Welcome to the 1st Urban Green Infrastructure Conference in Vienna by Karmenu Vella – the Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.
We would like to thank the Commissioner for welcoming participants to the EUGIC conference. The Commissioner in his welcome sets out a European vision for Urban Green Infrastructure.
The GI & ES Strategy is part of the Commissioner’s remit. Its launch in 2014 was the springboard for our first EUGIC conference in Vienna. Our main sponsor the EFB participates in the GI & ES Working Group in Brussels and both Vera Enzi and Dusty Gedge regularly attend meetings associated with the Strategy, as well Business@Biodiversity and NCFF events and meetings.
A key focus of the Commission’s approach to Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) is to create a Green Infrastructure economy. Nature-based solutions are key to ensuring our cities are fit for purpose – both for the current and also for future generations. Europe is already a leader in the field. Many companies that are members of EUGIC’s Principal Sponsor the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations (EFB) are international players in delivering UGI.
We were also fortunate to hear from Strahil Christov on the Commission’s B@B and NCFF funding programmes. These programmes aim to stimulate a finance-based approach to Green Infrastructure, by supporting the implementation of nature-based solutions.
Finally, we welcome Mr Vella’s vision that Green Infrastructure should become the norm, not the exception. And we hope that the outputs from the 1st EUGIC conference in Vienna will support this vision and help to propel European cities along the road to achieving it.