While the current energy crisis is affecting communities across Europe and at all levels of government, more effective and enhanced adaptation to climate change is crucially needed. As two sides of the same coin, climate change mitigation and adaptation are key components of effective climate policy. While cities’ practitioners from all around Europe agree that it makes sense to consider these streams of action together, such an integrated approach is not always so easy to reach. Thus, the Policy Support Facility, under the Covenant of Mayors - Europe, led a workshop at the recent OER (Energy Cities Romania) conference, where representatives from national and local authorities came together in Bucharest (Romania) to facilitate the implementation of holistic local climate action plans in the country.
The session was part of a series of national workshops aimed at bringing together municipal leaders to collaboratively discuss climate adaptation strategies and common issues experienced during implementation. The conference brought together 38 representatives ranging from national authorities, industry experts, private sector representatives as well as 17 local authorities, including ICLEI Members Alba Iulia and Bistrita.
For its part, the Policy Support Facility, under the Covenant of Mayors - Europe, addressed the need to recognise past and present climate impacts, risk and vulnerability assessments, and assessment frameworks for choosing adaptation options.
Open dialogue between local authorities was identified as essential in order to swiftly identify implementation bottlenecks and identify the tools to solve them, as well as historical meteorological and hydrological databases accessible for each locality. "We need national databases, specific indicators, benchmarks so that local authorities have a reference to validate their assumptions. Without such an approach we cannot move forward," noted Matei Dimitriu, Energy Efficiency Directorate Adviser from the Ministry of Energy.
Such national workshops are key, because as was concluded in this Romanian conference, cooperation between local and national authorities as well as public authorities, industry partners, and experts are essential as local and national governments strive to meet their climate adaptation goals.
The Policy Support Facility, of which ICLEI is a coordinating partner under the Covenant of Mayors - Europe, was launched by the European Commission following the publication of the EU Strategy of Adaptation to Climate Change in 2021, to assist local and regional authorities implement adaptation strategies.