"Good governance at the local and regional level means protecting the environment and combating global warming," stated Congress President Anders Knape, on the occasion of the World Environment Day, 5 June 2020.
"Municipalities and regions are key partners for national authorities in this regard " said Anders Knape, stressing their specific responsibilities in the design of urban policies, waste management, water policy and public transport, among others.
The President of the Congress recalled that the European Charter of Local Self-Government guarantees the rights of local authorities based the principle of decentralisation. "In environmental matters too, local and regional authorities must be consulted and involved in drawing up national strategies to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities," Anders Knape stressed.
"The coronavirus pandemic has shown the crucial role of municipalities and regions and their capacity to provide adequate responses in times of crisis. This also prevails in the face of today's environmental challenge. This is why the Congress will continue its work to mobilise local and regional authorities and develop innovative strategies for a healthy environment," concluded the President of the Congress.
This approach echoes the final declaration of the Georgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, adopted in February 2020, which encourages initiatives at the institutional level throughout the Council of Europe, in particular within the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
For several years, the Congress has been strongly committed to promoting the right to a healthy environment in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. It has adopted recommendations and resolutions on various crucial issues relating to environmental quality, climate change and energy transition. Today, this action is framed in the context of the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local and regional level – in particular Sustainable Development GOAL 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.