Lift off for Green Week 2019

EU environmental laws have a massive impact on our lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and encourage recycling. That’s why EU Green Week 2019 puts the importance of their proper implementation into the spotlight.

While many partner events have already taken place around Europe, today we officially opened the Week with an event hosted by Poland’s Mazowieckie region entitled 'From legal provision to a healthy environment around us'. Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie region, and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries as well as other representatives of national and local authorities were present, highlighting the essential role of collaboration between all levels of governance.

EU environmental laws have a massive impact on our lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and encourage recycling. That’s why EU Green Week 2019 puts the importance of their proper implementation into the spotlight.

While many partner events have already taken place around Europe, today we officially opened the Week with an event hosted by Poland’s Mazowieckie region entitled 'From legal provision to a healthy environment around us'. Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie region, and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries as well as other representatives of national and local authorities were present, highlighting the essential role of collaboration between all levels of governance.

EU environmental laws have a massive impact on our lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and encourage recycling. That’s why EU Green Week 2019 puts the importance of their proper implementation into the spotlight.

While many partner events have already taken place around Europe, today we officially opened the Week with an event hosted by Poland’s Mazowieckie region entitled 'From legal provision to a healthy environment around us'. Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie region, and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries as well as other representatives of national and local authorities were present, highlighting the essential role of collaboration between all levels of governance.

Quote of the day

Quote of the day

I want this year’s Green Week to be a reminder of the power you have at your disposal. Implementation is all about you – it happens on a daily basis, on the ground, from people like you. And let’s not forget one other power you have as well. If you want to protect these policies, and help shape them for the next generation, then you need to remember to vote. The European Elections are only one week away. Your vote is your voice – your most powerful tool for change. So remember to cast it wisely!

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

10.00-15.00 – EU Green Week 2019 opens in Warsaw

After the welcoming speeches, experts at the EU Green Week 2019 opening event got down to business. A number of presentations were given during the morning on various subjects related to the main theme. They included: the role of regions in creating and implementing environmental law; the environmental dimension of implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Poland; implementation of EU environmental laws in Mazowieckie; and the impact of technology on environmental policies, particularly as regards energy storage.

Taking a break from the serious business, delegates attended a picnic in the Warsaw University library garden. One of the largest rooftop gardens in Europe, it is divided into upper and lower parts connected by a cascading stream and provides an ideal vantage point from which to view the city skyline.

Returning from the picnic, participants took part in a panel discussion on putting energy efficiency theory into practice, with input from representatives of local authorities that have been successful in deploying new environmental technologies.

The event concluded with Commissioner Vella and Marshal Struzik handing over prizes to the winners of an environmental competition for primary and secondary schools.

Mazovia region is proving an excellent example of virtues of cooperation. I expected to see national, regional and local governments working together – but actually you have done more. You're bringing academia on board as well, and teaming up with businesses to develop innovative technologies. And when your young public joins in as well, it's clear that you're taking the fastest track possible to solve the challenge of implementation.” Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

9.00-12.00 – Better management of protected areas

Better implementation of EU conservation legislation requires the development of a sense of ownership among all stakeholders regarding the management of protected areas. ‘Inclusive conservation’ is a trans-disciplinary approach aimed at balancing different stakeholder visions and promoting agreement on future management.

A workshop held today in Brussels by the International Union for Conservation of Nature brought together protected areas practitioners and landowners to discuss inclusive conservation and its role in the future management of Natura 2000 sites. The event took place under the ENVISION project, which aims to support integration of inclusive conservation into protected area management.

Presentations provided perspectives from the EUROPARC Federation - the representative body of Europe’s protected areas, and the European Landowners' Organisation, also looking at the current management status of the Natura 2000 network. A panel discussion then took place on how inclusive conservation could help Natura 2000 beyond 2020, with conclusions and next steps outlined at the end.

Inclusive conservation is about balancing multiple visions and scenarios for protected area management to improve biodiversity and human well-being,” Prof. Christopher Raymond, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and University of Helsinki

All day – EU day at Italian water festival

The fifth edition of Italy’s biennial Festival dell'Acqua (water festival) runs from 13 to 15 May in Bressanone/Brixen, a town with a bilingual Italian/German-speaking population. A key national event focusing on water-related environmental issues, it began today with a dedicated ‘EU day’ focusing on EU water and environmental policies. European, national, local and sectoral bodies got involved, as did school groups.

This year’s edition is also linked to the Water Light Festival, which showcases water- and light-based artistic installations.

13-17 May – Developing circular cities in Portugal

Ever more attention is being paid to the need to develop a circular economy, particularly in cities. Launched today in Viseu, Portugal, Circular Cities aims to raise awareness of the issue and highlight the benefits of compliance with EU environmental legislation among the local community.

The first day of the event featured discussions on sustainable cities and low-carbon policies, citizen engagement with EU law and working together in a circular economy. This was followed in the evening by the screening of a video entitled ‘Food in the city’ and sustainable cooking by local chefs.

Circular Cities continues all week, with activities to encourage businesses to act more sustainably, a circular economy contest for students, a walking tour and workshop for older people, and recycling and farming workshops and theatre presentations for youngsters.

No one has doubts that summers are hotter and drier today and that will create an island of heat that impacts health and causes greater demand in water consumption. Green economy is very important, whether it is in terms of climatic impact or in the creation of jobs. It is crucial to respect nature.” Joaquim Seixas, vice-mayor of Viseu City Council

13-17 May – A cleaner, greener Novi Sad

A five-day networking event aimed at raising awareness of the importance of water, waste management, nature and biodiversity for urban quality of life began today in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, 2019 European Youth Capital and 2021 European Capital of Culture.

Organised by the Mileva Marić Einstein non-profit association, together with local authorities and schools, Clean and Green Novi Sad targets youth under 18s, families and the general public.

Following the official opening ceremony at the Vuk Karadzic elementary school, a range of interactive workshops took place focusing on subjects such as measurement of water flow through plants, afforestation, recycling, how we use oxygen from the air and observation of plant spores under microscopes. Other activities included an ecological puppet show, a quiz on water, and artistic and literary competitions on the theme of ‘water means life’.

Coming up tomorrow

Coming up tomorrow

Watch out for events on circular waste management, zero-emission delivery services and the fight against smog, as well as an environment and art festival in Thessaloniki, Greece.