Tallinn in brief

Tallinn is located on the shore of the Baltic Sea, in the north-eastern part of the Baltic region. It is the capital and economic center of Estonia, responsible for over half of the country’s GDP, and also ranked as a Global City. In addition to its long history as a seaport and capital, the City has recently developed a strong information technology sector. Other important economic sectors include the light, textile, and food industries, as well as the service and public sector. The Port of Tallinn is one of the biggest ports in the Baltic region. Tallinn Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as other major attractions make Tallinn a renowned tourist destination, receiving more than 1.5 million visitors annually.

Sustainability profile

In 2009, Tallinn signed the Covenant of Mayors and has accordingly pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. Significant changes have taken place in Tallinn’s waste management due to the improvement of waste sorting and utilization. A waste incineration plant has been built, which processes roughly 20% of household waste and produces energy for heating. In January 2013 Tallinn introduced free public transport for all registered residents of the city to encourage modal shift from cars to public transport, maintain clean air and reduce noise levels in the city center, and have more urban space. Additionally, public transport has been given priority on the roads in the city center and park-and-ride facilities have been established in the city. There are annual city clean-up events organized every spring and Tallinn participates in European Mobility Week by organizing Car Free Day and other events.

Thematic priorities for the exchange

Ecosystem services: Tallinn is experiencing growing fragmentation of its green areas and unconnected green corridors caused by current municipal urban planning methods. Tallinn wishes to address this issue through raising environmental awareness (especially amongst land owners and developers), creating a science-based biodiversity inventory, introducing strict environmental regulations during the planning process, and ensuring systematic supervision. Since local laws do not guarantee the preservation of ecosystem services, it is necessary to learn how these conflicts have been solved in other countries.

Low-carbon development: Tallinn is working to increase energy efficiency and use of renewable energy and to reduce CO2 emissions. The City needs to both improve the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and promote similar actions in businesses and among residents, as well as renovate the district heating network. Tallinn is looking forward to developing related actions based on what it can learn from other cities in the exchange.