For several years, Brussels has been involved in a large number of activities aiming to meet the environmental challenges specific to a modern city-region. The objective: for Brussels to become a model in the coming years with regard to sustainable development. In signing the Covenant of Mayors, Brussels has committed itself, with 1600 other signatory cities, to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025, thus exceeding the European objective of a 20% reduction in 2020.
The Brussels-Capital Region has chosen to develop several courses of action involving all areas of life in the community. First of all, choices were made to greatly improve the energy efficiency of buildings through large-scale promotion of sustainable renovation and construction techniques. In the long term, general implementation of the ‘very low energy’ and ‘passive’ standards are clear objectives of the developed policy.
A sustainable city is also constructed through transversal policies at the neighbourhood level : the development of sustainable neighbourhood contracts aims to create a new local dynamic with regard to housing, public spaces and public facilities. Within this dynamic, environmental aspects are now substantially taken into account.
As for green spaces and biodiversity, they are an essential resource for ensuring the quality of life in the urban fabric.
Finally, significant resources are devoted to combating environmental pollution: water purification, combating pollution peaks, waste reduction, etc.
Action toward a sustainable city also involves supporting hundreds of local initiatives of citizens who are active everyday: sustainable neighbourhoods, the creation of vegetable gardens, etc.
The ecological transition will not take place without a real social project. It must ensure an equitable distribution of these changes and protect the most vulnerable residents. Likewise, special attention is paid to creation of new lines of employment related to the new environmental trades.
Our ambition: a global culture of the sustainable city, so that respect for the environment contributes to the human and social development of Brussels and the joie de vivre of its residents.
To learn more about Brussels- Capital Region: www.brussels.irisnet.be
Evelyne Huytebroeck, Minister for the Environment, Energy Policy, Urban Renewal and Welfare Brussels, speaking at COP16