In November 2015, Coopenergy partners met with the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula to discuss the importance of taking a multi-level governance approach to sustainable energy action. M. Markkula said:
“Whether it be at local, regional or national level, all governments share a common purpose: to deliver results for citizens.
They should not compete but cooperate. To promote territorial cohesion, spur innovation and create a truly sustainable economy.
This is the essence of multilevel governance. It is about effective decision making. It is about empowering all levels of government to take shared ownership. It is about listening, sharing knowledge and delivering results.
We all have a shared responsibility to take action on climate change and to become more energy efficient. Yet more often than not, we find that regions and cities take the lead.
The Covenant of Mayors perfectly demonstrates this. Over 6,500 signatories representing 200 million citizens committed to meeting and exceeding the EU's CO2 reduction targets.
The Covenant shows that the EU can steer cities and regions to deliver ambition locally to achieve a common goal.
The Covenant’s new 2030 targets – reducing CO2 emissions by 40% demonstrates that local governments are taking ownership.
But mitigating against climate change isn’t enough. Cities and regions must be become more resilient to the impact of climate change. I'm pleased to see the “Covenant of Mayors” and “Mayors Adapt” has been merged: something we at the Committee have long called for.
The Covenant's success must be shared beyond Europe’s border to raise the level of ambition internationally. It principles, founded on multi-level governance, can be exported.
I am pleased to hear that it is already going global: offices in East Europe and the Mediterranean show that progress is already being made.
I must also congratulate the COOPERNERGY project. It is an excellent example of how important it is to share knowledge and experiences between regions. It shows how ready and willing regions are to become more energy efficient and drive sustainable growth.
Given the success of the Covenant, we must now use the climate talks in Paris to mobilise other regions and cities to join in and take part.
The COP21 is an opportunity to raise awareness of the level of ambition locally and regionally. This is why we, at the European Committee of the Regions, will demand that the global climate agreement formally recognises local and regional governments.
It's time to see a global agreement that sets out a clear Action Plan for cities and regions on climate. To see a global governance structure based on multi-governance.
When national governments struggle to find an agreement to stop temperatures rising, local and regional governments lead by example. What is clear is that no one can find a solution to climate change alone. It is a shared problem that needs shared solutions.”