Covenant of Mayors Community: a governance model for the future Cohesion Policy
The workshop was introduced by Markku Markkula Vice President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) who expressed the need to set the ambition higher especially in the light of the latest IPCC report, to show more what local level can do. Elena Višnar Malinovská HoU Adaptation at DG CLIMA recalled that the EU has proposed an ambitious cohesion policy towards a low-carbon society. Regions have the possibility of earmarking 6% of their ERDF to finance the energy and climate transition. She called for cities to get involved and have their say in the design of these regional programmes.
Isabel Elizalde, Regional Minister Navarra, described the cross-cutting and integrated environmental strategy of the region: multi-level governance and the possibility of multi-fund management are two key tools for regions, called for this to be a discussion topic when defining the EU budget and regional programmes.
Julije Domac, REGEA Director, President FEDARENE, EU Covenant of Mayors (CoM) Board Member, stated that local governments should be better included in the definition of the cohesion policy to make sure the investments are useful and achievable. He represents communities voluntarily committing to go beyond the EU climate and energy goals. The 7000+ CoM signatories are demonstrating the potential of local governments which contribute to one third of the EU CO2 reduction goals. Energy transition should be a topic in all EU programmes and their rules should be harmonised for bigger impact.
Manuela Bora, Region Marche, CoR member, highlighted concrete examples of her ambitious regional energy and climate agenda. The ERDF allocation was definitely oriented to support sustainable action: 48 M€ for energy savings in buildings and 13 M€ for sustainable mobility, with a reward for CoM municipalities. She underlined the need for simplification in procedures to increase the efficiency of public bodies managing these funds.
Katharina Krell presented the Interreg Policy Learning Platform which helps local and regional governments developing better policies through exchange of experiences. Examples demonstrate that those who do better and get more out of regional funds are regions with integrated strategies. CoM helps territories adopt this multi-level governance and cross-cutting approach.
Commissioner Cañete joined the workshop for a special announcement: the winners of the Covenant of Mayors city in the spotlight award!
The second part of the session was moderated by Kata Tüttő, CoR member, Budapest, and allowed participants to react on the following projects:
Anna Camp, Province of Girona presented BEenerGi which aims at mobilising investments in energy efficient public lighting and buildings through innovative funding schemes.
Giustino Piccolo, Climate Alliance, presented FALCO which develops a financing solution for over 180 Flemish Covenant action plans.
Christian Larsen, Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, gave an overview of the opportunities offered by the EEA Grants.
Take away message
Examples from the Covenant of Mayors Community (CoM) demonstrate that regions with integrated strategies do better and get more out of cohesion policy funds. The CoM helps territories to adopt this multi-level governance and integrated approach by putting the energy and climate transition as a cross-cutting topic in the local and regional planning.
Local governments should be better included and represented in the design of the cohesion policy and regional programmes, to make sure investments are achievable and deliver results.
Elena Višnar Malinovská: [talking about the cohesion policy] the European Commission is committed to simplification, to make sure it does not mean ‘simply fiction’ – changes come with unity and cooperation, and the Covenant of Mayors Community is a great example of local bold action.
Markku Markkula: We need to make the Covenant experience visible and set the ambition higher. We want to show more what you can do at city, local level, at EU and globally in terms of energy and climate and show the importance of multi-level governance. Learning together is the key.
Miguel Arias Cañete: It is now ten years since the Covenant of Mayors has been launched. Through signatories sharing their experiences, we have an ever-growing knowledge base of what works and does not. I am sure these experiences will help other cities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.