Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award 2016-2017

Call for applicants  – Mediterranean coastal towns and cities

Following a decision of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention), the Secretariat of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UN Environment/MAP) is launching the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award” (Istanbul Award).

Through Decision IG.22/19 (COP19, Athens, Greece, February 2016), the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention decided to establish the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award” to be conferred to Mediterranean coastal cities.

The Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award aims to recognize and reward the efforts of local authorities to improve the environment and the quality of life and promote sustainable development in Mediterranean coastal towns and cities. It also aims to encourage local authorities to move towards a more environment friendly future and enable them to act as a role-model to inspire other towns and cities.

By definition, a sustainable coastal city is: “A coastal city in harmony with the sea, utilizing its resources efficiently, equitably and sustainably, reducing its impact on marine and coastal environment and climate change, and managing the environment for the benefit of current and future generations”. Therefore, an environment friendly city is a coastal city in which people enjoy a high quality of life and where sustainable development takes place within the carrying capacity of healthy ecosystems.

The Award was conferred during the Conference of Parties (COP20) in Tirana, Albania, on 17-20 December 2017. More information...

Application process

The call for application was initially launched for a period of 30 days until 15th of June. However, in order to offer to more Mediterranean coastal cities and towns the possibility to apply, the deadline was extended to the 30th of June.

Please complete the Application Form and sent it by email to

Applications should be submitted by the local authority of a Mediterranean coastal town or city of a Contracting Party of the Barcelona Convention, in English. 

The application can either be signed by the mayor (or his delegate) or be accompanied with a mayoral declaration.

For this first edition, which is a pilot test, the working language is English.

Eligibility criteria

  • Both small towns and metropolitan cities are eligible to apply.
  • It is encouraged to develop partnerships with NGOs, the scientific community, the private sector or other stakeholders for the submission.

Evaluation and selection

The evaluation will be undertaken through the criteria/annotations proposed in the Annex of Decision IG.22/19 and defined under four main categories:

  1. Nature and Biodiversity Protection
  2. Built Environment
  3. Social, Economic and Cultural Sustainability
  4. Governance

In addition to the proposed criteria, the historical perspective of the candidate city will also be considered. The improvements observed in the city are very important regarding the city’s efforts towards sustainability, the progress achieved as compared with its past, as well as the city’s efforts and perspectives for further future improvement. Improvement achieved will be a benchmark criterion.

The selection will be carried out in three steps:

  • First step: Initial screening
  • Second step: Short-listing
  • Third step: Selection (including public voting)


Application Form


For any question regarding the award, please send a message to

Funded by the Government of Turkey, the Istanbul Award is managed by the Coordinating Unit of the Mediterranean Action Plan with the assistance of its Plan Bleu/RAC and the support of the other MAP components.