“Every green step in urban development means a more comfortable, cosier and healthier city,” says Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius. As the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, Vilnius aims to become cleaner and healthier.
Like many signatory cities, Vilnius views its environmental work as part of the Green City Accord as complementary to its climate efforts. Mayor Šimašius highlighted the importance of collaboration between the Accord and climate initiatives, and their ability to strengthen one another:
“Vilnius has joined the Covenant of Mayors, which aims to achieve climate neutrality in the long run (by 2050). The European Commission has selected Vilnius as one of 100 EU cities to participate in its mission to become a climate-neutral and smart city by 2030. In addition to this, we have recently joined the “Climate Campaigners EU”
initiative alongside 12 other cities. Vilnius also implements the Green Wave initiative, which aims to plant 100,000 trees, 10 million shrubs and 300,000 vines within the next few years. These initiatives bring together the municipality, businesses, and communities to make Vilnius' streets greener and to help the city's biodiversity flourish.”
Vilnius is engaged in protecting and enhancing local biodiversity as part of the Green City Accord. The City intends to expand residents’ access to green spaces through initiatives such as Green Wave and Reformatų Garden. The previously neglected ‘Reformers’ Garden will see newly renovated paths and greenery added, including a pergola wrapped in local flora, a manmade water-way, playground, outdoor café and parking for bicycles.
Meanwhile, Vilnius encourages the growth of healthy meadows through sustainable mowing practices, which are designed to prevent weeds and invasive plants from taking root, while allowing vibrant local species to bloom.
Moreover, Vilnius is tackling air pollution. From June 2023 onwards, the burning of coal and peat will be banned in the city. Vilnius is also investing in energy-efficient buildings, monitoring air quality closely, and ensuring this information is made readily available to residents.
“Every change in behaviour in the sustainability of the city, and every citizen, has a significant influence on the environment,”
notes Mayor Šimašius. That is why, for Vilnius, it is important to take a holistic approach.
The City is also choosing to combat noise and environmental pollution by celebrating special occasions more sustainably. Vilnius has adopted a resolution to create alternatives to fireworks – including laser and light performances – for holidays like New Year. These environmentally friendly options will decrease noise levels and do not require the use of heavy metals or chemicals.
Through its comprehensive approach to environmental management, the Accord offers cities other opportunities, according to Mayor Šimašius:
“Vilnius sees initiatives like the Green City Accord as a perfect opportunity to share its successful practices with its colleague cities in implementing every possible idea that ensures a better quality of life for citizens and realistically mitigates the negative outcomes of climate change to the world.”
The City hopes to go above and beyond EU regulations and policies to spearhead solutions that make it cleaner and healthier, and to help also achieve Europe’s climate-neutral ambitions through close collaboration.
“The contribution that Vilnius is attempting to make with its Green City Accord work will offer immense advantages to our citizens’ wellbeing as well as a worldwide contribution towards stopping this rapidly growing issue.”
- Publication date
- 7 December 2022
- Directorate-General for Environment