Joint Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt Ceremony 2015
In the morning: Launch of a new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
The Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt Signature Ceremony 2015 took place in Brussels on Thursday 15th October 2015. Hundreds of city representatives flocked to the European Parliament on the day for the launch of the new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, less than two months ahead of the COP21 international summit in Paris.
Since 2009 onwards, some 6,500 local authorities have already committed to the 2020 CO2 reduction objective. As part of the “new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy”, signatory cities will pledge action to support implementation of the new 2030 EU targets, a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the extension of the initiative to a more global scope. This means that the Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt, the Covenant of Mayors’ initiative on climate change adaptation, are merged into the new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
Three new pillars: 2030 horizon, integration of mitigation and adaptation and the international dimension
Last summer, the European Commission launched a consultation process with the support of the European Committee of the Regions to collect cities’ views on the possible orientations of a new Covenant of Mayors. The response was unanimous: 97% called for a new target beyond 2020. The majority also endorsed the 2030 objectives for a minimum 40% CO2 reduction, 27% increase in energy efficiency and renewables, and supported the integration of mitigation and adaptation to climate change under a common umbrella*.
“The response to climate urgency can also become an opportunity for local development, job creation and the emergence of a new societal model,” said Mayor of Nantes Johanna Rolland, whose city plans to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030.
Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont shared the ambitious political objective to become “a climate-proof city by 2030, prepared for precipitation extremes, droughts, heat-stress and sea level rise.” The COP21 host city was represented by Deputy Mayor of Paris Patrick Klugman, who also shared inspiring experience with his peers, as the city just adopted its climate adaptation roadmap and plans to create 100 ha of green roofs by the end of the Mayor’s political mandate. On the energy front, Paris is on course to power all municipal buildings with green electricity by 2016.
An EU Success Story: The “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative”
The Covenant of Mayors has introduced an institutional novelty in the European policy landscape by encouraging local leaders to voluntary support the implementation of EU-adopted targets. Commissioner Arias Cañete welcomed this “bottom up approach which has worked so well in Europe”. He emphasized the Covenant of Mayors was already the “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative” and a European success story to be exported on the road to Paris.
Echoing the Commissioner’s remarks, Mayor of Heidelberg Eckart Würzner later pointed out that with over 200 million citizens represented through local council commitments, the Covenant of Mayors voice could not be ignored ahead and beyond the COP21.
“Opening up the model worldwide offers an opportunity to allow cities and regions across the globe to collaborate, share ambition and set the future agenda on climate change,” added Committee of the Regions President Markku Markkula.
Marketplace of Ideas
The Ceremony was accompanied by a Marketplace of Ideas offering participants the chance to learn from other’s experiences. The exhibitors presented what their organisation is doing, showcased concrete projects and measures as well as activities others can learn from. The following organisations and initiatives took part in the Marketplace: European Environment Agency – EEA, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction – UNISDR, Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt, Energy Union & the support of LRAs, New deal for consumers, Smart and Sustainable cities, Green Digital Charter, LIFE and green Infrastructure, Horizon 2020, European Investment Bank – EIB.
In the afternoon: Information event on urban adaptation
The Ceremony part in the morning launching a new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy was followed by an Information event on urban adaptation in the afternoon. The three consequent sessions scheduled from 14.30 until about 18.00 offered a unique opportunity for participants to engage with each other on common challenges and opportunities in adapting to climate change. The sessions also offered a great platform for learning and exchanging about tools, sharing tips and experience and addressing concrete questions on adaptation.
Moderator of the Information Event: Beatriz Yordi, Head of the Adaptation Unit, DG Climate
Action, European Commission
Welcome and Opening
by Beatriz Yordi, Head of the Adaptation Unit, DG Climate Action, European Commission
I. Session on “Integrated Strategy for local climate change response – Inspiring Achievements”
The thematic session on “Integrated Strategy for local climate change response – Inspiring Achievements” was a panel discussion, during which participants can find out on how adaptation and mitigation activities can be linked and what kind of (co-)benefits could be seen when tackling the two. The panellists presented their lessons learned and best practices, they discuss benefits and costs and speak – if applicable – about funding Options.
• Kit England, Policy and Communications Business Partner, Newcastle City Council, Newcastle, UK
• Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy-Mayor in the field of European policies and environmental protection, Burgas, BG
• Luís Almeida Capão, Cascais Ambiente, General Manager, Cascais, PT
II. Session on “Moving from commitment to action – Leveraging the assistance of coordinators, supporters and other Multipliers”
The Covenant of Mayors owes a great deal of its success to the active participation of regions, provinces and other such public authorities as well as city networks and other organisations, who put their resources and know-how at the service of signatories. Recognised as “Coordinators”, “Supporters” or “other multipliers” by the Commission, they act as key allies in conveying the message and increasing the impact of the initiative. Such successful multi-level governance and cooperation models have been replicated under Mayors Adapt.
The thematic session on “Moving from commitment to action – Leveraging the assistance of coordinators, supporters and other multipliers” was a panel discussion, during which participants can find out on how the panellists have benefitted and learned from other key stakeholders/initiatives when developing or launching new adaptation and mitigation activities. The panellists also presented how they support the work cities are doing in the field of adaptation and mitigation and – how cities can make use of that.
• Jesus Calderer, Deputy for Natural Areas in Barcelona Provincial Council, Province of Barcelona, ES
• Anna Czyżewska, Deputy Director, National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, PL
• Alessandro Attolico, Executive director of Territorial Planning and Development and Civil Protection Department, Province of Potenza, IT
• Antonio Di Nunzio, Vice-President, RENAEL – Rete Nazionale Agenzie Energetiche Locali (Italian Network of Local Energy Agencies)
III. Session on “Strengthening the technical and financial support offered to signatories”
The thematic session on “Strengthening the technical and financial support offered to signatories” was as a panel discussion, during which participants can find out about tools and financial instruments on offer to help them take action on climate change adaptation and mitigation and pose concrete questions on challenges they face. The panel was divided into two parts: one focussing on the Urban Adaptation Support tool and the other one on financing instruments and EU grants.
Panellists of part 1: Climate-ADAPT and the Urban Adaptation Support Tool
• Birgit Georgi, European Environment Agency (EEA)
• Linda Romanovska, Mayors Adapt Office
• Experience from a city on using the information and knowledge support tools: Dr. Veronika Wirth, Department of Health and Environment, Urban Climate Officer, City of Munich, DE
Panellists of part 2: Update on the available EU grants and financial instruments
• Judit Törökné Rózsa, Head of Unit of the Competence Centre for Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development from DG for Regional and Urban Policy
• Monica Scatasta, Head of Water and Waste Management Division at European Investment Bank
• Christos Fragakis, Deputy Head of Unit, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, DG for Research and Innovation
• Experience from a city on financing adaptation:
Dr. Veronika Wirth, Department of Health and Environment, Urban Climate Officer, City of Munich, DE
You did not have the chance the join the event? The whole event day was webstreamed – so you can watch the video of the day here (available until 1 month after the event). The afternoon’s Information event starts at 2.39 h.
See here for the list of speakers of the Information event including pictures and short biographies.