The Covenant of Mayors evolved over the years as well as the legislative, technical and social context in which it operates.
2020 will be a turning point for the Covenant, as 2020 signatories will gradually phase out and a new framework contract will be issued by the Commission for the 5th phase of the initiative: it is important for the CoR to ensure that this transition happens in the best possible way, keeping pace with the evolving legislative framework, but at the same time, ensuring that all LRAs can be on board.
The initiative has strong means to gather technical feedback from Local Authorities and to align the evolution with LRAs expectations: nevertheless, the political feedback is often limited to the 5 members of the Political Board, which even with their extensive knowledge of the initiative cannot fully represent the diversity of EU LRAs.
To ensure that a political indication on the next phase of the Covenant is provided to the Commission and that all EU LRAs can benefit from this initiative in the best possible way in the future, the Opinion focuses on different aspects such as:
The scope of the initiative, to verify whether it is advisible to broaden the ambit of the Covenant in order to encourage a more transversal and integrated approach;
The monitoring & reporting framework, to ensure that it is aligned with the growing ambitions of the EU, but at the same time does not create a barrier for LRAs to join;
The role of the Coordinators and of the other members of the Covenant Community in supporting Signatories;
The link with funding opportunities, to analyse wich of the EU Funding lines could include some kind of reward or recognition for Covenant Signatories and Coordinators;
The political representativeness of the Covenant Community, to ensure that a political feedback from the Covenant Signatories is provided and duly considered;
The overall consistency of the Energy and Climate framework with the Covenant of Mayors, to avoid double reporting and conflicting requests impacting LRAs;
The relationship between the EU Covenant and the Global Covenant, to ensure that the broadened scope does not affect the initiative in Europe;
The call for the acknowledgment of the Covenant of Mayors as "a key tool for responding to the climate emergency and for steering local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the transition towards climate neutrality and climate change adaptation" is reflected in the Communication COM(2019) 640 final on "The European Green Deal" saying that "The EU Covenant of Mayors will continue to be a central force. The Commission will work with it to continue to provide assistance to cities and regions that want to commit to ambitious pledges on climate and energy policies. It will remain an essential platform to share good practices on how to implement change locally."
The Rapporteur discussed the role of the Covenant of Mayors in the vertical integration of Climate action in the framework of the ICCA conference in Heidelberg in May 2019.
The Rapporteur discussed her opinion with the VP Maroš Šefčovič in June 2019.
The Rapporteur discussed presented the opinion at COP25 in Madrid, at the closing of the Global Covenant Day, together with Commissioner Kadri Simson.
The Rapporteur discussed the national approach in Italy and the link with the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) with the delegation of the Italian Ministry for Environment and with the Italian National Association of Municipalities (ANCI). In the final version of the Italian NECP the role of the Covenant of Mayors is recognised.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- calls on the European Commission and all the Member States to acknowledge that the Covenant of Mayors is a key tool for responding to the climate emergency and for steering local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the transition towards climate neutrality and climate change adaptation;
- Covenant signatories and coordinators should be considered privileged interlocutors by Member States in drawing up integrated national energy and climate plans;
- considers that the Covenant must be solidly incorporated into the SDG framework;
- reiterates support for a system of Regionally and Locally Determined Contributions (RLDCs) as a way to formally acknowledge, monitor and encourage the reduction of carbon emissions by cities, local governments and regions globally;
- asks the European Commission to further formalise the CoR's role within the European Covenant of Mayors;
- points out that the Covenant's regional coordinators play a key role in supporting small and medium-sized municipalities and asks the European Commission to support coordinators and to enhance the role of the Supporters to ensure that their role is sustainable in the long term;
- calls on the European Commission to ensure that the CoR is represented in the European Covenant's Political Board, and undertakes to make the necessary resources available so that the network of ambassadors for the Covenant becomes increasingly active and effective;
- asks the European Commission, the JRC and the Covenant of Mayors Office to work further towards a simpler, stable monitoring framework and calls on the Commission to make Covenant of Mayors data publically available and to geo-reference them;
- considers that having a current SECAP, or an equivalent energy and climate plan, should become a prerequisite for access to all relevant financing programmes (City Facility, Horizon Europe, Life, etc.);
- calls on the European Parliament to explore possible cooperation with the CoR and its members on the CoR Covenant Ambassadors' project to increase the reach and visibility of the political support for the Covenant.