E7 INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
E7.1 SUMMARY INFORMATION
The City of Prague has been making long-term efforts to reinforce its important position at the European as well as global scene and for deeper international cooperation. The City of Prague has been developing active relations with partner cities, has been involved in active manner in activities of international organisations and associations of self-governments, contributes to experience exchange and implementation of international projects, strives for prestigious awards, and implements numerous other activities. One area of international cooperation is also environmental issues.
The organisation of EUROCITIES and its EUROCITIES Environment Forum (EEF, www.euro cities.org) form an important platform for experience exchange. The organisation associates in total 140 large European cities, (approximately 95 of them are active in EEF). Prague has been a member since 1993. Activities are concentrated on affecting of the EU legislation and policies development, cooperation and experience exchange in environmental protection and sustainable development of cities, development and implementation of concepts, application of indicators and benchmarking, preparation and implementation of joint projects, providing for cooperation of various stakeholders, etc. Specific activities are focused on climate protection and adaptation to climate change, role of cities in the implementation of the EU Strategy of Sustainable Development and implementation of 6th Action Programme EU for the Environment. The City of Prague cooperation is provided by the Department of Environmental Protection of the Prague City Hall (OOP MHMP).
Note: Prague joined the EUROCITIES Declaration on Climate Change in December 2010.
In 2006 and 2007 the City of Prague participated in the international project “Urban Ecosystem Europe” with the participation of 25 and 32 large European cities, respectively. The outcome was publications benchmarking the environment and environmental policies by means of a set of indicators.
Note: Further follow-up stage of the benchmarking project was launched in 2010 within the initiative of INFORMED CITIES (project PRIMUS, coordinated by the ICLEI).
In 2008 the European Commission announced the first competition for the title of the European Green Capital Award (www.europeangreencapital.eu). The competition objective is to award cities, having over 200,000 inhabitants, which are active in the systematic approach to the environmental management and to contribute to experience exchange and promotion of good practise examples. Prague participated in the first year of the competition. The title of the European Green Capital was awarded to the City of Stockholm, Sweden (for 2010) and the City of Hamburg, Germany (for 2011).
Note: In 2010 the competitor second stage was held. It was won by and cities awarded with the title of European Green Capital were for 2012 – Vitoria – Gasteiz, Spain, and for 2013 – Nantes, France.
The year 2009 was internationally significantly affected by preparations and course of the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP 15). At this occasion the company of Siemens disclosed a comparative study of the European Green City Index, evaluating 30 European cities in December 2009. The rank by the value of “green index” was topped by Copenhagen, followed by Stockholm, Oslo, Vienna, Amsterdam, and others.
In the field of environmental informatics the City of Prague has been creating conditions for international cooperation for many years. Since 1992 information outcomes have been also developed in English (the Yearbook). In the past the Prague Environmental Information System (IOŽIP) received important appraisals (publications of ENWAP and CAPE issued within activities of the European Commission DG Information Society, database HABITAT Best Practices Hub, and UNEP/GRID).
The City of Prague as a partner participated in preparations of the conference Towards eEnvironment (www.e-envi2009.org). The conference was held in Prague in March 2009 as an event of the Czech Republic Presidency to the European Union. The City of Prague had a chance to promote itself and compare its own activities of environmental informatics and received an appraisal for the presentation “Urban Atlas Helps Urban Planners in Prague” (City Development Authority of the Capital City of Prague).
The City of Prague has been participating in international cooperation in other fields related to environmental issues. An example of the field of energy generation and supply is the participation in the campaign of Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign (www.sustenergy.org). New initiatives as Covenant of Mayors, Smart Cities, as well as activities of the EUROCITIES Declaration on Climate Change and Green Digital Charter have been monitored as well.
One of the first international projects on the environment and work with information, which Prague became involved (in 1999), was the Project of CEROI (Cities Environment Reports on the Internet, www.ceroi.net, or at http://ceroi.net, programme of the UNEP, coordinated by the GRID – Arendal). The City of Prague, along with other cities, worked out the pilot presentation according to the methodology set. In next years (2000–2002) the City of Prague participated in EU projects on environmental informatics – INTERACT (Interactive Services and Management Support for Environment Impact Assessment and Permitting Procedures and HEAVEN (Healthier Environment through Abatement of Vehicle Emission and Noise, http://heaven.rec.org). In a couple of recent years the City of Prague participated in cooperation with other EU cities in preparations of other projects in thematic fields of informatics, environment, land-use planning, transport, etc. (as, for example, Air For Europe, CITEAIR, INTELCITY, INSPIRE, SURE, and BOOCLA). New projects are, for instance, CITEAIR II and GSE Land/Urban Atlas (see also the Yearbook 2008), and further PROMOTE, and HENVINET.
E7.2 SELECTED PROJECTS
Developed according to background materials from the City Development Authority of the Capital City of Prague.
The Project of CITEAIR II (www.citeair.eu), Common Information to European Air II, has been implemented within the framework of the inter-regional cooperation programme of INTERREG IVC for the period 2008–2011, as a continuation of the previous project of CITEAIR. One of the project outcomes is also the presentation of on-line data on air quality in European cities and regions at the webpages (www.airqualitynow.eu) using the Common Air Quality Index (CAQI). The number of European cities involved in this Project significantly increased in the years 2009 and 2010 (in total 100 cities of 14 European countries). In the Czech Republic besides Prague it is also the City of Brno, which participates in the Project.
The Project of PROMOTE (2006–2009, 6th EU Framework Programme) was focused on the evaluation of satellite photographing of Europe. It also dealt with air quality and trans-boundary pollution transfer. In 2009 the City Development Authority of the Capital City of Prague cooperated in the Project of PROMOTE within the framework of a contract on user cooperation with the research institute of the VITO, Belgium on the development of an on-line model of air quality within a pan-European network.
The Project of HENVINET (2007–2010, 6th EU Framework Programme) is focused on the assessment of polluted environment impacts on human health, risk assessment, and adoption of remedial measures. The project is concentrated on the creation of cooperation among professionals in epidemiology and toxicology and workers of the state, regional, and local self-governments. Related information is available at the portal of www.henvinet.nu.
The Project of Urban Atlas in the Capital City of Prague is based on the Project of GSE Land (www.gmesgseland.info) financed by the European Space Agency within the European initiative GMES (Global Monitoring of Environment and Security). It is based on the usage of data from the remote sensing of the Earth (DPZ) for the information support to the decision-making processes. The Project was focused on services of the landscape monitoring and is the ancestor or predecessor of numerous other activities. The partner of the GSE Land service in the Czech Republic is the company of Gisat. The City Development Authority of the Capital City of Prague was the reference partner for Prague for assessment of changes in the land use on the metropolis area (product of the Urban Atlas). For more information see also the Yearbook 2008.
Fig. E7.2.1 Example of presentation of information on air quality in European cities (www.airqualitynow.eu)