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Covenant of Mayors: reinforcing the initiative at the national level

We all need to be committed to a sustainable recovery that is capable of enabling a successful green transition and achieve the EU's objectives of reducing emissions by 55 % by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050.

Launched in 2008, the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together more than 10 000 local governments voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives, making this the world's largest movement on local climate and energy action.

By raising awareness and building capacity on mitigation, adaptation and energy topics, as well as promoting engagement in a resilient and green recovery, the Covenant of Mayors in Europe can provide key support to the implementation of a successful European Green Deal. The targets and actions of Covenant Signatories contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 agenda while serving as key instruments for the governance of the Energy Union, notably through the National Energy and Climate Action Plans (NECP).

The initiative introduced not only a first-of-its-kind bottom-up approach to energy and climate action but also a multilevel governance model that brings together local governments, regions, Member States, citizens and local stakeholders, offering a key instrument to accelerate the green transition.

This continuous exchange between different governance levels strengthens a variety of processes, especially supporting and accelerating climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as effectively tackling energy poverty, providing a coherent framework for the just transition and addressing many other crucial issues.

The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Europe is an example of coordinated multilevel action itself; it also offers ideas, resources and opportunities to enable, scale up and mainstream multilevel governance in climate and energy policies across Europe.

Alongside the committed community of signatory cities, the covenant model relies on the key role of coordinators at national and subnational levels (provinces, regions, ministries, metropolitan areas, groupings of local authorities), which provide strategic guidance, and financial and technical support to covenant signatories to help them develop and implement sustainable energy and climate action plans.

"The targets and actions of Covenant Signatories contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 agenda

Moreover, across Europe, a community of supporters including national associations of local and regional authorities, networks of cities, and local and regional thematic agencies (e.g. energy, environment) take action in their territories and areas of expertise, at different levels of governance (e.g. European, national, regional, local) to promote the Covenant of Mayors initiative, and mobilise and support their members and/or local governments to reach the Covenant of Mayors' objectives.

To further strengthen the embedding of the Covenant of Mayors at national level, a chamber of National Ambassadors promotes a more country-focused approach to the implementation of the initiative. With 27 members -one per Member State- appointed by the European Committee of the Regions, the chamber's goal is to endorse and reinforce the initiative in the Member states, in cooperation with the European Commission, the Covenant of Mayors Office, the European Committee of the Regions and the National Associations of local and regional governments. It is also an additional way of collecting tailored feedback from the territories about their specific needs and strengthening the role of the initiative.

For these reasons, the covenant is ideally placed to provide a multilevel platform that enables low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development in collaboration from local to national level.

By organising the workshop 'The Covenant Community: a trailblazer for the Green Transition' during the 2021 #EURegionsWeek, we aim to demonstrate how the Covenant of Mayors multilevel governance works in practice to accelerate the green transition, building on concrete examples of the covenant community of coordinators and supporters with contributions and key insights from National Ambassadors of the Covenant of Mayors.

"To further strengthen he embedding of the Covenant of Mayors at national level, a chamber of National Ambassadors promotes a more country-focused approach to the implementation of the initiative"

We trust that the success of the Covenant of Mayors model can inspire others not only to join the movement but also to raise awareness of the societal challenges resulting from climate change and the need to take concrete action towards a fair and climate-neutral Europe to ensure a high quality of life for citizens in all territories.

Pedro Bizarro Covenant of Mayors - Europe Office

This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL