Making smarter cities a large-scale reality in Europe

A growing number of Europe’s biggest cities are signing up to ‘EUROCITIES Green Digital Charter’ that commits them to reducing emissions through Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

An official signing ceremony was held on 23 February as part of the High Level Event on ICT for Energy Efficiency organised by the European Commission, in cooperation with the Spanish Presidency of the EU, and EUROCITIES.

Joining the first 14 cities that signed up to the charter in November 2009, these latest 7 signatories - Amsterdam, Bologna, Helsinki, Malaga, Nice Cote d’Azur, Porto and Rijeka - have agreed to:

- Deploy five large-scale ICT pilot projects before 2015;
- Decrease ICT’s direct carbon footprint by 30% by 2020; and
- Create a partnership of cities on ICT & Energy Efficiency to work until 2011.

The city of Nuremberg intends to join the group in March.

Today, cities across Europe are responsible for a main share of emissions, but they are also well-placed to deliver solutions. In terms of specific measures aimed at reducing emissions through IT, city councils that get behind the charter will identify opportunities to use new technologies at a critical scale, provide for regulatory incentives, set up new types of public-private partnerships with business, industry and the voluntary sector, and share expertise and practice with fellow cities.

At the event’s opening ceremony, Digital agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes warmly welcomed the Green Digital Charter that sets targerts to reduce carbon emissions and to deploy five large scale ICT pilots for cities before 2015.

The signature of the document already by 21 cities follows the Commission Recommendation adopted in October 2009 that emphasises the role of the public authorities in achieving the EU’s 2020 targets. The Commission will encourage more of these sorts of collaboration.

The Green Digital Charter originates from talks between EUROCITIES, Manchester City and the European Commission.

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