0. The New Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy0.1 What the new initiative is (vision, ambition, scope of action)
The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy was launched on 15 October at the 2015 Joint Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt Ceremony. It constitutes the mainstream European movement involving local authorities and their citizens in the fight against climate change.
This initiative defines renewed commitment(s) and a shared (2050) vision in order to tackle interconnected challenges: climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable energy.
The vision is threefold:
- Accelerating the decarbonisation of our territories, thus contributing to keeping average global warming below 2°C,
- Strengthening our capacities to adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts, thus making our territories more resilient;
- Increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources on our territories, thus ensuring universal access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy services for all.
The initiative also proposes a new “global chapter” by inviting signatories to share their vision, results, experience and know-how with fellow local and regional authorities within the EU and beyond.
By 2030, signatories commit to reducing carbon emissions across their territory by at least 40% and to increasing their resilience to the impacts of climate hange.
To translate their commitments into action, they commit to submitting a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) within two years following the formal signing, including the mainstreaming of adaptation considerations into relevant policies, strategies and plans. The action plan(s) must be based on a “Baseline Emissions Inventory” (BEI) for mitigation and a “Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment” for adaptation. It must define both mitigation and adaptation actions. Signatories have to report on the implementation of their SECAP every two years. At this occasion, they can readjust their priorities and review the sustainable energy and climate action plan to make sure they achieve their targets.
1. The “Mayors Adapt” Initiative in a nutshell1.1 What are the main goals of the “Mayors Adapt” Initiative and what key actions are planned?
The European Commission’s Directorate General Climate Action officially launched the “Mayors Adapt – The Covenant of Mayors’ Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change” on 19 March 2014. The initiative is being launched within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, the flagship European initiative for cities on taking action on climate change mitigation. The main aim is to inspire and support local authorities to show leadership and take action on climate change adaptation (besides mitigation). A series of tailored activities for local authorities are proposed in order to:
- Inform decision-makers, multipliers and other actor groups about the initiative and adaptation needs through the organisation of several dedicated awareness-raising Events
- Mobilise cities already leading in the field of climate protection and encourage others not yet so engaged to commit to the initiative through a process similar to the Covenant of Mayors.
- Support cities in their process of setting up and implementing local adaptation plans by providing first-class support to participating cities (Helpdesk) and quick access to existing expertise (Meta-Guidance platform).
- Facilitate networking and learning amongst cities on taking action through comprehensive city profiles.
- Enable signatory cities to showcase their activities and engagement in the initiative, raising the profile of climate change adaptation for the broader, general public.
Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting infrastructures and policies to climate impacts are both crucial to building more sustainable local authorities. Both mitigation and adaptation must go “hand-in-hand” and when possible reinforce each other. This is why Mayors Adapt was launched within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, as the latter offers a promising framework for local authorities to take action and facilitate networking, where both climate mitigation and adaptation efforts at local level could be considered in an integrated way.
Mayors Adapt was conceived to follow the model of the Covenant of Mayors initiative (e.g. promoting voluntary commitment and political ownership at local level, supporting the exchange of good practices etc.), as a parallel exercise for adaptation, with the objective to support local authorities in taking coherent action on both mitigation and adaptation by promoting an integrated approach.
A broad survey conducted by the Covenant of Mayors Office with the support of the Committee of the Regions in summer 2015 showed that a wide majority of cities were in favour of bringing both climate change pillars closer and merging both initiatives (Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt) to promote a coordinated climate action.
The new European policy context (i.e. the 2030 climate and energy package, the EU adaptation strategy adopted by EU member states and the Energy Union high on the agenda) provided an opportunity for the further development of the Covenant of Mayors initiative and the reinforcement of linkages between the Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt. The European Union has set a number of targets in terms of fight against climate change, shifting to a low-carbon energy system (namely a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030) and contributing to a more climate-resilient Europe. Local authorities have already shown they can make a crucial contribution in achieving these goals.
The international context (incl. the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the annual Conferences of Parties – COPs) also supported a better integration of both pillars at all administrative levels, and more particularly at the cities and towns level.
For more information on vision, ambition, scope of action of the new initiative, see FAQ 0.
For more information on adhesion modalities and reporting requirements, see FAQ 5.
For any further information, we invite you to consult our QAs for cities and the FAQs published in the Covenant of Mayors Website.
By joining the initiative, mayors commit to contributing to the overall aim of the EU Adaptation Strategy and creating a more climate-resilient Europe. This means enhancing their preparedness and their capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change by:
- Developing a comprehensive local adaptation strategy for the local authority (1); and/or*
- Integrating adaptation to climate change into their existing relevant plans (2).
* Note: Sufficient flexibility is given to the participating municipalities to choose the best way to integrate adaptation into their local policies and activities. They are invited to specify their desired option(s) in their Commitment document.
The Mayors Adapt Monitoring and Reporting Framework is based on the guiding principles defined in the Mayors Adapt Political Commitment document. Here below Local Authorities can find a self-assessment check list aimed at inspiring and guiding their action on adaptation.
Once their commitment in the frame of the initiative is taken, Mayors Adapt Signatories are invited to report on their progress by filling in the Mayors Adapt Monitoring & Reporting Template at different reporting stages, namely:
- At the registration stage, Signatories are requested to fill in at least the Signatory Profile and the Adaptation Scoreboard tab;
- Within two years from the adhesion, Signatories need to fill in the Strategy and the Risks and Vulnerabilities tab, and update the Signatory Profile and the Adaptation Scoreboard;
- Within four years from the adhesion, during the Monitoring phase, the Actions tab must be filled in with at least three actions, and all the above mentioned tabs must be updated.
For more information on the Reporting Requirements, see FAQs 4.2 and 4.3.
For more information and guidance on how to develop Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment and Local Adaptation Strategy, consult our u-AST (Urban Adaptation Support Tool), which provides cities with useful guidance on adaptation planning.
Mayors Adapt Signatories have also the opportunity to report their action through a simple online questionnaire. If you would like your city’s adaptation actions to be showcased in a factsheet, please fill in as much information as possible in the Mayors Adapt registration form. Even if you have already filled in the obligatory fields, please revisit the registration tool and fill in as much adaptation content as possible. We will get in touch with a draft once we have sufficient input from you.
2. Adhesion procedure2.1 Who can join?
The Mayors Adapt initiative is open to all local authorities democratically constituted with/by elected representatives whatever their size and whatever the stage of implementation of their climate policy. They must meet the following criteria:
- Official status of a “local authority” such as a “city” or an organised “agglomeration”;
- Democratically constituted with/by elected representatives;
- Have an elected, political leader who can act on its behalf;
- Must be located in the European Union (EU) territory; or in an EU Candidate or Potential Candidate, a European Free Trade Association or a southern Neighbourhood country*.
* Including Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo**, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Palestine***, Serbia, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
*** This designation does not entail any recognition of Palestine as a state and is without prejudice to positions on the recognition of Palestine as a state.
Note that similarly to what is proposed under the Covenant of Mayors, collaboration schemes with potential multipliers such as Coordinators (regions, provinces), Supporters (networks, associations) and Associated Partners will be proposed at a later stage.
Participating local authorities will find multiple reasons to join the initiative, and already signalled a variety of strong motivators to join during the consultation phase. The reasons for cities include:
- Showing political leadership in adaptation,
- Showcasing actions on adaptation,
- Profiling their territory as a pioneer and raising its profile, including in and via the Mayors Adapt community and beyond thanks to the initiative’s activities and website,
- Benefiting from the learning and experience of peers,
- Sharing the expertise developed in their own territory with others,
- Benefit from tailored and hands-on technical support.
To join the Mayors Adapt initiative, local authorities should undertake the following process:
- Present the Mayors Adapt initiative and associated Political Commitment Document to the municipal council;
- Once an official resolution has been adopted by the council, mandate the mayor – or equivalent representative of the council – to sign the Mayors’ Commitment (1st page of the Political Commitment Document);
- After signature, send the Political Commitment by email to: email@example.com;
- Once the adhesion is confirmed, fill in the registration form available here at the ‘Register your City’ section. It includes contact details as well as first information on the adaptation action status.
Interested local authorities can find out more about the benefits of joining the initiative, the reporting requirements and associated deadlines, the upcoming events etc. on the official website.
The helpdesk is available at any time should they require any further information.
Note: The Mayors Adapt initiative is a voluntary commitment. Hence joining is fully free of charge.
3. Support offered to Mayors Adapt Signatories3.1 What is the Mayors Adapt Office and what does it offer to Mayors Adapt Signatories?
The Mayors Adapt initiative is being implemented on behalf of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Climate Action. The Mayors Adapt Office is composed of a team of experts from across Europe, including city networks.
- CCRE/CEMR : The European umbrella association of local and regional governments, working across 41 European countries and representing all levels of territories
- Climate Alliance: A European network of local authorities committed to climate protection
- Ecofys: A European consultancy in energy & climate policy, energy & carbon efficiency and energy systems & markets
- EUROCITIES: The network of major European cities
- Fresh Thoughts: A consultancy linking scientific research to policy in the area of sustainable development
- IFOK GmbH: An international strategy and communications consultancy on issues of sustainable development
The key aims of the Mayors Adapt Office implementing Mayors Adapt are to promote the initiative and to support local authorities in successfully undertaking their political commitments. The following will therefore be offered to signatories:
- Visibility and communication on cities’ commitment to adaptation (website, signature ceremony, information events, materials for outreach by cities about their commitment, etc.),
- A helpdesk for operational questions, information and engagement with the initiative,
- Knowledge support (online platform with guidance materials, best practice examples, etc.)
- Synergies with the Covenant of Mayors and other relevant initiatives.
The EU finances adaptation to climate change in Europe through a wide range of instruments, aligned with the Europe 2020 Strategy towards “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”. The Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 should ensure that at least 20% of the European budget is climate-related expenditure (to be approved by the European Parliament).
Climate change adaptation is integrated into EU sectoral policies, using, on one hand, the five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds): the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), Cohesion Fund (CF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). On the other hand, other instruments exist, such as Horizon 2020, which promotes research and development on climate change adaptation, the LIFE programme which finances a wide range of projects related to environment and climate mitigation and adaptation, or the EU Solidarity Fund for natural disasters. For more Information about the LIFE programme and how to apply for it please have a look at the LIFE Climate Action Guidelines for applicants document.
4. How to submit a Local Adaptation Strategy/Plan and comply with the Monitoring and Reporting requirements4.1 When to submit a Local Adaptation Strategy and/or other relevant plans?
Mayors Adapt Signatories commit to submitting a Local Adaptation Strategy and/or Plan(s) within two years following the formal signing of the Commitment. The reference adhesion date is the date of decision by the municipal council.
Note for the signatories due to report in 2016: The merger of the Mayors Adapt and Covenant of Mayors last year has implied many new developments, including on monitoring and reporting, and the new Monitoring and Reporting Template was published last July. For this reason, your original deadline for submitting the Template has been extended until January 2017, providing you with additional time to become familiar with the reporting framework and compile the necessary information. Nevertheless, we encourage you to submit your reports at your earliest convenience even before the extended deadline. For more information on your specific case, please contact the Helpdesk Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In order to ease the submission procedure, the Mayors Adapt Monitoring & Reporting Template has been developed by the Mayors Adapt Office in collaboration with a group of practitioners from local and regional authorities. It enables signatories to report on their climate adaptation targets, progress, strategy, risks & vulnerabilities, and actions in a structured, comprehensive manner. It offers a set of graphical displays to help signatories visualise and understand their performance over time. It is accompanied by comprehensive reporting guidelines.
The Excel-based template must be filled in English. Once completed, it must be submitted – together with the associated (planning) documents available (in English and/or national language), either via email to email@example.com or, alternatively, if your municipality is also signatory of the Covenant of Mayors initiative, via the on-line submission system available through ‘My Covenant‘ (the Covenant website extranet section) and upload your documents under “My action plan” > “Upload document”). In this latter case, an e-mail should be sent in any case to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “LA Strategy or Plan submitted through My Covenant’, clearly indicating name of the Municipality and contact Person.
The submitted Adaptation Strategy and/or Action Plan(s) will be published on the Covenant of Mayors website, under the signatory profile. Signatories can specify which other submitted documents (e.g. Risk & Vulnerability Assessment) they wish to make public in the “Actions” tab, 1) “Adaptation Action Plans” section, through the “published?” column.
- Although the template is currently only available in an EXCEL format, an online template and online submission process may be proposed at a later stage (in 2017) on the Covenant of Mayors website (www.eumayors.eu) to facilitate reporting for local authorities.
- Once submitted, your Adaptation Strategy/Plan will be analysed by our team who will respond with feedback as necessary. More information on the analysis procedure will follow soon.
- For Mayors Adapt Signatories who are not Covenant of Mayors Signatories an account on ‘My Covenant‘ has also been created, their profile made publicly visible on the Covenant of Mayors website and their contacts will be soon integrated in the Covenant of Mayors database. Should any of these Signatories wish to have access to their profile and/or upload their Adaptation Strategy, please contact email@example.com and request access credentials to ‘My Covenant‘.
By joining Mayors Adapt, local authorities have formally committed to reporting progress every two years following signing up to the initiative. To do so, they are invited to fill in / update / complete the Mayors Adapt Monitoring & Reporting Template with the same frequency.
The template includes five main tabs:
- Signatory Profile (adding details about the local authority and the main contacts involved);
- Signatory Scoreboard (showing where the local authority is in the adaptation process);
- Strategy (providing details about the adaptation strategy);
- Risks & Vulnerabilities (describing the main climate change risks and vulnerabilities);
- Actions (listing adaptation actions undertaken).
The table below shows which tabs are compulsory (*) at the different reporting stages:
* : compulsory
Where circumstances outside the local authority’s control delay the completion and submission of the Monitoring & Reporting Template and associated documents within the established reporting timeframe (see above), a 9-month extension may be granted to signatories.
To request an extension, Mayors Adapt Signatories (or Mayors Adapt Coordinators on behalf of their associated Signatories) are invited to fill in the delay request form available here and send it to the Helpdesk team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- If the Mayors Adapt Signatory has not requested an extension of its submission deadline:
One deadline extension can be granted, provided that the signatory duly completes the delay request form available here – please refer to the FAQ: ‘How to postpone your Adaptation Plan submission deadline?’.
- If the Mayors Adapt Signatory has already been granted an extension:
The global success and the credibility of the initiative depend upon the fulfilment of the commitments taken by its signatories. The European Commission, recognising the efforts undertaken by other local authorities having complied with these commitments and respecting the termination clause of the Mayors Adapt official commitment text (*), suspends Signatories in case of non-submission within the revised timeframe. However, the signatory status in Mayors Adapt can be re-activated at any time, provided that the municipality fulfils its first commitment and duly submits a Local Adaptation Strategy and/or action plan(s) on-line – please refer to the FAQ: ‘ How to submit a Local Adaptation Strategy and/or other relevant plans?’.
(*) Short extract from the Mayors Adapt Commitment Document:
‘In case of non submission of the [Local Adaptation Strategy and/or other relevant plans] – we accept to be suspended from the initiative – subject to prior notice in writing by the Mayors Adapt office.’
5. More Information & Next Steps5.1 Where can local authorities find out more about the Mayors Adapt Initiative?
For more information, interested local authorities are invited to contact the Mayors Adapt Helpdesk at: email@example.com.
The official http://mayors-adapt.eu/ initiative website has been launched together with the initiative on the 19th of March by EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. Local authorities are also invited to consult the Climate-Adapt platform: hosted by the European Environment Agency, Climate-Adapt provides information on expected climate change in Europe, the current and future vulnerability of regions and sectors, national and transnational adaptation strategies, adaptation case studies on potential adaptation options, and tools that support adaptation planning.
As a Mayors Adapt signatory, your municipality has already committed to submit and implement a local adaptation strategy. There is no obligation for existing Mayors Adapt or Covenant of Mayors signatories to join the new initiative – it remains up to the local authorities to decide when to renew their commitment. You are however encouraged to join the new initiative to scale up your ambitions at your convenience: see the Letter to Mayors from Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete addressed to all European local authorities.
By signing up to the 2030 framework, your Mayors Adapt commitments are included in the 2030 commitments, which integrates actions on both climate change adaptation and mitigation. Your local authority is therefore well underway in fulfilling the adaptation requirements for the 2030 commitments.
For more information on the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy reporting requirements, see FAQ 5.4.
Local authorities willing to sign up to the Covenant of Mayors must present and discuss the Political Commitment document in their Municipal Council (or equivalent decision-making body). Once a decision to sign up is formally made, local authorities should fill in the Adhesion form (available in every European language) and register online here, uploading their duly signed adhesion form. Should the Local Authority already be registered in the Covenant of Mayors Extranet (‘My Covenant’), the duly signed adhesion form can be simply forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The date of the council decision will be the date of adhesion to the initiative, and must be indicated in the adhesion form and in the registration form online. Local authorities, with a duly signed adhesion form and acceptance, will subsequently be included into the public list of Covenant signatories.
Note: The Covenant of Mayors is a voluntary commitment. Hence the adhesion is fully free of Charge.
Small neighbouring municipalities can also benefit from preparing a joint Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP). To join as a group, each municipality will have to sign up with the designated adhesion forms for joint SECAPs. In this respect, the municipalities have two different options of collaboration.
- Option 1, which includes separate Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans with joint actions among the involved municipalities or
- Option 2, which includes one joint Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan for all involved municipalities.
Adhesion forms for joint SECAP options are available here; for further information do not hesitate to contact the Helpdesk Team.
In the frame of the new Covenant, signatories commit to reducing carbon emissions across their territory by at least 40% within 2030 and to increasing their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
To translate your commitments into action, you will need to submit a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) within two years following the formal signing, including the mainstreaming of adaptation considerations into relevant policies, strategies and plans. The action plan(s) must be based on a “Baseline Emissions Inventory” (BEI) for mitigation and a “Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment” for adaptation. It must define both mitigation and adaptation actions. Signatories have to report on the implementation of their SECAP every two years. At this occasion, they can readjust their priorities and review the sustainable energy and climate action plan to make sure they achieve their targets.
Note: As defined in annex to the Covenant of Mayors Commitment Document, the adaptation ‘pathway’ is kept flexible enough to integrate new knowledge and findings and reflect changing conditions and capacities of signatories. The adaptation strategy could be part of the SECAP or developed and mainstreamed in (a) separate planning document(s). Signatories can opt for the format of their choice. Moreover the identification and implementation of adaptation measures can be sequenced over time and therefore progressively integrated into the plan(s).
To submit the SECAP, you are invited to use the on-line submission system available via ‘My Covenant‘.
Important note: For the time being the SECAP Template is available only in an Excel format. The objective is to provide new signatories with a working version of the future online template that will be developed in the near future and should be available in 2017. Signatories are therefore invited not to overwrite on the online SEAP template to submit the SECAP.
Mayors Adapt signatories can also make use of all the existing material in the Covenant of Mayors Library to receive support for preparing a Baseline Emission Inventory and producing a plan for the mitigation actions.
The EU Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors announced in June 2016 the formation of a new, first-of-its-kind global initiative of cities and local governments leading in the fight against climate change. This single initiative will create the largest global coalition of cities committed to climate leadership, building on the commitments of more than 7,100 cities from 119 countries and six continents, representing more than 600 million inhabitants, over 8% of the world’s population. The launch of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy comes six months after the historic Paris climate change conference, where cities were crucial voices in shaping and advocating for a strong global agreement, and is a historic and powerful response by the world’s local leaders to the urgent climate challenge.
The new initiative will provide a common platform that brings together relevant data on cities’ energy and climate actions reported to the current EU Covenant platform and the platforms supporting the Compact of Mayors (CDP Cities and the carbonn Climate Registry), allowing for comparison of cities’ achievements to other cities and towns all around the world, and make them publicly available through a new Global Covenant of Mayors website, to be launched by January 2017.
See the European Commission’s press release here.
6. Mayors Adapt – Policy Context6.1 What is the EU context on Adaptation to Climate Change?
The EU Adaptation Strategy, adopted by the European Commission (EC) in April 2013, sets out the framework for contributing to a more climate-resilient Europe. It focuses on the following three key objectives:
- Promoting action by Member States: by encouraging all Member States to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies; providing funding to help them build up their adaptation capacities and take action; and supporting adaptation action by cities along the Covenant of Mayors initiative.Visibility and communication on cities’ commitment to adaptation (website, signature ceremony, information events, materials for outreach by cities about their commitment, etc.),
- Better informed decision-making: by addressing knowledge gaps.
- ‘Climate-proofing’ action at EU level: by further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors (e.g. agriculture, fisheries and cohesion policy), ensuring that Europe’s infrastructure is more resilient, and promoting the use of insurance against natural and man-made disasters.
Cities are given a central role to enhance the resilience of the EU to the adverse impacts of climate change. In this context, a new EU Adaptation Initiative for cities is currently being shaped “through which local authorities [will] make a voluntary commitment to adopt local adaptation strategies and awareness-raising activities” (Priority 1, Action 3). This initiative foresees the introduction of climate change adaptation in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, building upon the results of the previous Commission (DG CLIMA)’s pilot project, EU Cities Adapt, and linking with the existing EEA platform Climate-Adapt.
- Climate change is now heavily supported by evidence. The EU is already facing unavoidable impacts.
- Impacts will affect the full EU territory, with regional differences.
- Adapting to climate change is necessary, and goes hand-in-hand with an increase in the resilience of our social and economic systems and managing the negative impacts of climate change.
- Effective adaptation actions can reduce overall damage costs, save lives, and natural and human assets.
- Local authorities, in all socio-economic situations and geographical locations, are vulnerable to the various impacts of climate change – such as extreme weather events, like heat waves, storms, floods and droughts, as well as longer-term changes, like economic losses and public health problems – despite their emissions reduction efforts.
- Local authorities are key drivers in the implementation of adaptation measures, improving the overall resilience of local territories in policy fields – such as spatial planning, public health, civil protection, risk management, energy, water supply and the environment; and many initiatives are already in place to do so.
- Adaptation action brings new opportunities to enhance the quality of life of the citizens, promote sustainable urban development, stimulate investment and innovation, reinforce stakeholder participation and multi-stakeholder cooperation, and should therefore be integrated into urban development and planning practices. By adopting resilient thinking and investing in climate preparedness, EU Mayors and Political Leaders make their cities more attractive, healthier and safer.