equity and produce social, economic and environmental benefits, as well as to design a road map for decarbonization and ecological transition”.

The event at the Senate was chaired by Teresa Ribera, Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographical Challenge, who signed the declaration on behalf of the Government. The chair of the Senate, Ander Gil, the Spanish Minister for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, Ione Belarra, the Minister for Transportation, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sanchez, the Minister for Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, and the chair of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, Abel Caballero, also took part of the event. Furthermore, hand in hand with the Mayors of the four signatory cities, (Joan Ribó from Valencia, José Luis Martínez-Almeida from Madrid, Ada Colau from Barcelona and Juan Espadas from Seville) the Mayors of the following cities also attended the theme tables: Teruel, Arnedo, Soria, Nijar, Lugo, Vitoria, Cáceres and Toledo. In addition to the Mayors of the signatory and participant cities and to the Spanish Government, this declaration is also supported by the European Commission and a wide number of civil society and city networks bodies.

This agreement is designed so that, in the months to come, other Spanish cities, administrations and public and private sector bodies can subscribe and participate. Therefore, the Mayors of Arnedo, Cáceres, Lugo, Níjar, Soria, Teruel, Toledo and Vitoria also participated in the event.


“This is the time to go further”

The Mayor of València highlighted the importance of the responsibility held by the participant bodies, and stated that “the time has come to go further”. Ribó stressed out the need of “defining at every administration level what the specific commitments and actions for decarbonization will be in each city”.

He explained that “in Valencia we consider 2020-2030 as a key decade for action if we are willing to respect the decarbonization goals. That is why we are fostering a wide range of policies, such as the progress in bicycle mobility and public transportation, the promotion towards energy transition through local energy communities, the development of the Green Plan for making the city greener, a tourism model based on zero emissions, recovering the public space for the people thanks to the project València Ciudad de Plazas y de Peatones, the protection of the Horta and the support of a sustainable and local diet, as well as developing a “15 minutes” city.

Julio Lumbreras, professor at the Polytechnic University in Madrid and coordinator of the community Ciudades de El Día Después, stated that “cities are a key actor for climate-neutrality, as they release over 70% of global greenhouse gases. In order to avoid emissions, they need a deep transformation that will create wellbeing, jobs, economic tissue and security to become sustainable and healthy cities. For that purpose, the European Cities Mission and its implementation in Spain (citiES 2030) is the facilitator tool to reach that transformation”.


About the citiES 2030 initiative

citiES 2030 is an initiative to accelerate and enforce the Cities Mission in Spain. This mission seeks to become the main instrument for the economic and social transformation that European cities need to address for ecological transition. This mission is based on the following points: systemic innovation by the means of interconnected projects; cooperation between academia, public administration, companies and civil society; an active citizen participation; promoting multilevel governance models and articulating a public-private funding.

That way, it becomes a tool to accelerate the enforcing of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, as well as a driving force for the European Green Deal.

citiES 2030 is boosted by the El Día Después platform, integrated by Iberdrola, ISGlobal, the Spanish Network for Sustainable Development (REDS) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and also boosted by RocaJunyent and by over 20 Spanish City Councils. It was therefore created as a multiactor cooperation space to prove how systemic innovation and open knowledge can lead the way to social, economic and environmental transformation.