to step up the CoR involvement in the political process to be able to shape the EU policy in this area and to ensure a more structured interinstitutional CoR-EC cooperation;
to forge its image as THE institutional supporter of the CoM
to give more visibility to CoR engagement by forming a group of "CoR Covenant Ambassadors" from among the 185 members – CoM signatories
to mobilise and empower relevant members to promote the Covenant both at EU level and in the EU's immediate neighbourhood – via CoR networks of contacts – through Portal of Decentralized Cooperation, CORLEAP, ARLEM, JCCs, WGs or the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership around the promotion of, and communication on, the Covenant
to contribute to the process of the Global Covenant and follow up on the efforts of converging this initiative with the Compact of Mayors
In 2016, this opinion had a major impact on the interinstitutional debate throughout the year, which was framed by the flagship developments of Covenant of Mayors: the globalization of the Covenant and the merger with the Compact of Mayors.
This own-initiative opinion and subsequent CoR activities substantially contributed to the mobilization of CoR members around the support for the Covenant and more generally to increased awareness of the importance of cities and regions in combatting the negative effects of climate change. It also increased the profile and interinstitutional recognition of the CoR by the Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament in this area.
The CoR featured strongly in events linked to the Covenant of Mayors, namely the EUSEW, EWRC and the COP22 in Marrakesh.
The group of CoR Covenant of Mayors Ambassadors was launched in June gathering 34 active CoR members. Ambassadors are encouraged to make use of the CoR "local events initiative". Several Ambassadors' events took place in 2016 (Hradec Kralove, Rakvere, EWRC, Yerevan). The creation of a coordinating dialogue involving the Ambassadors and relevant European Commission services is proposed to coordinate the joint messages and actions.
The CoR managed to play an active part in the merger (July 2016) of the Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors creating the world's largest coalition of cities engaged in climate action. Governance structures of this new Global Covenant of Mayors are being created. The CoR to ensure one seat is reserved for the CoR in the Founders' Council – advisory body of the General Secretariat - as well as an observer seat in the ISG meetings which set the general agenda for the Covenant of Mayors. Several events have been held together with the Global Secretariat of the Covenant and working cooperation with this Secretariat has been established.
High visibility of the Covenant and the Ambassadors during the COP22 in Marrakesh – coorganization of the Second Climate Summit for Local Leaders and one side event at this Summit plus participation of President Pigliaru in the Global Covenant event in the blue zone (led by the Global Secretariat of the Covenant). The CoR managed to be at the forefront of the promotional campaign for the Covenant in Marrakesh.
The Commission agrees on the strong added value of the Covenant of Mayors beyond the EU and the benefits of its replication in other parts of the world. The Commission, in cooperation with the CoR, launched, on 8 December 2015 within the margins of the COP21 in Paris, the Global Covenant of Mayors in order to promote the principles – including multi-level governance – of the EU Covenant of Mayors worldwide. A total budget EUR of 60 million will be available to support the EU and Global Covenant of Mayors until 2020.
The Commission, in cooperation with the CoR, European Parliament and representatives of pan-European city networks, has initiated the extension of the Covenant of Mayors beyond 2020 in a new Covenant initiative which incorporates adaptation to climate change and integrates Mayors Adapt. The Covenant of Mayors Office cooperates with the Pact of Islands, and a number of activities are being considered to support islands and their integration into the Covenant of Mayors.
The Commission supports the bundling of projects as an effective way to unlock public funding and mobilise private investments. It will take the suggestion into account in the preparation of the next multi-annual contract for the operation of the Covenant of Mayors Office which will be prepared during 2016. The existing support structure already takes into account the role of regional authorities which can play a crucial role in their capacity as Covenant Territorial Coordinators.
The Commission warmly thanks the CoR for its support and strongly welcomes the CoR's availability to promote the (new) Covenant of Mayors among its members.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- will continue its institutional support for the Covenant of Mayors and encourage, with the help of its current members, accession to the Covenant and the corresponding commitment to achieving the European Union's energy policy objectives and exceeding their targets;
- calls on the European Commission to ensure that the Covenant of Mayors is able to continue its activities beyond 2020 and advocates focusing more on small towns and municipalities;
- supports the global export of the Covenant of Mayors model and declares itself ready to help spread this model by means of partnerships with cities and regions in third countries, in particular those of the EU's neighbours with which it already has cooperation structures in place through its ARLEM and CORLEAP platforms or through its Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups;
- encourages the European Commission to promote the successful principles and good practice of the Covenant of Mayors beyond the EU and to encourage dissemination of the multi-level governance model for climate objectives in order to pave the way for further decentralised cooperation;
- points out that the current refugee crisis, mainly caused by war and economic hardship, could in the future become even more serious if climate change is not fought successfully and its consequences threaten the survival of more and more people;
- stands ready to develop actions to increase the visibility of the Covenant of Mayors among its members and encourages those who have not done so yet to become parties to the Covenant on behalf of their respective local or regional authorities; to this end, will explore the creation of an ad hoc grouping of "friends of the Covenant of Mayors" among those of its members who are already Covenant signatories and who could receive support in promoting the Covenant in the relevant structures both within and beyond the CoR.