Citizen engagement at the heart of energy transitions

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Tue 20, October 2020
11:30 - 13:00 CET
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EIT Climate-KIC and partners invite you to join a ninety-minute interactive online workshop with funders, policy makers, and a broad cross section of city change makers. Together we will explore and discus the theme of empowering citizens within the context of Europe’s green energy transition.

Pandemics and climate change are both dramatic crises and cities are particularly exposed to both types. Cities are always at the front line when it comes to tackling the risks and are key to addressing strategic objectives set at EU level and support climate neutrality pathways. Citizens are already actors of the transformation movements in cities, but they need to be further empowered to support the building of more resilient communities in response to acute shocks such as pandemics.

Understanding the role and the ways to involve citizens will be crucial to scaling solutions that can support the transformation of the building sector. Join this session to explore the insights being gained from experiments across Europe where cities are adopting a radical co-creation process to help achieve their ambitions to reach zero carbon by 2030.

Discover how Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid are working with citizens to respond to acute shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and how they are mobilising to ensure the recovery supports work on the chronic risks of climate change as well as opportunities for building healthier, cleaner cities.

Learn how you can be involved and help scale up this promising work across Europe and globally!

Marian Cramers, Director of Development, Democratic Society, Netherlands.
Martina Francesca, Local Connector, Democratic Society, Italy.
Brian Kilkelly, Development Lead – Urban Transitions, EIT Climate-KIC, United Kingdom.
Tena Petrovic, Cities Advisor, EIT Climate-KIC, Netherlands.
Natalia Vera, Cities Advisor, EIT Climate-KIC, Netherlands.
Jan Duffhues, tbc, tbc, Netherlands.
Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, EIT Climate-KIC, Netherlands.
Castaño Javier, tbc, tbc, Belgium.
Christina Paci, tbc, tbc, Italy.
Santiago Saura, Councillor for International Affairs and Cooperation, City of Madrid, Spain.
Green Europe
EIT Climate KIC
English (EN)

Session summary

EIT Climate-KIC, together with Democratic Society, hosted a session which aimed to explore and discuss the theme of empowering citizens in cities within the context of Europe’s green energy transition. Three cities - Milan, Amsterdam and Madrid - were invited to share their experience of engaging with citizens with a various range of stakeholders (local authorities, EU policy-makers, NGOs, businesses, funders). The purpose of this session was both to gather insights and knowledge from speakers and participants on the best ways to drive systems change through citizen engagement and also to attract the interest and engagement of policy makers and funders to support EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstrations programme. Participants had the opportunity to strongly feed into the debate in break-out rooms by responding to the following two questions: 1. What is your experience of citizen engagement?  2. what is the fundamental purpose of citizen engagement? Each room was facilitated by one facilitator – either from EIT Climate-KIC or Democratic Society – who captured key points of the discussion on the following Miro Board: https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_kidIW9c=/

The outcomes of the session were very positive:

· We managed to have 64 participants, more than our initial expectation.

· Very good content and insights were shared by speakers. City representatives from Milan, Amsterdam and Madrid shared good examples of what they are doing as local authorities to engage their citizens as part of their climate plan.

· Good exchanges were held in break-out rooms with participants that allowed them to outline key take-away messages from the conversations.

· EIT Climate-KIC was referenced several times by speakers for the added-value of participating to the Deep Demonstration Programme. 

Take away message

- citizen engagement is still a very poor experience and is not yet embedded in local governance;

- cities are experimenting with new ways of involving citizens to make them part of their roadmaps towards climate-neutrality;

- there is a strong need for a narrative, not only on what governments should do to enable a climate transition, but also why citizens should take part of the process;

- Issues at stake are inherently social and this is where innovation can help to catalyse change.

"How is citizen engagement in climate different to other forms of citizen engagement?"


Kirsten Dunlop, CEO, EIT Climate-KIC

"Madrid is pleased to be one of the cities that is part of EIT Climate-KIC’s City Deep Demonstration, working in a multi-actor process to co-create and co-design to accelerate the city action plan".

Santiago Saura, Councillor for International Affairs and Cooperation, City of Madrid, Spain

"Milan will soon adopt an Air and Climate Plan to address pollution issues and commit to a climate neutrality target by 2050".

Christina Paci, Project Manager, City of Milan, Italy

"It's not so much that governments need to engage citizens, but citizens need to engage governments. In Amsterdam, citizens themselves have taken up the doughnut framework, making 'doughnut deals' with the government and with each other".

Jan Duffhues, Innovation Strategist, City of Amsterdam, Netherlands

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