The Covenant of Mayors
The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) is a movement in Europe where local and regional authorities voluntarily commit to increase the energy efficiency and the use of alternative energies in their respective territories. The European Commission launched it in 2008 with the aim to achieve a 20% reduction, compared to 1990, of the emissions in urban areas in the EU by 2020. Local authorities of all sizes can attain membership, from small towns to large metropolitan areas. The only premise is that the joining party has to be democratically constituted by elected representatives.
In order to become a member, covenant signatories (members) have to prepare a Baseline Emission Inventory. This is a quantification of the amount of CO2 emitted from energy consumption in the respective territory within a certain timeframe, the base year 1990 is recommended. It serves as a tool to identify the sources of the emissions and their reduction potential.
Sustainable Energy Action Plans
Within the first year of membership, each member must produce a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), listing their strategies, goals and planned key actions to achieve sustainability. Actions go beyond energy savings and cover the creation of skilled and stable jobs, economic competitiveness and a better quality of life for example. These actions are gathered and presented in “Benchmarks of Excellence” in order to serve as good/best practice models for other members to follow. A catalogue of all the signatories’ SEAPs is another method to spread inspiration and ideas to the members of the covenant.
Every two years after the first submission of the SEAP each member needs to generate an implementation report. In this report, the most important results and the degree of implementation of the action plan have to be stated. The participants also have to promote their actions and involve their citizens and stakeholders through the regular organization of local “Energy Days”. The main goal of these events is to raise public awareness on the opportunities offered by a more intelligent utilization of energy. Furthermore, the participants should attempt to spread the message of the covenant of mayors and encourage other local authorities to join by contributing to major events and interactive workshops.
The formal political commitment of the individual members has to be concretized into measures and projects. Members agree to report and to be monitored on the implementation of their SEAP, in case of noncompliance the membership is terminated.