Environmental protection and the fight against climate change: ENVE's top priorities for 2018  
Environmental protection and the fight against climate change: ENVE's top priorities for 2018

As UN climate talks concluded last 17 November in Bonn, members of the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) met in Brussels to evaluate the progress made in the implementation of the Paris agreement and adopt ENVE's work programme for 2018. President Karl Heinz Lambertz hosted the first ceremony of the Transformative Action Award rewarding cross-sectorial sustainability actions with ENVE chair Cor Lamers as Jury member.

Debriefing on COP23 was a key point at the ENVE commission meeting held in Brussels. The European Committee of the Regions had a strong presence at COP23 in Bonn. A delegation of 20 members from 14 different Members States advocated in favour of a new multi-level governance on climate that fully integrates local and regional authorities. Mayor of Sheridan and ENVE commission chair Cor Lamers (NL/EPP) said: "Our presence at COP23 definitely contributed to achieve our objectives. There is clear consciousness that a successful global climate policy is only possible with the involvement of local and regional authorities". Lamer's opinion was shared byGino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI who stated: "Bonn has been a great step forward for Local and Regional Authorities".

Members applauded the successful meetings between President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and Governor of California Jeremy Brown as well as the cooperation with Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, and Jenny Gerbasi, President of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities . As stated in its work programme for 2018 "the ENVE Commission will seek to establish and consolidate a new coalition with local and sub-national authorities in North America with the aim of developing a "Transatlantic Dialogue". Members celebrated that Andrew's Cooper (UK/EA) concept of Locally Determined Contributions was included it in the Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders , the final declaration adopted by over 300 elected representatives at the COP23 Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. ENVE members foresee the adoption of an own-initiative opinion or a resolution aimed at influencing the debate in the run-up to the next COP24 to be held in Katowice (Poland) in autumn 2018.

President Karl Heinz Lambertz hosted the first ceremony of the Transformative Action Award, organised by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark). The Award recognises actions that address the pathways of the Basque Declaration for sustainability . The winner project is Nilüfer from Turkey. President Lambertz said: "The Transformative Action Awards are an inspiration to all local and regional actors without whose leadership and decisive action we would not have any chance of winning the battle against global warming". Congratulating the Nilüfer delegation, Cor Lamers handed the award. “I congratulate Nilüfer on their extraordinary achievements in promoting citizen engagement and participatory local democracy in their transformation towards a sustainable, liveable and inclusive city", said the new chair of the ENVE commission.

The ENVE Commission appointed Mauro D'Attis (IT/EPP) as rapporteur of the opinion on the rules for the internal market in natural gas. ENVE chair Cor Lamers (NL/EPP) has been proposed as rapporteur of an own-initiative opinion on the 8th Environment Action Programme. The ENVE Commission will organise an external meeting and conference on " Sustainable development in the European Lake Regions" to be held in Balatonfüred, Lake Balaton Resort Area, Hungary, in June 2018. A seminar on "Energy – Education – Sustainability: Investing in the future of the regions - from vision to citizens' everyday lives" will be held in the region of Southern Burgenland, Austria in November 2018. A study visit will be organised in Lódź, Poland, in June 2018 on the "Role of the local government in development of a circular economy".

The ENVE commission adopted the draft opinion of Csaba Borboly (RO/EPP) on 'Promoting coexistence with conflict species within the framework of the EU Nature Directives '.

Members adopted the work programme for 2018 which is structured in four policy areas:

  • Climate change and the implementation of the Paris agreement

 

The ENVE Commission will keep monitoring the implementation of the Paris agreement and encourage the relevant EU and UNFCCC bodies to strengthen multi-level governance and climate finance mechanisms. The CoR will continue contributing to the development of the Global Covenant of Mayors as member of its Founder's Council. Together with the implementation of the CoR-ICLEI and CoR-Climate Alliance Action Plans, EU cities and regions are committed to strengthen their global alliances on climate.

  • The circular economy and the environment

The ENVE Commission will keep its goal to influence the decision-making of the European Parliament and Council on the waste legislative proposals and on the additional initiatives of the European Commission's Work Programme 2018 to deliver on the Circular Economy Action Plan. These are two legislative proposals: a REFIT revision of the Drinking Water Directive and a proposal for a Regulation on minimum quality requirements for reused water and three non-legislative proposals: a strategy on plastics use, reuse and recycling, an initiative to address legal, technical or practical bottlenecks at the interface of chemical, product and waste legislation, and a monitoring framework for the circular economy. Possible cooperation with the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is currently being explored. The CoR will address the main environmental aspects through an opinion on the opinion on the 8th Environment Action Programme.

The CoR is to adopt an opinion on The role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy by rapporteur Kata Tűttö (HU/PES) next 30 November during the last s plenary session of the year.

  • The Energy Union

The CoR, acting on behalf of the local and regional authorities across the EU, will seek to increase its involvement in the preparation of the EU's climate and energy policy guidelines up to 2030. A key priority for 2018 is to convince the European Commission and Meaner States of the added value of including local and regional components in national planning, monitoring and reporting of progress and to involve the CoR in the work of the Energy Union Committee, which will be set up under the new Governance Regulation. The ENVE Commission will also continue to contribute to cooperation between the relevant institutions aiming to improve further the financial opportunities for sustainable energy investment at the local and regional level.

In July 2017, the CoR adopted three opinions on the key aspects of the Energy Union's 'winter package' of 30 November 2016: the Energy Union and clean energy by Bruno HRANIĆ (HR/EPP), Mayor of Vidovec, The promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources by Daiva MANTONIENĖ (LT/ECR), Municipal Councilor of the City of Šiauliai and energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings by Michiel RIJSBERMAN (NL/ALDE), Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Flevoland.

  • Space Policy

The ENVE Commission will continue its involvement in the follow up to the 'EU Strategy for Space' and cooperate with the other EU institutions and key stakeholders, such as the NEREUS network, with a view to promoting the key role of local and regional authorities in space policy, notably, regarding the uptake of services and applications developed on the basis of the EU Copernicus programme, which can serve a variety of societal needs both in the public and private sector and stimulate the development of innovative small and medium-size enterprises. The CoR will seek access to the Copernicus User Forum in order to highlight the potential of a stronger local and regional dimension in EU space policy.

Pictures of the ENVE commission meeting and the Transformative Action Award Ceremony are available here

Notes:

ENVE's work programme has been drawn up in accordance with the work programme of the European Commission for 2018 , the CoR Resolution on the European Commission's work programme 2018 .

 

The Transformative Action Award shortlisted projects:

 

  • Nilüfer (Turkey), for encouraging civic engagement and participatory local democracy through neighborhood committees

  • Mannheim (Germany) for their project on strengthening energy efficiency and climate protection awareness

  • Udaltalde 21 (Spain), for joining forces with neighbouring municipalities to become truly sustainable

  • Zaragoza (Spain), for their programme 100ideasZGZ which turns citizens’ into “city makers” by putting their ideas into action

 

Contact: David Crous | david.crous@cor.europa.eu | +32 470 88 10 37