The Basque Declaration

The Basque Declaration was launched in 2016 by participants in the 8th European Conference on sustainable cities, which was held in the Basque country between 27 and 29 April 2016.

The declaration, which is available in English, French and Spanish, is directed mainly at cities and their leaders, but it also requires active commitment from civil society. The subtitle clearly indicates the aim that is being pursued: New Pathways for European Cities and Towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe.

Plus points of the Basque Declaration

The list of ten goals is clear, concise and in effect constitutes a practical programme that can serve as a guide for every village, town, city or region.

For example: point 3 sets out the need to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services; point 4 calls for a reduction in the use of unbuilt-on land and natural spaces.

The need for sociocultural transformation derives primarily from economic and technological change.

There is a platform for sharing ideas and information

 Weak points of the Basque Declaration

The initiative is left to the goodwill of public administrators.

A little more political courage would have led to a statement of the need to stop, not just slow the consumption of soil for uses other than farming and forestry.

There is no attempt to build in real democratic control through the co-responsibility and participation of civil society.