‘My role as a mayor is to make things happen’
Birgit Hansen is the Mayor of Frederikshavn, Denmark, and is recognised for her role in the city’s ambitious climate plan to reduce its CO2 emissions by over 90% by 2050, while improving living conditions for local residents and boosting employment.
Birgit focuses on strengthening not only the sense of belonging within the local community but also pushes for greater citizen involvement in climate action. From renovating residential properties to running renewable energy projects, and from raising awareness about the importance of preserving the local heritage to taking adaptation measures, the Mayor of Frederikshavn managed to improve the quality of the local community's life and provide a leading blueprint for better, sustainable cities.
A trained nurse, Birgit entered politics in 2002 when she became counsellor of Sæby municipality, which later merged with Skagen and Frederikshavn to form the current municipality. Since being elected as Mayor in 2014, Birgit has been fiercely driving a sustainability and climate agenda that serves the region's community of just over 60 000 inhabitants.
She helped the city respond to the closure of their shipyards, which had been a main source of income for the inhabitants, by pushing the local economy in a new direction. Her ambitious strategic plan for the Danish city, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the C40 Cities Climate Action Planning Framework, offers educational initiatives for young people and business opportunities to local entrepreneurs.
The two other finalists in the category last year were Dr. Karolina Lipińska and Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya. Karolina is an innovation architect and the initiator of the Pomeranian Platform for the Development of Offshore Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea. Mὸnica is part of the EmpowerMed project which aims to alleviate energy poverty in the coastal areas of Mediterranean countries, with a particular focus on women.
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