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EU selects Leuven as one of the pioneering climate cities of the continent

28 April 2022

Leuven is one of the 100 cities chosen by the European Commission from 400 cities for the mission '100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030'. With this mission, Europe supports the selected cities with expertise and (financial) resources in their journey towards climate neutrality by 2030. Leuven has been selected for Belgium together with Brussels, Antwerp and La Louvière.

Leuven as an innovation lab

"After our crowning as European Green Leaf and European Innovation Capital, this is another great recognition for Leuven's model of collaboration and the efforts we are making around climate and innovation", says a proud Mayor Mohamed Ridouani.

"Europe sees in Leuven an innovation lab, a city that can serve as an example for other European cities. This reinforces our ambition to make Leuven one of the most sustainable, progressive and prosperous cities in Europe, with and for everyone."

European mission

Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to land a man on the moon, Europe chose to use mission-based innovation to provide concrete solutions to one of the world's greatest challenges: climate change. In November, the Commission launched a call for cities to apply for the European mission "100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030," aimed at cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Nearly 400 cities applied to join the urgent and enormous mission Europe is undertaking to become climate-neutral.

Europe will support the 100 cities with expertise and financial resources on their way to climate neutrality by 2030. Based on the experiences and lessons learned from this leading group, the aim is to help all the other European cities to become climate neutral by 2050.

Accelerating Leuven's climate ambitions

By being selected as a pioneering city, Leuven becomes an experimentation and innovation hub and an example for other European cities. "Leuven has been working on an ambitious climate policy for years, where no one should be left out. The fact that our city has now been chosen for the European Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities offers the opportunity to realise those ambitions more quickly. This puts our city in the leading group of European climate cities. We remain convinced that cities from the bottom up can make a decisive contribution to the global fight against the warming of our planet," said David Dessers, alderman for climate.

In the next eight years the selected cities will do everything in their power to make the city and Europe future-proof. A first step in this process is the drafting of a "Climate City Contract", which includes the path to accelerated climate neutrality by 2030 and a financial plan. This contract is to be created through a collaboration with local partners, in which each formally states their commitment.

"We will now get to work with Leuven's partners, from governments, knowledge institutions, businesses and organizations to residents, to submit a strong and supported action plan," says Katrien Rycken, director of Leuven 2030. "This selection gives us the opportunity to financially underpin and accelerate the implementation of the Roadmap, a scientific roadmap that we drew up together with experts."

"By reconnecting the diverse forces in Leuven, we are bringing maximum resources and support to Leuven so that the solutions of the future take shape here. Our model of radical collaboration and engaged leadership is not escaping Europe either and is a blueprint for other European cities," concludes Mayor Ridouani.

Source: Leuven 2030

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