About Galway National Park City
The Mission Statement of this new and exciting initiative is to have Galway city recognised as a National Park City, by achieving a more Greener, Bluer, Healthier, Safer, Beautiful, Sustainable, Equitable, Harmonious and Wilder environment where people value, benefit from, and are strongly connected to the rest of Nature.
The designation was formally launched in July 2019 by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan when the capital of England and of the United Kingdom became the first city in the world to claim this status. Check out https://www.nationalparkcity.london/
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is patron for the National Park City for Galway initiative.
Duncan Stewart, the renowned environmentalist and media personality, is its national champion.
Kathryn Tierney of the Co-ordination, Inter-institutional Relations and Planning Unit (A.1), Directorate-General Environment (DG ENV), and involved in implementing the European Green Deal, is its European Champion.
Daniel Raven-Ellison, founder of the London National Park City, is its mentor.
Supporters of this designation want everyone living and working in Galway to feel part of, contribute towards and to experience a personal sense of pride and ownership in this initiative. We want to celebrate and make everyone aware of the beautiful natural heritage that lies within the city and on its doorstep; to give due recognition to what is already taking place locally in terms of green and sustainability projects across all sectors of all society; and to highlight, learn and implement from best practice further afield.
The arrival of this designation was very opportune as it comes at a time when Irish people, due to the unprecedented COVID pandemic have, like never before in living memory, recognised the health, social, environmental, educational and economic benefits of reconnecting with the natural world.
Becoming a National Park City is not an award, rather it is the beginning of a journey and a large scale and long-term challenge to improving urban life through everyday actions and strategic policy involving all levels of society.
Kathryn Tierney of the EU Directorate-General Environment office stated at the launch of the Galway National Park City that its mission statement, aims and principles encapsulates the ethos of the European Green Deal. The designation will also help the city towards the process of fulfilling the majority of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)and on key aspects of the Irish Government’s Programme for National Government.
Hence, to help facilitate this process, a series of local champions (presently 85) form a steering committee with a rotating chairperson* that will normally meet once every two to three months. These individuals represent a large cross section of backgrounds, professions and sectors of Galway society including education, community, health, medical, arts, environment, youth, direct provision, scientific research, technology innovation, engineering, corporate business, small business, crafts, residential neighbourhoods, marine, waterways protection, renewable energies, cycling advocacy, walking advocacy, sport, media, tourism, architecture, heritage, animal welfare and urban farming. Each of these individuals have in their own professional and volunteering capacities been undertaking incredible work, often for many years, to enhance and care for the city’s unique natural heritage and to help others to benefit from it. Much of their activities often takes place without the wider general public being aware of it.
The National Park City initiative will help join up and promote their work, provide a city-wide commonality of purpose and inspire others from all of the different sectors to follow suit. It is about increasing awareness and of encouraging dynamic positive change towards enhancing the natural environment, greenifying the built development and encouraging sustainability in all aspects of life. With rapidly increasing global urbanisation combined with the need to tackle Climate Change, reverse biodiversity loss, and to improve human and planetary health, Galway city by becoming a National Park City could become a flagship for other cities to follow in order to survive and prosper into the future.