2022: The Year of Greener Cities

Collserola Park, Barbara Pais.

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Because of the impact of urban areas on the environment, the European Parliament has decided that 2022 will be the ‘year of Greener Cities’. This brings a lot of opportunities for, among others, Periurban Parks.

On the 17th of September, the European Parliament proposed that the year 2022 will be the ‘European Year of Greener Cities. The aim is to make urban environments greener and to increase awareness on the benefits of green spaces in an urban environment. These not only include environmental benefits but also benefits linked to health, culture and education. The European Year of Greener Cities will also explicitly focus on topics such as green infrastructure and greener public procurement. The European Parliament has stated that Involving cities is paramount for reaching the targets of the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

Greening cities involves more than just implementing initiatives to make cities more verdant given the importance of clean air, water, soil and a cityscape that promotes biodiversity for ensuring the sustainability of verdant spaces. 

Protected Areas are not explicitly mentioned in the proposal of the European Parliament, which is unfortunate because Periurban Parks highly contribute to the above mentioned ambitions. Therefore, it is key to convince the European Parliament of the importance of involving Periurban Parks in the specific plans that will be developed from this announcement.

The EUROPARC Federation produced a position paper on Periurban Parks and their relevance not only for nature and biodiversity but also climate mitigation, agriculture, health, culture and education. This position paper calls upon cities to be actively involved in the protection of valuable nature in their vicinity and so derive the many benefits Periurban Parks can bring. And there is more to come: On the 4th of December, we will have a webinar on Periurban Parks in which we will present a Toolkit with practical tips for Planning, Designing and Managing Periurban Parks.

The EUROPARC Federation recognizes the importance of Periurban Parks to ensure a healthy and green future for Europe. This is why we are incredibly happy that Fedenatur took the courageous decision to close their organisation and join efforts with EUROPARC three years ago. EUROPARC’s Periurban Commission carries on the legacy of Fedenatur. In this short time, our Periurban friends have complemented the work of EUROPARC, bringing new perspectives from the natural parks closest to cities.