The European Commission has launched an initiative calling for innovative projects that tackle the climate crisis. As part of the deal, €1 billion was allocated to fund projects that combat the climate crisis. The goal is to help protect the biodiversity and unique ecosystems of Europe. A deadline of 26 January 2021 has been set for submissions, and successfully funded projects are anticipated to start in autumn.
The ten areas of focus are:
• Growing climate ambition
• Improving industry geared for a clean economy
• Making affordable, secure, clean energy available
• Resource and energy-efficient buildings
• Farm-to-fork initiatives
• Smart, sustainable mobility
• Ecosystems and biodiversity
• Toxin and pollution-free environments
• Empowering citizens to make green choices
• Increasing knowledge of green initiatives
In support of moving the Green Deal from concept into action, a declaration called the Mannheim Message was formulated.
The Mannheim Message: Systemic Change Starts Here
Local decision-makers in Europe were overwhelmingly positive in response to the proposed Green Deal. A meeting was held just before the 9th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, where local leaders converged and launched the Mannheim Message. This was created as a declaration that cities should be engaged in the Green Deal, and a call to involve local governments in policy development.
The Mannheim Message proposes five core systemic changes, all in line with the European Green Deal:
• Transforming infrastructure and systems locally
• Development beyond competition and growth
• Solidarity, cooperation, and inclusion
• A culture and lifestyle shift towards optimization and sufficiency
• Re-orientation towards the common good
Based on these changes, decision-makers agree to implement the Green Deal alongside national governments and collaborate with the European Union. The Mannheim Message is a clear outline of the vital role that leaders have in shaping a fair transition. The Green Deal must drive sustainability across all policies in the EU. The Mannheim Message confirms the deal’s commitment and importance and that it sides with the European Union in co-creating a sustainable future for Europe, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy.
Green Deal to Lead the Way for Europe Post-Covid
The Green Deal was announced around the same time the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading in China. A few weeks later, the entire world was forced to change priorities as we began to face dire economic and health threats. Financing was needed for a common recovery fund in the EU. The pandemic pushed political forces to call for a postponement of the European Green Deal. The idea was to make economic recovery a priority over sustainable initiatives.
Utopia, a public affairs firm, carried out a study and made some pertinent discoveries. It revealed that the Green Deal’s sentiment not only remained positive but improved as the coronavirus crisis unfolded. The general trend showed that the pandemic did not affect the European decision-makers’ readiness to continue rolling out the Green Deal. Most see the pandemic as an ideal time to tackle climate change and that sustainability should be part and parcel of the recovery plan. The Green Deal will shift from being a growth strategy to playing a crucial role in the European recovery strategy.