Committee of the Regions, Brussels
For municipalities climate change becomes a bigger risk, every day. Some form of climate-resiliant planning is needed. At the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019, CLARITY and BEACON presented solutions for adaption and mitigation to tackle climate change risks.
Their interactive session hosted 70 people from urban and infrastructure planning and development, municipal decision-makers, energy and climate policy experts, with interest in bringing together adaptation and mitigation measures at the local level. The session was organized with three roundtables.
Roundtable Climate City Partnerships
“Learning from other cities’ experience is vital to fast track progress” (Ilias Savvakis, Secretary General, Agios Dimitrios)
At one roundtable, the municipality of Agios Dimitrios (Greece) and Bottrop (Germany) tackled shared challenges and explained what they have gained from their climate city partnership, moderated by Lisa Schneider, Project Manager at adelphi. These are:
- Local authorities can benefit substantially from exchange on climate and energy topics with their partner cities (due to similar size, etc.)
- Challenges to municipalities of similar sized cities are often very similar throughout Europe
- Exchange with partner cities creates a space to find solutions outside the “national bubble” and can help moving forward
- Not only small and medium sized cities, but also large urban areas profit from the exchange on climate action, e.g. London and its partner cities in the Horizon 2020 project “Sharing Cities”.
Roundtable Smart Cities
"It is important to implement smart city solutions in an ingegrated way." (Liviu Stanciu, Communication Manager Alba Iulia Smart City project)
Alba Iulia (Romania) discussed the challenges of disseminating smart/ big data obtained through smart solutions via smart cities with participants at their roundtable, moderated by Sarah Gül, Senior Consultant at Navigant.
Alba Iulia is a pilot city for smart city solutions along with large cities like Barcelona. They cooperate with 45 local and international companies to implement smart technologies. The concept of smart cities is at a very early stage, i.e. companies developing solutions are always looking for open-minded and interested cities to pilot the technologies. Smart city solutions are not financially sustainable yet.
Liviu considers it important to not implement individual smart city solutions in an isolated manner, but to look at combined measures. Alba Iulia is interested in how to make the citizens understand what the city administration is doing related to smart city solutions; benefits are often not visible, such as reduced air pollution.
The city sees their main work in engagement through e.g. organising events to raise awareness and sense of action among citizens. It has now started gathering feedback from their citizens on the smart city solutions by online surveys when the citizens get on certain public buses and use the free wifi. More than 10.000 responses were obtained.
Roundtable climate risk assessment with CSIS
"You need not be a geo-scientist to make a valid climate assessment of your planned infrastructure projects." (Denis Havlik, Austrian Institute of Technology)
Denis Havlik from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Vienna presented the prototype of the climate risk assessment tool CSIS developed in H2020 Project CLARITY. Participants were especially interested in features as:
- The tool can be used locally, local data can be integrated; it was discussed where data can come from.
- The tool can be used outside of cities - it is a matter of available data. Regional committment of some kind may be requested for that.
- It is possible and strongly encouraged by the team to integrate third party applications; this feature met a lot of interest.
- EU Institutions like the Environment Agency are prepared to contribute data and digital tools from their work.
- Participants liked that documentation of assesment process and decisions is made easy by the report-generation feature.
Panel on integrated adaptation and mitigation and access to finance
EBRD, Sumeet Manchanda
EBRD is open to support both national and local governments in their climate action measures, aside from its private sector engagement. They fund large and small projects including direct cooperation with municipalities.
EBRD’s Green Cities programme: funding for cities with more than 100.000 citizens, in a four-step-approach including an initial assessment of the environmental and climate-related challenges and a benchmarking against others as well as a Green City Action Plan.
Energy Cities, Kristina Dely
Energy Cities is coordinating communication campaigns, supporting the implementation of measures in cities and providing knowledge and data, among others. Energy Cities provides e.g. a cities’ best practices public database on its website.
BEACON municipalities, Liviu Stanciu, Ilias Savvakis
Consensus amongst present municipalities: engaging with citizens is key to be able to implement any climate change mitigation or adaptation measure.
Agios Dimitrios learned what the citizens care most about through a tailored materiality analysis.
Key recommendations from panelists to participants include
- Sumeet Manchanda, EBRD recommends reaching out early in the project planning process as EBRD provides support for the financial structure of the project.
- Liviu Stanciu, Alba Iulia (BEACON partner city) recommends creating a digital platform to harvest idea about climate change.
- Kristina Dely, Energy Cities recommends careful planning - reducing CO2, while ensuring social cohesion and economic competitiveness
- Katrin Knur, City of Bottrop (BEACON partner city): involve people and convince them that they are part of the change that we need. E.g. an urban gardening project allow for citizens to give their time and resources, as available.
- Ilias Savvakis, Agios Dimitrios (BEACON partner city): “Find out what you really care about as a municipality, and then ask your citizens what they really care about”.
The European Week of Regions and Cities 2019
6.000 participants, 600 speakers, over 140 partner regions and cities from 30 countries. The European Week of Regions and Cities is a vivid platform for stakeholders and policiy makers to discuss new solutions for municipalities in the European Union.