The Mediterranean coastal city of Málaga (Spain) is the winner of the third edition (2020-2021) of the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award. The Mayor of Málaga will receive the award at a ceremony scheduled on 9 December 2021 during the Ministerial Session of the 22nd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 22).

The award jury, which comprises members of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and the President of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development, reached this decision following an independent and thorough review of applications received from several Mediterranean cities.

 Promoted by the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP) and funded by the Government of Turkey, the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award was established by the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) at COP 19 (Athens, Greece, February 2016) in the context of the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD). 


The award recognizes and highlights the role and efforts of local authorities of coastal cities in achieving a sustainable Mediterranean Sea and coast through the implementation of successful urban development initiatives at local level.

“Congratulations to beautiful Málaga. I applaud the attention that the local authorities devote to sustainability and environmental protection and to the participation of citizens, as well as the incorporation of technology and innovation in the solutions that the city has crafted in the pursuit of a path to live in harmony with nature,” Tatjana Hema, the UNEP/MAP Coordinator, said.

Based on documentary evidence provided by the authorities of the Municipality of Málaga, the jury of the award took note of an increase in green areas, the regeneration and protection of swathes of the coastline and significant improvements in sustainable urban mobility and energy efficiency. Encouraging results in the fields of air pollution reduction and sustainable waste management were also showcased. 

The Municipality of Málaga demonstrated integrated measures to ensure sustainability based on a long-term vision and a participatory approach. The City Council approved the Malaga SDG 2030 Action Plan, aligning the city strategic plan with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Málaga also carried out important awareness campaigns on environmental issues, thus contributing to the upholding of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols as a regional public good.

Despite several challenges, the Municipality of Málaga provided evidence of a genuine willingness to bolster and integrate sustainability into urban planning and management. Progress in upgrading the performance of the water distribution system, sewage and rainwater networks, and flood and erosion prevention measures were strong assets in the city’s application for the award.

“I would encourage the local authorities of Málaga to press ahead on the path of sustainability. I am delighted to hear of the city’s ambitious targets for the coming period. Cities like Málaga can be a driving force for a post-COVID green recovery in the Mediterranean region,” Ms. Hema observed.

The call for applications for the third edition of the award invited cities located along the Mediterranean coast to apply by demonstrating actions, achievements and perspectives under the four following categories: nature and biodiversity protection; built environment (housing and urban planning); social, economic and cultural sustainability; and governance, in line with the vision of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the principles enshrined in the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

In its first and second editions, the award went respectively to Izmir (Turkey) in 2017 and Ashdod (Israel) in 2019.

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published on 2022/03/03 14:24:07 GMT+0 last modified 2022-03-03T14:24:07+00:00