A new board of seven European mayors committed to EU climate and energy goals has been launched at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussels.
The European Covenant of the Mayors Board comprises more than 7,000 signatures from local and regional authorities, and forms part of a political push to achieve EU climate action objectives in constituent territories. Collectively, its members seek to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
The board includes the Mayor of Heidelberg and President of Energy Cities, Eckart Würzner, the Mayor of Ghent Daniel Termont, President of the Province of Barcelona Mercè Conesa i Pagès, Director of REGEA Julije Domac, Vice-Mayor of Växjö Asa Karlsson Björkmarker, and Mayor of Udine Furio Honsell.
Guest speakers at the launch to discuss the strategy of the initiative included Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, Christina Figueres, the former UNFCCC Executive Secretary , Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament, and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Vice President, CoR .
Maroš Šefčovič said the objective of the European Commission, under whose patronage the convenant has been forged, is to make Europe “the best place on this planet to live”.
“What we do here in Europe goes well beyond the energy,” he said. “Our policies are for energising and modernising Europe. Our policies are creating this modern low-carbon backbone for the economy of the 21st century.”
The covenant, which will link to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, is open to all local European authorities with democratically constituted mandates. Smaller local authorities can join the covenant in groups by submitting joint climate action plans, specifying either individual emissions targets or a collective target of 40 percent CO2 reduction.
Asa Karisson Bjorkmarker, Vice-Mayor of Vaxjo and board member of ICLEI Europe said the purpose of the covenant is to offer help to cities “that want to move further from the national level, that want to be pioneers, that want to be forerunners”.
“I think this is step forward to acknowledge local level as being a very important part of reaching the goal that was set in Paris.”
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is represented by 10 mayors and is chaired by Šefčovič, Figueres and Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York .