Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Portugal, since 2013
World Mayor Nominations 20/21
Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Portugal
The 20/21 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on mayors who have been showing leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and who are now aiming to make their cities more resilient economically, structurally, socially and environmentally. In fact: Stronger | Fairer | Greener. The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for mayors who have shown exceptional leadership skills but also, and more importantly, acted at all times with compassion towards those most affected by Covid-19. The pandemic has shown how vulnerable even the richest cities are when confronted with a disaster like Covid-19. Forward-looking city leaders will now begin to re-think how their communities can be better protected against future threats, both natural and man-made.
Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Portugal, has been nominated for the 20/21 World Mayor Prize by people from his city, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe.
You may wish to support him further and comment on his achievements and plans for his city.
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Mayor of Braga (Portugal)
Nominated by Luis M., Braga:
Braga became one of the most multifaceted and multicultural Portuguese cities in the last years. Despite a long history of centuries, it is a modern example how to mix the old and the new. Mayor Ricardo Rio is managing his city, mainly in this difficult pandemic times, with brilliant vision of humanity, giving to all, tools to resit and survive, mainly caring the people whit more threats. He is also coordinating the city growing, adding green, biking and walking spaces, with real incentives for using non-pollutants alternatives.
Challenges for Braga:
As country-manager of a multinational company, and having a relevant overview about the most of the Portuguese cities, I can say with no doubts, that Braga, is a real example how to develop with sustainability, having real competitive advantages for living, and, as well, to invest. . Braga is house of more than one hundred of nationalities, and the general opinion of them, is real very positive.
As general advises, I can suggest the improvement of attractivity to industry, mainly that one related to metal, tooling, automotive, and new technologies. Concerning a new step in green policy, I feel you should create in Bom Jesus-Sameiro several sign walking trails. The potential is huge, and, for sure, we will see a lot of profit in thinking very deeply in this strength/opportunity.
Nominated by Luis M. M., Portugal:
Ricardo Rio é um Prefeito jovem, inteligente, dinâmico, que revela ter uma visão moderna e bem estruturada para o futuro da cidade de Braga. Revela ter uma ideia solida e bem estruturada para transformar a cidade de Braga numa cidade capaz de proporcionar verdadeira qualidade de vida a quem ali vive, do ponto de vista de uma cidade sustentável e moderna. Sustentável do ponto de vista do conhecimento, apoiando e estimulando os Centros Universitários e de Investigação de Ponta (Laboratorio de Nanotecnologia), reforçando e e modernizando a rede escolar do concelho, também do ponto de vista da sua economia, apoiando iniciativas empresariais e atraindo investimento tecnológico e produtivo limpo, do ponto de vista do ambiente, promovendo ações de harmonização da relação do cidadão com o ambiente, a natureza e a paisagem, e do ponto de vista social, apoiando pessoalmente as estruturas sociais do concelho e apoiando diretamente as causas urgentes e os mais desfavorecidos em geral.
É um excelente comunicador, e a sua presença multifacetada e a sua disponibilidade para participar em sessões de informação e de discussão sobre os temas relacionados com a cidade tornam-no muito presente junto de todos, inspirando muita confiança. É um perfeito muito próximo da sua população, recebendo e falando com todos.
É um perfeito muito interventivo em eventos e organizações internacionais promovendo Braga. NO período pandémico esteve e está sempre no terreno e não hesitou em mobilizar todos os meios municipais a favor das redes do SNS para dar-lhes mais capacidade de resposta e eficiência, estabeleceu protocolos com laboratórios de testes e fundamentalmente apoiou quem estava no terreno com a sua presença e meios adequados de origem municipal. O seu exemplo incitou os privados a fazerem o mesmo, o que reforçou em muito a capacidade de resposta dos serviços de saúde e contribuiu com a sua ação para minorar os efeitos da pandemia no concelho de Braga.
É um Perfeito de muita excelência, e constitui um extraordinário exemplo no exercício destra enorme responsabilidade.
Nominated by Elisabeth N., Braga:
Ricardo Rio is a strong leader - very visible in the city. Braga - with all its challenges - is today an expansive and positive city aiming for the future. As I work in an international workplace situated in Braga, I can see how inclusive - to ALL citizens - the leadership of Ricardo Rio is.
Braga is a city, which needs development when it comes to the green part. Being a Swede, I’m used to walk and bike wherever I go. Braga is not friendly neither for bicyclists nor for walkers! But the mayor has initiated a change for the better - building an Eco via building safer roads with bicycle lanes etc. This is important work! Ricardo Rio doesn’t sit and wait for the opinions to change. He walks first!
Nominated by Luis P. M., Portugal:
Braga is known in Portugal as the City with the Open Door, because of a monument that is used as an icon for the city. Well, Mayor Rio was responsible for really opening the city to the world, positioning Braga as a reference for visitors, investors, professionals, researchers, students and international organizations.
He has done an amazing job in promoting the city worldwide, establishing partnerships with other cities and entering international networks.
Throughout the pandemic crisis, Braga's initiatives were placed among the best practices list for the United Nations, OECD, the Committee of the Regions, Eurocities and others.
Mayor Rio was directly connected with the chinese city of Shenyang from where he got technical support and the supply of individual protection equipment that he distributed by the Municipality's workers and the Social Institutions.
In my area, he was really committed to assuring that Braga was a safe destination, as most of the city venues were awarded the "Safe Site" stamp by the national institutions and Braga was once again picked as one of the nominees for European Best Destination.
Nominated by Lucio D., outside Portugal:
Ricardo Rio is definitely a Mayor with a vision turned into action. With a special focus in sustainability, Rio has been continuously developing the urban rehabilitation and transforming the city according to the citizens needs and cultures. Braga is turning with Rio a excellent city for living, for working and for leisure.
Nominated by Domingos S., Braga:
O Presidente Ricardo Rio tem feito um excelente trabalho em muitos domínios, da criação de emprego, à dinâmica cultural, à criação de espaços verdes e de lazer ou à reabilitação urbana.
Durante a pandemia, destaco o apoio que deu às unidades de saúde e às instituições sociais para controlar os contágios com a realização generalizada de testes ou no apoio à vacinação.
Logo em Abril à Câmara avançou com testes a todos os utentes e profissionais de lares, mais tarde aos funcionários das escolas e, por estes dias, até aos próprios membros das mesas de voto das eleições presidenciais.
Challenges for Braga:
Como cidade que tem crescido bastante, atraindo milhares de novos habitantes nos últimos anos, não se pode descurar a prestação de cuidados de saúde de qualidade, o apoio à inclusão das minorias e o desenvolvimento de mais projectos de inovação social ligados à saúde (como o Braga a Sorrir, já promovido pela autarquia e que da cuidados de saúde dentários gratuitos a quem não tem recursos).
Nominated by Raul P., Braga:
O Presidente Ricardo Rio tomou as medidas que lhe eram possíveis tomar na altura da primeira pandemia, primeiro que toda a classe politica e mesmo nesta segunda vaga tem andado á frente de toda a gente, sendo mesmo um critico em relação ás medidas decretadas pelo governo nesta segunda vaga, considerando-as de muito ligeiras para situação tão grave que vivemos atualmente, lembrando apenas que Portugal neste momento 18/01/21 é o pais da europa e penso que do mundo com maior numero de mortes por cada milhar de habitantes. Tanto é que Braga é neste momento dos concelhos com menor numero de mortes e tendo o Hospital que é o hospital de referencia no distrito com a sua situação em termos de internamentos Covid - 19 sobe control e com a sua capacidade de internamento a cerca de 70% de ocupação e tem já desde o primero confinamento tomado medidas de retaguarda no caso de hospital entrar em rutura. Por estes pontos que foquei penso que em termos de pandemia o trabalho do!
Presidente da camara Ricardo Rio fez um trabalho exemplar no combate ao alastramento do contágio do virus.
Nominated by Maria S., Braga:
O mayor mostra sensibilidade para os grandes problemas dos dias de hoje, como a mobilidade e o ambiente. Tomou medidas de prevenção para combater o corona vírus (covid19) antes do governo e criou redes de apoio durante o confinamento para que os mais carenciados não fossem deixados para trás. As medidas estenderam-se aos transportes públicos que não faltaram e onde há desinfectante disponível. A constante sensibilização de todos os cidadãos também é de realçar, bem como a segurança dos espaços públicos.
Nominated by Lars M,, Braga:
Ricardo Rio is a passionate leader with a strong ambition to make Braga bloom. His commitment is shown in all his actions and he has during these last years made Braga to become a much better city. The citizens of Braga are very satisfied with him as was evident from the last re-election. Braga people are happy. During Covid he has shown a strong and clear leadership avoiding unnecessary sufferings to hit the city and its population. His engagement for innovation is mirrored in the development of the city. In Braga we have innovation for breakfast.
Challenges for Braga: We are already working together - the City, the University, the Research Organisations, the Companies and last but not least, the citizens in order to make INL to be a lighthouse for green development making the city a true Innovation Eco-City. Together and more together is the way forward.
Nominated by Gustavo M., Portugal:
There are several characteristics that make Ricardo Rio a Mayor of excellence. In my specific case, as an investor in Portugal, Ricardo Rio proactively approached us, introduced the city, his team, and the city's living forces. Ricardo made our group interested in investing in Braga.
Nominated by Sara F., Portugal:
Ricardo Rio was one step ahead of the national government during pandemic and with is strong actions the worst case scenario was not a reality.
Challenges for Braga: Inclusive, easy access to public transportation and with job opportunities
Nominated by Luis M., Portugal:
Ricardo Rio é um líder jovem, dinâmico e de enorme competência. Preside a uma cidade que se tem destacado nas áreas da Educação, Ciência, Ambiente, Turismo, Cultura e Desporto. Uma líder que promove a cidadania, a participação dos seus habitantes e as boas práticas que conduzem à sustentabilidade ambiental da cidade. Ricardo Rio tem projetado a cidade do futuro, através de um pensamento que une tradição e modernidade, colocando como principais pilares a ecológica, qualidade de vida e bem estar. Braga assume hoje um lugar de elevado destaque no âmbito da península ibérica.
Nominated by Laiza P., outside Portugal:
I visit Portugal, more specifically Braga, almost every year and each time I go the city gets more beautiful, organized a well cared. People who I talk to about Ricardo always praise him and are proud to say how Braga has changed for the better since he became mayor.
Nominated by António B., Braga:
Mayor Ricardo Rio is a person with a full attention to the city and citizens. He promotes the participation and always helping e supporting the needs of the city. In this pandemic times e was the first in Portugal to take mesures to help people and to limitate the circulation. Many measures of Mayor Rio management are many times 'copied' by national governement. Braga is having many investments to renew many places to put people and bicycles with more space and priority.
Nominated by Rafael G A, Braga:
Ricardo Rio is on the front line of the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, Ricardo Rio has a very difficult job, always close to his community and with his work being scrutinized by public opinion. This crisis was a great test, not only of leadership, but of humanity and character. With the public responses of the municipality of Braga being held accountable in a period where everything is beyond the control of any elected member, Ricardo Rio maintains a steady course pursuing the public interest and giving the best solutions. Moreover, he is demonstrating a particular interest in preparing Braga to be economically, socially and environmentally more resilient place to live in the upcoming decade.
Nominated by Cecilia G F., Braga:
Cauteloso, minimizando o impacto na economia local e ao mesmo tempo criando medidas que contrariassem, conseguindo ao mesmo tempo com segurança cumprir objetivos traçados neste cenário limitador. Num período tão conturbado, mostrou a sua força.
Nominated by Lara M. L., outside Portugal:
Ricardo Río, alcalde de Braga, ha mostrado su capacidad de gestión y su capacidad para empatizar con los problemas de los ciudadanos en un año especialmente complicado debido a la pandemia, poniendo en marcha una batería de recursos municipales para atender tanto las acciones de apoyo en la lucha contra la expansión de la enfermedad como para atender a los colectivos más vulnerables y activando medidas de reactivación económica. Durante su mandato, Braga ha dado grandes pasos en temas relacionados con la regeneración urbana y la sostenibilidad, que han convertido a su ciudad en un referente de calidad de vida y bienestar.
Nominated by Maria J. R., Portugal:
Mayor Ricardo Rio is a strong leader that has built up interesting participative approaches in his City. This helps the city to be one of the youngest and more successful cities in a country with serious demographic problems. He succeeded to be one of the champions in quality of life. He is now the Vice President of Eurocities.
Nominated by Ricardo G., Portugal:
In reality, I believe that Braga Mayor Ricardo Rio is the true example of the new way of doing politics in Portugal. He is a 44-year-old person who takes the leadership of a new generation of Portuguese politicians and his relationship with his citizens and with the Portuguese in general is highly transparent and frontal. It was one of the most cited examples of good management of the entire pandemic process in Portugal by Portuguese and foreign media outlets for good practices and examples. He took public leadership of projects to support companies and entrepreneurs in various sectors and was always at the forefront of public support for citizens and families.
Nominated by Saidatina D., Braga:
Mayor Ricardo Rio mérite d’être considéré comme le meilleur Maire du monde parce que tout simplement les habitants de la ville de Braga y compris les immigrés sont satisfaits de son travail. Tout au long de cette année 2020 marqué par la crise pandémique, le Maire a su mettre en place une structure globale pour permettre le travail en réseau de toutes les institutions publiques et privées de la municipalité. Certains édifices et locaux appartenant à la mairie ont été vite transformés en centres de dépistage Covid-19 drive-in, en collaboration avec les services de santés publiques. De nouveaux centre d’appui alimentaires ont vu le jour pour répondre au nombre croissant de personnes en situação de vulnérabilité sociale. Concernant les personnes ayant contacté avec le virus et n’ayant pas un espace adéquat pour se confiner, la mairie a mis à leur disposition des centres d’accueil pour passer ce confinement obligatoire.
Pour venir en aide à la petite commerce et à la restauration gravement affecté par la crise, un pardon fiscal sur certains taxes municipales a été décidé. Aussi il a été permis à certains commerçants l’usage de la chaussée ou trottoir comme extension de l’établissement commercial pour permettre une meilleure distance entre les clients.
Encore durant cette année 2020 bien avant le début de la pandémie, Braga avait gagné le statut de ville cosmopolite en se érigeant comme la première destination de choix des immigrés au Portugal. Plus de 118 nationalités cohabitent ensemble et offre un panorama d‚une belle diversité culturelle. La politique municipale d‚intégration des immigrés, l‚industrialisation grandissante, le coût et la qualité de vie sont les principaux facteurs qui déterminent le choix des immigrés.
La création de nouveaux espaces verts, de parques sportives, de zone à piéton et l’élargissement des trottoirs pour plus de mobilité humaine, font aujourd’hui la fierté de tout les habitants de Braga par rapport à leur ville et à leur Maire Ricardo Rio.
Challenges for Braga:
Un simple souhait pour rendre Braga plus vert et ami de l’environnement c’est veiller pour plus de vigilance sur le Rio Este, l’unique cours d’eau dont nous disposons. Le Maire Ricardo Rio et son équipe ont effectué un excellent travail sur cette rivière longtemps abandonné à la merci de certaines industries qui y jettent parfois des déchets toxiques. Aujourd’hui l’eau est limpide et une promenade qui traverse la ville tout en accompagnant le Rio Este a été construite, cependant certaines mauvaises habitudes des pollueurs persistent.
Nominated by Sandra C., Braga:
Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, is one of the most influential Mayors in Portugal. It‚s during the most difficult crisis that great leaders reveal courage and stand out for their actions to protect others. This is Ricardo Rio, the Mayor of my city. Who has managed the COVID-19 crisis acting assertively in all levels of the municipality domains and being nationally and internationally recognized for effective public initiatives to protect our community.
Ricardo Rio has also been a strong public advocate of the UN Sustainable Development goals, having most recently Braga been distinguished for being one of the municipalities with the highest rates for sustainability. There are several initiatives being promoted with our Mayors‚ support and close commitment to act on the combat against climate change, such as energy efficiency and sustainable mobility.
Nominated by Nuno A., Braga:
Ricardo Rio is a tireless Mayor with a strong sense of responsibility. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has made available a set of measures to help the population in the most diverse areas at the same time that it has made every effort to combat the spread of the virus. From supporting companies with exemption from municipal fees, support to the most deprived families, the purchase of computer material for students in the municipality can have distance learning, free tests for associations, opening of a field hospital and training center. shelter for the homeless. regularization of business hours, open communication with citizens. Ricardo Rio has been a great support for the population and has been at the forefront in combating the pandemic in Portugal. Ricardo rio has been an example of mayor and deserves the distinction.
Challenges for Braga:
Cities have to be concerned with people and their needs. A city with a future must be based on the success and well-being of its population. You must bet on more environmentally friendly, more sustainable and more citizen-friendly policies
Nominated by Xoan V. M., outside Portugal:
He was responsible of Braga transformation. He was able to rejuvenated the city and turned it into an engine for growth.
He was also able to re-establish the dialogue with the university and businesses, and between them. Betting for the Euro-region Galicia-North Portugal and for people talking to each other, overcoming old fights around a common project.
Nominated by Alice D., Braga:
O Presidente da Câmara Ricardo Rio faz parte de uma nova geração de políticos, que trouxe um novo fôlego à política local. Ainda antes de ser eleito presidente da Câmara, tinha uma preocupação com os munícipes e a população em geral, desenvolvendo muito trabalho de proximidade, sempre junto das pessoas. E mesmo após ser eleito em 2013 e reeleito em 2017, essa proximidade foi sendo cada vez maior, facto esse que fez toda a diferença na forma como liderou a crise profunda, social e económica, provocada pela COVID-1, para a qual nenhum presidente da Câmara estava preparado.
Entre muitas outras, obteve doações de materiais de protecção individual que depois canalizava para as Instituições de Solidariedade Social; implementou medidas de apoio às empresas, nomeadamente a redução de taxas e impostos; criou uma linha de apoio telefónico para dar apoio aos idosos, nomeadamente ajudar nas compras de bens alimentares e medicamentos; foi por várias vezes solicitado para partilhar as ideias para combater a pandemia, quer em conferências on-line quer nos mais diversos órgãos de comunicação social; participou em vídeos, onde se dirigia às pessoas, apelando a que ficassem em casa e cumprissem as regras.
Desde a primeira hora empenhou-se em criar condições para socorrer todos os que "batiam à porta", ou não fosse Braga uma cidade de portas abertas!
Nominated by Olga P., Braga:
The Mayor of Braga, during the COVID crisis managed to put Braga in national prominence, through the adoption of innovative measures, but also on the international radar, serving as an example to several other cities in Europe. The insertion of Braga in multiple international networks and the bilateral relations established over the last few years, with cities on all continents, has been an important aid in shaping the responses developed by the Municipality in relation to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
On platforms for exchanging experiences created by networks such as OECD Champion Mayors, the Global Parliament of Mayors, Eurocities or the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, it has been possible to follow the initiatives developed by cities of different scales across the globe, while at the same time that Braga has also made known the main projects implemented in the various aspects of combating COVID-19.
There is a clear added value in collaboration between cities in different countries. First, because this is a global phenomenon, to which no territory is immune, so it is extremely useful to share experiences between all the mayors. Second, because there are different levels of occurrence of this pandemic, it is possible to learn from the mistakes and the good initiatives of those who are at a more advanced stage.Also in this perspective, Braga has presented in these forums its responses to the health, social and economic challenges of the pandemic, having highlighted the innovative nature of many of the ongoing projects.
In terms of bilateral relations, the partnership with the Chinese city of Shenyang proved to be particularly useful, both from the point of view of technical advice and in obtaining various material means and personal protection equipment, partly by donation, partly by acquisition of the Municipality of Braga to local suppliers.
Ricardo Rio is one of the United Nations'Voices of Solidarity" responding to a challenge from the United Nations Urban Economy Forum (UEF), the first Portuguese mayor to join the project that aims to bring together local leaders on a global scale to transmit a message of hope for the future and a call for a change in the lifestyle of different societies, in favor of a more sustainable world.
The Beacon of Hope, published on the different UEF platforms and social networks, brings together the testimonies of mayors from the five continents, both in their immediate responses to COVID-19 and in commitment to a single and optimistic vision for the post-pandemic future.
The project aims to bring together representatives of the local authorities of each of the 195 countries of the United Nations.
In his message, Ricardo Rio evokes some of the areas that prompted the intervention of the Municipality of Braga, also giving an account of the option of placing a giant rainbow in a visible place for a significant part of the city, as a message of hope and unity, surely that only together will it be possible to overcome this crisis, in Braga and in the world. In addition to all the above, residents were exempted from paying any amount in public transport, a line was created dedicated to those over 65 years old, to whom professionals and volunteers made the respective purchases and trips to pharmacies to purchase medicines, were moratoria on rent payments in municipal housing created. Transportes Urbanos de Braga (TUB) created a new monthly loading pass with 50% discount for people with proven unemployment or lay-off implemented from June with the aim of mitigating the consequences of the pandemic.
Similarly to what happened this April, in May the TUBs will also not charge for transport service trips or surface parking fees for residents and merchants.The Municipality of Braga invested around 700 thousand euros in the acquisition of two thousand computer equipment for schools and to support the neediest students in the municipality. In Braga, more than 1,800 users and professionals from 32 institutions in the municipality have already been tested, the vast majority through the screening program promoted by the Municipality.The Municipality of Braga once again make the Youth Hostel available for the free accommodation of health professionals. The measure aims to support active professionals who are in the first line of combat against Covid-19 and who cannot return to home, under penalty of contagion to family members.The Municipality of Braga provided outdoor spaces so that the Gymnasiums and Health Clubs could carry out their group activities, complying with all the safety rules issued by the General Directorate of Health and the Government. Braga was one of the cities highlighted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with regard to public policies for response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
There were several examples of measures taken by Braga that the OECD highlighted, in a report prepared on the topic, as good practices in combating the COVID-19 crisis, both at the beginning and at a more advanced stage of the pandemic.
Among other aspects, praise was given to the exemptions applied to space occupation fees, the exemptions and reductions granted in water, the creation of a public telephone line to serve the elderly in isolation or in the most vulnerable situation, the provision of accommodation for affected people by COVID-19, the payment of tests to users and professionals of the homes or the disinfection of places of greatest risk using the Firefighters.
In addition to this, free consultancy and webinars, in supporting small companies to develop digital skills, such as the use of e-commerce, remote work and videoconferences.
In the published report, the OECD emphasized the efforts that cities have made and the determining role that they continue to play in the context of this pandemic, acting as vehicles for implementing national measures and leading innovative responses, using technology and other own or community resources and building a unique proximity to citizens. Finally, the OECD says in its report that there is an opportunity to make 'bold and courageous' decisions that contribute to building, in the long run, more inclusive, green and smart cities.
In parallel, The American magazine Forbes, highlighted Braga as one of the 20 best cities for Americans to live in Europe. The ranking was prepared based on several criteria, including the presence of international schools, quality of life, health system, Internet, proximity to airports with international flights, cost of living, active community and low crime rate. Ricardo Rio was recently elected for a three-year term on the EUROCITIES Executive Committee.The goal of climate change, the objectives of sustainable development, sustainable urban mobility, the creation of a greener and less polluted city, with better living conditions for the population are also objectives pursued by Ricardo Rio, who has already entered into several partnerships with the local agents (companies, universities and research centers) to create a „Smart and innovative city, aligned with the environmental concerns and measures that we must follow to guarantee carbon neutrality.
The Executive has invested in clean energy sources and that many of the municipal services are already powered by solar energy. In terms of mobility, it has developed projects that aim to give priority to pedestrians, smooth modes and public transport, with 30% of our bus fleet being made up of electric vehicles or powered by natural gas until the first half of 2021.The Municipality of Braga signed a protocol with FCiência.ID - Association for Research and Development of Sciences in the scope of the project ‘Three4Climate - Three presidencies for the climate’, whose motto is ‘Think European - Act Local’. The Three4Climate project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).
The objective is to promote the collaboration of the Municipality, at various levels, for climate action in the territory, reflecting the spirit of the Presidency of the European Council between Germany (second half 2020), Portugal (first half of 2021) and Slovenia (second half of 2021), in a spirit of cooperation at all levels of governance. FCiência.ID is one of the partners of Three4Climate
Nominated by Daniela B., Braga:
O presidente referido tem dinamizado bastante a cidade de Braga, procurando, simultaneamente, através das medidas tomadas, melhorar a qualidade de vida dos habitantes e tornar a cidade mais sustentável.
Nominated by Sergio C., Portugal:
Open to innovation in sustainability field aggregating a range of urban mobility services with low or no carbon emissions.
Challenges for Braga: Fiscal incentive to collective transport.
Nominated by Alexandra, Portugal:
Since March, the Mayor Rio implemented several measures concerning the fight against COVID-19: donation of protection equipment to institution; creation of a direct phone line to give support to elder + 60; work closer to several organizations; production of videos with important information for people to stay home and safe; concerning local commerce the Mayor approved local measures to help reduce taxes, authorised restaurants and coffee shops to use the streets to create more space, among many others. The Mayor participated in several on-line debates about COVID-19 sharing Braga's experience.
Nominated by Mário P., Braga:
I highlight, as Mayor Rio’s main characteristics, the capacity for action/decision, creativity and the management of the common good in a positive and criterious way. In a short time the city of Braga has become more attractive, with excellent living conditions (assertive environmental policy; great cultural offer, better accessibility, among others). The implementation of policies to support job creation, with strong entrepreneurial dynamics, but also more inclusive social action policies, should also be highlighted.
Nominated by Maximilien L, outside Portugal:
As soon as the Covid-19 sanitary crisis started, our organization, in partnership with the EU institutions and WHO - World Health Organization - we started communicating information to travellers and contacted nearly 400 destinations we work with to find out what was in place to protect people and travellers.
We have collected hundreds of sanitary measures in over 400 destinations, Sibiu, Oradea, Milan, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Manchester, Bath, York, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Malmö, Gothenburg, ... and Braga turned out to be an example of good practices, an innovative laboratory associating health and social matters but also with concrete measures on public transport (with assistance for the most disadvantaged people - reduction in the price of subscriptions), on appointments in the administration public (remote work, digitization of the administration already in place) an implementation of targeted testings to protect the most exposed people such as nursing staff, the establishment of a hospital dedicated to the Covid-19 patient but also simple and free but effective actions: cut public wifi in the streets, appear publicly (the Mayor) with a mask when it was not yet mandatory.
What was very impressive in Braga were not just the sanitary and administrative measures but also the social measures to support people who could be isolated or affected economically from the start of the crisis. It is this short, medium and long term vision that makes the difference.
I have attended conferences of hundreds of mayors, dozens of ministers and European Commissioners, I have never seen someone so well acquainted with the subject he was talking about. The Mayor of Braga acts as a business manager which energizes the destination but there is also a very important social fiber and a good knowledge of its population, strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and challenges for the future.
Braga is committed with a network of European cities for zero carbon emissions, it is elected happiest city in Portugal, European city with the best quality of life, better economic and tourist growth (rather sustainable tourism than mass tourism), OECD has also rewarded it recently for the initiatives taken to fight against the Covid-19, Forbes elected it the best city in which to live for expats, it is not a coincidence, it is the fruit of an important work.
We worked with the Mayors of Bordeaux, Budapest, Nice, Cannes, Colmar, Strasbourg, Brussels, Manchester, Bilbao, Gdansk, Vienna, ... and we have never seen this.
I think these qualities are perceived by the locals because he won the elections when his party did not had very good results at the national level, I think it is also a way of knowing if a mayor is good. It is easier to win when a positive wave carries your political party, if you win against the wind it is because you have succeeded in establishing trust with the citizens.
Based on the covid-19 situation our point of view is that if some mayors really did well, did their best everywhere in the world, I can say that from a European point of view, Braga's Mayor was on the front line and at the forefront of other destinations we work with. Creative and active at the same time, sanitary & social measures to protect and support.
Challenges for Braga:
We work with + 90 EDEN destinations (sustainable destinations awarded by the European Commission). Sustainable is really important for us. Being sustainable does not mean thinking that ecology is also economic development, it is also allowing people to live and work in the city where they were born, it is to think of public spaces for all and everyone, people with reduced mobility, strollers, it's about fighting so that high-value-added companies are set up but also companies that will provide jobs to low-skilled people, it is to think globally so as not to favor a sector or a social class and think of quality of life as a priority.
Nominated by Alexandra V. G., Braga:
Mr. Ricardo Rio is a young and modern politician who was one of the first mayors to take action against the spread and effects of the pandemic in Portugal. His fast response to the crisis has helped Portugal keep its number of casualties as low as possible.
His leadership has led Braga to be recognized as one of the best tourist destinations in Europe and one of the best cities to live in. He has modernized and supported the use of public transportation and invested heavily in infrastructure to facilitate the use of bicycles as an alternative to the use of cars.
Nominated by Ruy A. G., Braga:
Mr. Rio is an economist who has understood the seriousness of the CoronaVirus crisis from the beginning. His actions included sanitary and health measures, which helped keep the number of deaths as low as possible and allow the health system to cope well with the problem. His administration has helped not only his Portuguese citizens but every person regardless of the nationality. He has worked together with the cities institutions and organizations representing the foreigners in order to safeguard the wellbeing of all people.
Braga has become a modern and yet sustainable city. His vision has allowed the city to grow and become a cosmopolitan place in Portugal. Braga has been elected in recent year as one of the best cities in Europe, mostly due to its environmental, social and economic policies.
Nominated by Gerri B., outside Portugal:
I wholeheartedly nominate Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, for World Mayor 20/21. Particularly, in this difficult year of COVID, the qualities that make Mayor Rio such an exemplary leader are abundantly clear, evident and impactful.
For his City of Braga, Mayor Rio served his citizens from city hall every day during lockdown periods ensuring that all of his citizens, inclusively, saw strong, guiding leadership to assist with quality information, healthcare advice, precautionary protocols, economic and business reversals, employment, housing and food hardship, continuity of public services, and the challenges of education. The leadership of Mayor Rio is consistently defined by public trust and integrity. This is well supported by a recent Dyntra ranking of transparency among municipalities of Portugal in which the City of Braga exceeded above all others. During this difficult year of COVID, Mayor Rio has also successfully maintained a leadership focus on Braga‚s future. Under his leadership, Braga has achieved a score of A’ among cities around the world from CDP for its leadership efforts to adapt to climate change protecting the future for all citizens.
In the European Commission on the Quality of Life in European Cities 2020, 97% of Braga citizens expressed satisfaction with their quality of life; 56% said that there had been greater improvement over the past five years. More than 87% of citizens see Braga as safe. More than 85% see Braga as inclusive and a good place to live for migrants. More than 83% see Braga as a good place to live for gay and lesbian people. More than 89% see Braga as a good place to live for the elderly. In my experiences, Braga is a beautiful, clean, safe, charming city with delightful food and ambience. It is highly walkable with many parks, squares and open spaces. Everyone is welcoming. History, innovation and culture are on display in harmony. Under Mayor Rio‚s leadership, Braga is now applying to be a European Capital of Culture 2027.
Under Mayor Rio’s visionary leadership, Braga has attracted global powerhouse companies. He has created sustainable economic success through fostering close-knit collaboration between the University of Minho, the Iberian International Nanotechnology Lab, Invest Braga and StartUp Braga creating an economy that is diversified and resilient. Under Mayor Rio‚s vision, Braga has transformed into a globally recognized design and innovation hub with a robust talent infrastructure, investment, and a startup culture offering equitable and inclusive opportunity for all citizens. In addition to StartUp Braga, Mayor Rio has also fostered the ideas of social entrepreneurism through the Braga Human Power Hub. Seeking innovative solutions for creating new talent for the green and digital jobs and entrepreneurism of tomorrow, Braga is leading the GPM Talent Cities initiative. Braga has recently been selected as the Talent chair city for the EU Global StartUp Cities initiative collaborating with pillars addressing youth and women to generate innovation across the EU.
Mayor Rio is an Executive Committee Member of both the Global Parliament of Mayors and EuroCities. In this difficult year of COVID, Mayor Rio generously made time to meet virtually with leaders of cities in forums and conferences to learn from other cities and to share the lessons of Braga. Recently, Mayor Rio participated in a UNICEF-UCLG ‘Cities are Listening’ event which focused on the role of cities in aiding migrant children, particularly in the time of COVID. His contribution was so valuable in assisting fellow cities to prepare with resilience. One aspect of his contribution must be mentioned here. When asked how to create a positive experience for migrant youth, Mayor Rio replied that it was a matter of perspective; migrant youth must be seen as positive with the potential to make a real contribution to their new city, not a burden. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I have on several occasions, had the opportunity to watch the interaction of Mayor Rio with his constituents. He listens, he empathizes, he seeks to solve or accept, he acknowledges everyone with patience and respect, he has humility. Mayor Rio is a great leader who does not forget that great leadership lies in being a public servant. He is truly a world example.
Nominated by Ricardo P., Braga:
Mayor Ricardo Rio created initiatives to support local commerce, like the removal of fees,and taxes, and the expansion of outdoor terraces. Motivated the population to use masks in the public way. Created social support initiatives. Made videos and took actions to emotional and psychological support. Renovated the city's olds structures. Started a project to create a central green park.