On the occasion of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2021, the Covenant of Mayors Europe Office and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) organised the workshop "The Covenant Community: a trailblazer for the green transition" on 13 October 2021.
Moderated by Andrea Bodova, deputy head of unit, ENVE Commission of CoR, the event was the moment to bring together the Covenant community of Coordinators, Supporters and National Ambassadors from the CoR. It demonstrated how the Covenant of Mayors' multi-level governance model works in practice to accelerate the green transition. The event highlighted concrete examples from the Covenant community on mitigation, adaptation and energy poverty.
Julije Domac, Member of the CoM Political Board and Director of REGEA - North-West Croatia Energy Agency, opened the event highlighting that “2021 marks new ambitions, new targets, new Covenant! Indeed, one shared vision: By 2050, all European citizens will be living in climate-neutral, decarbonised and resilient cities with access to affordable, secure and clean energy”. “Since its beginning, the CoM has been supporting the implementation of EU policies on energy and climate. The fight against climate change is a joint effort, and we ask each of you to commit to the highest level of ambitions: there is no Plan B” he added.
On behalf of the National Ambassadors, Ms Kata Tutto, Vice Mayor of Budapest and Covenant Ambassador for Hungary stressed the close cooperation between the Covenant of Mayors and the CoR: “it’s a natural cooperation. The role of the national ambassadors is to help the process, promote and reinforce the Covenant in their own EU Member States, in cooperation with the Covenant of Mayors Office and the European Commission."
In a panel dedicated to the Covenant’s bottom-up and multi-level governance model, George Stiff of the CoM Office presented the brand-new report Multi-Level Governance in (Climate) Action – Co-creating policy solutions to tackle climate change. The report, which explains the concept of multi-level governance and its benefits based on concrete examples, also lays down 17 recommendations broken down into 5 governance principles: Openness, Participation, Accountability, Effectiveness, Coherence.
“All the major cities of the country are on board. They see the importance of multi-level governance in both adaptation & mitigation” added Anna Paskova, from Czech Ministry of Environment, National Covenant Coordinator since 2015 and assisting 86 signatories in the country. A national programme supported 11 projects in the last call in 2020. Further calls in 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Marteen Tavernier, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (Covenant Supporter), presented the Flemish Climate Pact, an idea launched two years ago by the association and developed with the Flemish Government. One of the requirements is to be Covenant Signatory: “We think we will end with more than 95% of the local authorities who will participate in the Climate Pact and also in the Covenant of Mayors.”
Enric Coll Gelabert, of the Network of Towns and Villages towards Sustainability, supported by the Barcelone Provincial Council (Covenant Coordinator) and including +300 local authorities all over Catalonia region most of them CoM Signatories, explained how they work together in the fields of the local energy transition, local adaptation and resilience, or environmental education. Joint actions include “meetings between the political members for the 4 province councils, the Metropolitan Area (all CoM Coordinators), and the Catalonian Energy Agency at the regional level, to coordinate for example what they do about funding.”
The session continued in Local Action breakout rooms dedicated to each pillar of the Covenant of Mayors. Andrea Bodova, the session moderator, presented the main messages resulting from the presentations and discussions in each room.
The panel Local action: Accelerating the decarbonisation of our territories had contributions from Alexis Chatzimpiros, Samso Energy Academy, Denmark (Covenant Supporter), Zélie MULDERS, Wallonia Region, Belgium (Covenant Coordinator), Silvio de Nigris, Piemonte Region, Italy (Covenant Coordinator) and Kata Tutto, Covenant Ambassador – Hungary. The discussion presented very ambitious strategies and programmes to support municipalities decarbonising their territories, including financial support to SECAP development and identification of technical experts to help in its development.
The need to strengthen the links between adaptation and mitigation policies, examples of LIFE projects supporting adaptation actions, and the importance of transnational cooperation and networking to learn and advance together were highlighted in the panel Local action: Adapting to climate change impacts. The panel of speakers included Pauliina Jalonen, Finnish Association of Local and Regional Authorities (Covenant Supporter), Agita Kaupuza, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (Covenant Supporter), Dorthe Selmer, Central Denmark Region, Denmark (Covenant Coordinator) and Andres Jaadla, Covenant Ambassador - Estonia.
The conversation in the panel Local action: Access secure, sustainable and affordable and affordable energy emphasized the importance of energy communities and having inclusive processes with the citizens, as well as the collective and local appropriation of the energy transition as success factors in this topic. Contributions from Thijs de la Court, Klimaatverbond, Nederland (Covenant Supporter), Pol BILLON, Region Centre Val de Loire, France (Covenant Coordinator), Claudia Carani, AESS, Italy (Covenant Supporter) and Graziella Galea, Covenant Ambassador – Malta, animated the session.
The recording of the session will be available at: https://eu.app.swapcard.com/event/eu-regions-week/planning/UGxhbm5pbmdfNjMxMTk0