Last 17 April, the Covenant signatory City of Torres Vedras (Portugal) hosted a Covenant of Mayors workshop that gathered 60 participants from all over Portugal, to discuss local examples and common challenges, moderated by the Covenant supporter ANMP (National Association of Portuguese municipalities). The event contributed to the Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, a year-long dialogue in view of the international climate change conference COP 24 aiming to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The workshop wanted to assess the status of implementation of the initiative in Portugal, assist municipalities to meet their objectives towards 2020 and 2030, and gather feedback on the kind of support they would need to successfully implement their action plans.
The presentation of a study conducted by researcher Cátia Mesnier, reviewing 107 SEAPS submitted until June 2017 in Portugal, set the scene highlighting some interesting insight on the contribution of municipalities to achieve the national targets of GHG emissions reduction by 2030, and the level of investments needed. The intervention of Ms Gorete Soares from ADENE, the National Energy Agency, focused on the support of the Agency in improving energy efficiency in buildings in 30 municipalities through an ELENA grant for technical assistance from the European Investment Bank.
Participants then addressed the life-cycle of a Covenant of Mayors Action Plan thanks to inspiring presentations ranging from planning to monitoring, on integrating mitigation and adaptation, and on the support of local agencies and coordinators.
The workshop took place in the afternoon of a bigger conference on Sustainable Urban Development, co-organised by the Portuguese Directorate General for Territorial Planning (DG Territorio), gathering 150 representatives of local governments and agencies.
The opening session featured the Deputy Secretary of State and Environment, José Mendes, the Director General of the Directorate General for Territorial Planning, Fernanda do Carmo, the Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) , Frédéric Vallier, and the Councillor for Urban Areas, Transport and Mobility Management of Torres Vedras, Hugo Lucas.
The Deputy Secretary of State Mendes stressed how cities have the capacity to reinvent themselves and are at present the poles of value creation. The point is that cities generate congested, polluted and unequal spaces. They generate externalities, often negative. According to Mendes, the work of ensuring the urban balance is related to the management of these externalities, to be addressed jointly at national and local level. Climate targets set by the EU and national governments will be achieved with and within cities.
Following a session dedicated to the EU Urban Agenda, the Mayor of Torres Vedras Carlos Bernardes committed to adopt the 2030 targets of the Covenant of Mayors and discuss them within the Municipal Council.
More information at: http://cidadesorientadas.dgterritorio.gov.pt/