Covenant of Mayors Office
1, square de Meêus
Senior EU officials and high level representatives from local and regional authorities speaking at the >>ManagEnergy annual conference this Wednesday have all concurred on one thing: the Covenant of Mayors is the reference frame of action for local sustainable energy policies.
Marie Donnelly, Director at DG Energy, was the first to take the floor and congratulate all the cities present at the event for taking part in what she called a “hugely successful initiative that is constantly growing”.Taking over, Director at DG Regional Policy Rudolf Niessler praised the Covenant of Mayors for its being “a model to learn from on how to bring together several local initiatives” and “a quality pipeline of projects eligible for cohesion policy co-financing”.Thomas Wobben, Director of Horizontal Policies and Networks at the EU Committee of the Regions, presented the >>Activate, Broaden, Cooperate (ABC) strategy adopted by the Committee and which calls for the geographical and political extension of the initiative. He concluded by saying that the success of the Covenant of Mayors is also the success of the Committee of the Regions.
In his speech, Jan Panek, the Head of Unit in charge of the initiative at DG Energy, highlighted that the Covenant of Mayors is a unique platform to unite local decision makers around a common, European policy objective and a way to address the EU democratic deficit through a successful bottom-up approach. He noted that collectively, signatories commit to reduce their emissions by an estimated 30%, meaning that the targets set through the Covenant are yet more ambitious than those agreed at EU level.
Sound impact at local and regional levels
It is a Covenant of Mayors signatory city that was chosen as winner of this year’s ManagEnergy award. The Danish city of Samsø, was indeed awarded for its ambitious >>“Samso 2.0” project on the topic of energy education.
Another award-winning city, Bielsko-Biała , which was crowned most energy-efficient Polish municipality in 2009, was represented at the Conference by Deputy-Mayor Zbigniew Michniowski, who talked about the administration’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and the involvement of citizens through the >>ENGAGE initiative.
From the region of Andalucía, attendees learned that as many as 535 SEAPS have been adopted through the Covenant of Mayors, thanks to the efforts of the region which coordinates the plans preparation and implementation process.
Coordination and streamlining of Covenant of Mayors activities at national level are in some cases facilitated by “clubs” of Covenant Signatories from the same country. Speaking at the ManagEnergy conference, the Mayor of Vaterstetten, mentioned that his city is part of the >>German Club, gathering over 3,000 members and through which an official letter was sent to Energy Commissioner Oettinger calling for additional financial support for Covenant of Mayors Signatories.
Synergies and way ahead
Synergies between the Covenant of Mayors and >>Smart Cities initiative were highlighted by Christof Schoser, Deputy Head of Unit at DG Energy, who indicated that the Smart Cities initiative would seek to provide the “means and toolbox to deliver solutions to help cities fulfill the commitments they have taken through the Covenant of Mayors”.
Wrapping-up the session, Head of the Covenant of Mayors Office Kristina Dely concluded by saying that the Covenant of Mayors was “expanding horizons”, in terms of potential thematic extension and in view of its geographical coverage, with the recent opening of offices in Georgia and Ukraine and the foreseen extension to Mediterranean cities. Cooperation with Chinese cities and the private sector were also mentioned as successful developments of the initiative.
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