FAQ

Covenant of Mayors

What is the Covenant of Mayors?

The Covenant of Mayors is the first and most ambitious European Commission initiative directly targeting the local authorities and their citizens to take the lead in the fight against the global warming. All Covenant of Mayors signatories make a voluntary and unilateral commitment to go beyond EU objectives in terms of reduction in CO2 emissions. By their commitment, they support the European Union climate and energy package adopted in 2008.

What commitments do the Covenant signatories have to fulfill?

Covenant signatories aim to reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 20% by 2020 through energy efficiency and renewable energy actions. To reach this objective, local authorities commit to:

  • Prepare a Baseline Emission Inventory
  • Submit a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), approved by the municipal council within the year following their official adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors initiative, and outlining the measures and policies they will implement to achieve their targets
  • Publish regularly - every 2 years after submission of their SEAP - implementation reports stating the degree of implementation of the programme and the interim results
  • Promote their activities and involve their citizens / stakeholders, including the organisation of Local Energy Days
  • Spread the message of the Covenant of Mayors, in particular by encouraging other local authorities to join and by contributing to the major events (i.e. annual Covenant of Mayors ceremonies and thematic workshops).

Signatories accept termination of their membership in the Covenant of Mayors in case of non-submission in time of the different technical documents (SEAP and implementation reports).

What do the Covenant signatories get in return?

The European Commission has committed to supporting local authorities involved in the Covenant of Mayors and providing public visibility for them.

Firstly, the Commission has implemented and funded the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO), which assists Covenant signatories with any questions via the help desk and promotes their local actions via the Media desk. The CoMO also co-ordinates the work with third parties and negotiates the support of relevant stakeholders.

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission works in close co-operation with the CoMO to provide clear technical guidelines and templates in order to assist delivery on the Covenant of Mayors commitments as well as to monitor implementation and results.

Finally, the European Commission has committed to mobilizing financial facilities and political support at EU level.

Adhesion procedure

Why join?

Covenant Signatories find multiple reasons to join the movement, among which:

  • Make a public statement of extra commitment to CO2 reduction
  • Create or reinforce the dynamic on CO2 reduction in your territory
  • Benefit from encouragement and examples of other pioneers
  • Share the expertise developed in your own territory with others
  • Make your territory known as a pioneer
  • Publicise your achievements visible to the Covenant community and beyond via the Covenant website
  • Improve quality of life
  • Benefit from wide-spread technical support

How to join?

Local authorities willing to sign up to the Covenant of Mayors must present and discuss it in their municipal council (or equivalent decision-making body). Once a decision to sign up is formally made, local authorities should complete their information and upload their duly signed adhesion form. Local authorities will be then included into the public list of Covenant signatories.

Note: The Covenant of Mayors is a voluntary commitment. Hence the adhesion is fully free of charge.

CES-MED Helpdesk assistance

What is the CES-MED help desk assistance ?

CES-MED help desk is a resource intended to provide the municipalities concerned by the project with information and support related to their adhesion to the covenant of mayors and in designing and implementing their SEAPs. The purpose of CES-MED help desk is to troubleshoot problems or provide guidance through the whole process of establishment of the SEAPs. It will give support to through various channels such as, websites, telephone, instant messaging, or email.

What you can expect from CES-MED help desk?

  • Assist all local authorities interested in joining the initiative through the adhesion process
  • Help signatories with general or technical inquiries related to the Covenant of Mayors and its commitments
  • Support the implementation of your communication and promotional activities
  • Coordinate liaisons with third parties and relevant stakeholders (i.e. Covenant Territorial Coordinators, Supporters, Local and Regional Energy Agencies)
  • Facilitate networking activities within the Covenant of Mayors community

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission gives support for more specific questions in relation to the CO2 emissions inventory, SEAP and their evaluation.

Baseline Emission Inventory

What is a Baseline Emission Inventory?

The Baseline Emission Inventory quantifies the amount of CO2 emitted due to energy consumption in the territory of the Covenant signatory. It allows to identify the principal sources of CO2 emissions and their respective reduction potentials.

Is it possible to use existing tools for calculating the CO2 emissions?

All Covenant signatories can choose their own tools for the calculation. However, they need to make sure that the reported inventory is in line with the general principles after-specified and detailed in the SEAP guidebook available on CES-MED website in the library section.

What is the scope of the Baseline Emission Inventory?

The Baseline Emission Inventory should essentially be based on the final energy consumption data, i.e. what is consumed by the final end-users (incl. electricity, heat/cold and fuel) within the boundaries of the local authority.

Local energy production can also be included in the inventory if the Sustainable Energy Action Plan introduces actions related to it (e.g. development of PVs, wind power, district heating or Combined Heat and Power). The SEAP guidebook provides more information on this option.

Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)

What is a SEAP?

A Sustainable Energy Action Plan is the key document that shows how the Covenant signatory will reach its CO2 reduction target by 2020. It defines the activities and measures set up to achieve the targets, together with time frames and assigned responsibilities.

Covenant signatories can choose the format of their Sustainable Energy Action Plan (especially if they have already done an action plan in the past). However, they need to make sure that their action plan is in line with the general principles after-specified and detailed in the SEAP guidebook available in Ces-med website in the library section

What is the scope of the SEAP?

The Covenant of Mayors concerns the action at local level within the competence of the local authorities involved. Hence, it is expected that the Covenant signatories will take action in several or all their possible roles:

  • Consumer and model: All local authorities are responsible for their own energy consumption. At the same time they play an exemplary role by encouraging the citizens and other stakeholders to use energy more efficiently.
  • Planner, developer and regulator: All local authorities are usually responsible for building, transport and land use planning policies. They have the power to optimize the energy performance of new facilities and to integrate traffic prevention strategies in development planning. They shape traffic/energy performance by legal decisions and regulatory instruments.
  • Producer and supplier: Local authorities may also act as a local utility or service provider – promoting local energy production and using renewable energy sources (e.g. Combined Heat and Power/CHPs, district heating systems etc.)
  • Advisor and motivator: Awareness-raising activities are important to engage the whole community to support sustainable energy policies. Local authorities can act as advisor and educator for citizens and other stakeholders (e.g. architects, planners or craftsmen).

Which sectors/fields of action are considered in the SEAP?

Since the Covenant's commitments concern the whole geographical area of the local authority, the SEAP should include actions concerning both the public and private sectors.

Covenant signatories are free to choose their key areas of action. In principle, it is anticipated that most SEAPs will cover the sectors that are taken into account within the inventory:

  • Buildings, Equipment/Facilities & Industries (municipal, tertiary, residential, public lighting, industries & SMEs...)
  • Transport (municipal fleet, public, private and commercial transport...)
  • Local electricity production (small-scale)
  • Local district heating / cooling, CHPs (District heating plant...)

It should also be based on those areas where the local authority has a specific role to play, such as:

  • Land use planning (strategic land use planning, transport/mobility planning, standards for refurbishment & new development...)
  • Public procurement of products & services (energy efficiency/renewable energy requirements or standards...)
  • Working with the citizens & stakeholders (advisory services, financial support & grants, awareness raising & local networking, training & education...)
  • Other sectors (waste and water management)

SEAP template

What is a SEAP template?

The SEAP template has been developed by the Covenant of Mayors Office in close collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission to assist Covenant Signatories in structuring their actions and measures, and to follow up implementation.

It is an user-friendly document that must be completed by the Covenant signatories themselves at the same time when submitting their Sustainable Energy Action Plan in their own (national) language.

It includes three main parts dedicated to:

  • Long term vision and overall strategy - specifying the overall CO2 emission target foreseen, the priority areas of action, the attribution of staff and financial capacities
  • Key results of the Baseline Emission Inventory - indicating the current level of energy consumption and identifying the principal sources of CO2 emissions
  • Key elements of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan - defining the short and long term measures set up to put the overall strategy into action, together with time frames, assigned responsibilities and allocated budgets.

The template is a valuable tool for collecting key information from the SEAPs, and thus allowing exchange of experience. Highlights of the collected information are shown on‐line at the Covenant of Mayors website.

Financial facilities

Which financial facilities to use?

Numerous sources of financing are available at local, regional and national levels, including from:

  • Local authorities' own resources
  • Local partners' resources
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Municipal and regional subsidies

A specific webpage outlining some of the main financial facilities is also available here.

This new section provides details on the major European funds and programmes available for funding sustainable energy projects in local authorities. The European Commission, assisted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other public banks has launched several financial facilities to assist the implementation of action plans prepared by Signatories. These facilities aim at providing technical assistance for the creation of bankable investment programmes in sustainable energy and transport, such as the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility, set up in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, for larger scale projects, and those assisted by the KfW and by the Council of Europe Bank (CEB) and their intermediaries for smaller investment projects.

Benchmarking

What is a Benchmark of Excellence?

Benchmarks of Excellence are proposed as relevant examples of local initiatives which Covenant Signatories, Coordinators and Supporters have realised in their territories and feel particularly proud of, and moreover endorse as useful actions for other local authorities to replicate.

The Benchmarks of Excellence catalogue provides an online platform for promoting good practices and showcasing actions that have a large replication potential.

The catalogue can be explored here.

1. What is the CES-MED project? What are its objectives?

CES-MED project is funded under the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and is in line with the desire to establish close bilateral ties with the Southern Partnership States. Accounted are not only the economic benefits of closer ties, but also the fact that the EU and its Member States cannot achieve e.g. their energy, immigration and environmental goals without working together with other countries, the neighbouring countries nearest to the EU are of prime importance. The ENP can be described as the main driver for cooperation between the European Union and its neighbour countries that form a ring around the Union. Those are countries from the Middle East and North Africa, also collectively referred to ENP-South. "Cleaner and Energy Saving - Mediterranean Cities" (CES-MED) project is an EU-funded initiative set up to provide training and technical assistance support to Local and National Authorities in the ENPI South region, with a view to help them respond more actively to sustainable policy challenges.

This effort also involves raising the awareness of the local population with regard to local sustainable policies, knowledge-sharing, and building lasting partnerships between Local Authorities in the EU and in the ENPI South region.

Objectives - Support to Local and National Authorities

  • Training and technical assistance in formulating and applying sustainable policies as those implied by joining the Covenant of Mayors, as well as preparing Sustainable Energy Action Plans
  • Support Local Authorities in the ENPI South in responding more actively to sustainable policy challenges.
  • Develop the capacities of Local Authorities to formulate and implement more sustainable local policies,such as renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency measures to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as efficient water and waste management, environment-friendly public transport, etc.
  • Contribute to making National Authorities more aware of and responsive to the need for and advantages of a strong involvement of cities in policy issues, which have direct impact on them, such as local waste and water management, urban mobility and transport, local energy use, etc.

2. Where are the CES-MED offices located?

Project office in Beyrouth, Lebanon

Address: 2nd Floor, Bloc B, 1340 Bldg, Lycée Français Strt, Adib Ishak Main Road, Achrafieh, Beirut
P.O. Box: 16-5964 Lebanon
+961 70 104853
malek.mardam@hd.ces-med.eu

Project office in Rabat Morocco

Address: 285 Avenue Mohamed 5 Rabat, 10 000, Morocco
+ (212) 5 37 708 746
Fax: + (212) 5 37 708 746

3. What is the Covenant of Mayors (CoM)? What are its objectives?

The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020. Retrieved from: http://www.covenantofmayors.eu/index_en.html

4. How can a municipality benefit from CES-MED technical assistance?

In each adhering country, a selection of three municipalities has been finalized (or is in the process of being finalized). Additional municipalities that would like to benefit from CES-MED assistance are encouraged to contact their corresponding CES-MED regional office. The latter will identify with each locality the type and level of assistance that can be provided by CES-MED.

5. What does CES-MED technical assistance consist of? What are its steps?

The CES-MED technical assistance will mainly consist of accompanying the municipalities in the formulation of their “Sustainable Energy Needs Assessment” (SENA) document, as well as in the elaboration of their “Sustainable Energy Action Plan” (SEAP). The CES-MED team will also be helping the concerned municipalities in signing the Covenant of Mayors and filling in the needed documents for that. To that purpose, special workshops and training activities will be provided by the CES-MED team with the help of National and Local Authorities, as well as qualified experts.

6. What is the “Sustainable Energy Need Assessment”? And what is the need assessment document per municipality?

The “Sustainable Energy Need Assessment” is the first important step to be undertaken by concerned municipalities, with the assistance of the CES-MED team. In that regard, the team will provide the municipalities with a survey template that will help them in diagnosing the current situation regarding energy consumption and management in various sectors at the local level.

A workshop will be dedicated to assist the municipality in elaborating the SENA document. It will cover multiple sectors and fields of assessment such as: energy infrastructures, renewable energies, energy consumption and management in the local administration, energy consumption of the municipality’s fleet, buildings, industries, agriculture and fishing, solid waste management, waste water management, transport and mobility, sustainable urban planning, public procurement, awareness, and skills and expertise.

7. What is the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and what is its content?

The Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) is the key document in which the Covenant signatory outlines how it (the concerned municipality) intends to increase its energy efficiency and reach its CO2 reduction target by 2020. The SEAP document defines the activities and measures set up to achieve that target, together with time frames and assigned responsibilities. Covenant signatories are free to choose the format of their SEAP, as long as it is in line with the general principles set out in the Covenant SEAP guidelines.

The content of the SEAP would have the following structure:

  1. SEAP executive summary
  2. Overall strategy indicating the current framework and objectives as well as the needed institutional and financial aspects to reach the indicated objectives.
  3. A Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) based on a « business as usual » approach with related information and including data interpretation.
  4. Planned actions and measures for the full duration of the plan. They will include long term strategies, goals and commitments till 2020, and short and medium term actions.

8. What is a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI)?

A Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) is an essential part of the SEAP document. It is a quantification of the amount of CO2 emitted due to energy consumption in the territory of a Covenant signatory within a given period of. It allows to identify the principal sources of CO2emissions and their respective reduction potentials.

9. How can CES-MED assist a municipality in preparing the SEAP?

Various steps will go into the development of the SEAP. First is a preparation phase which will consist of collecting relevant documents and presenting the SEAP methodology to the municipalities. The second step consists of a specific workshop that will be prepared by the CES-MED team. A summary of the SEAP content per municipality will be prepared in a group work exercise during which representatives from each municipality will be accompanied by experts and members of the CES-MED team. The last step aims at delivering specific job trainings per municipality to assist them in finalizing their SEAPs.

10. Are there specific SEAP’s guidelines for South Mediterranean countries joining the CoM?

The European Joint Research Center (JRC) (website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/), with the help of the CES-MED team and local experts, will shortly be issuing a specific SEAP guideline for South Mediterranean countries. Its contextualized approach will correspond to the availability of resources and information in the region. Its flexibility, mainly through the introduction of the “business as usual” methodology should contribute in easing the process of the SEAP elaboration in South Mediterranean countries.

11. In what languages will the guidelines specific to South Mediterranean countries be available?

The COM material will be available in Arabic, French and English.

12. Is preparing the SEAP a pre-requisite to adhere to CoM?

Normally municipalities start by signing and adhering to the Covenant of Mayors. They will then have a one year timeframe during which they are required to elaborate and submit their SEAP. This is conditional for the municipalities to remain a part of this covenant.

However, the CES-MED project aims at assisting the municipalities in the elaboration of a SEAP summary before signing and adhering to the CoM. This will facilitate the tasks that municipalities will have to accomplish once they sign the CoM. Later on, the CES-MED team will also be assisting the municipalities in developing their SEAPs.

13. How can CES-MED help adhering municipalities in financing the preparation of their SEAP?

The CES-MED team will liaise and coordinate with initiatives of the European Union and other donors’. The team will also be investigating opportunities to fund the development and implementation of the SEAPs. A report per region/country on the donors’ initiatives in the areas of sustainable development on the local level will be made accessible in that objective.

14. Who are the donors that can fund the SEAP preparation?

Potential donors for the SEAP preparation could fall under three categories: private local sector, regional organizations, and international funding agencies.

15. What is a National Coordination Group and who are the members?

The objective of a National Coordination Group (NCG) is to improve National Authorities’ understanding of potential results and benefits, for each concerned country, of implementing sustainable policies at local level as well as having cities signing up the Covenant of Mayors. The NCG will at the same time support the project by encouraging the development and implementation of national actions in relation to energy efficiency.

A National Coordination Groups made of representatives of sectors relevant to the project; they belong to National Authorities, members of civil society and private sector

16. What is the main document to be produced by the NCG with the assistance of CES-MED, and what does it consist of?

The main document to be produced is the “Recommended National Sustainable Urban and Energy Saving Actions” report. The objective of the report is to submit, in coordination with local NCGs, a national recommendation paper identifying a set of national level actions specific for each country. It will be mainly addressing the best accompanying measures needed at the National level to assist Local Authorities in the formulation and implementation of sustainable energy policies.

17. Are municipalities adhering to CES-MED required to join the CoM?

Municipalities adhering to CES-MED are strongly encouraged to join the CoM. In that objective, the CES-MED team will be providing technical assistance and helpdesk functions. Joining the CoM will potentially increase the capacities of municipalities in accessing needed funds for the implementation of projects in relation to energy efficiency and CO2 reduction.

18. What is a CoMSouth Coordinator? What is a CoM South Supporter?

Alongside financial assistance, Covenant Coordinators typically support signatories in conducting CO2 emission inventory as well as in preparing and implementing their Sustainable Energy Action Plans. Covenant Coordinators can either be National Coordinators (national public bodies such as energy agencies) or Territorial Coordinators which are decentralized authorities, such as regions, provinces or grouping of local authorities.

On the other hand, Covenant Supporters’ are European, national and regional networks and associations of local authorities which leverage their lobbying, communication and networking activities to promote the Covenant of Mayors initiative and support the commitments of their signatories. Retrieved from: http://www.covenantofmayors.eu

19. What is a “Citizen’s Awareness Promotion Plan”?

The“Citizen’s Awareness Promotion Plan”will include such activities as the organisation of ‘Sustainable Energy Days’, presentations for citizens’ associations or neighbourhood groups; ‘Clean Energy Competition’ for kids, etc.
The Citizens’ Awareness Promotion Plans will be elaborated after the municipalities have been selected and those plans will be agreed with the Local Authorities and implemented together with them.

At a later stage when the SEAPs are under preparation, campaigns related to “behavioural change” activities, such as public campaigns for energy savings, use of green energy and others may be included in those plans.

20. Where are CES-MED helpdesk facilities located? How to contact them?

CES-MED helpdesk is a resource intended to provide the municipalities concerned by the project with information and support related to their adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors and in designing and implementing their SEAPs. The purpose of CES-MED help desk is to troubleshoot problems or provide guidance through the whole process of establishment of the SEAPs. It will give support to through various channels such as, websites, telephone, instant messaging, or email.

Locations: CES-MED Project provides Two Helpdesk assistanceservices: onefor the Mashreq and another for the Maghreb region. For contact information please refer to question 1.

Availability of Service: Help Desk services are available from Monday to Friday during the offices’hours of operation. For issues that arise when the Help Desk staff is unavailable or if all representatives are busy assisting others, please leave a request by voice mail or email to the addresses indicated above. Requests will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Assistance can be accessed via the following options:

  1. Phone. If we are not available when you call, please leave a voice mail. We will return your call by the end of the day.
  2. Direct contact and support by one of CES-MED’s Key Experts.
  3. Email – request assistance by emailing. We will respond to your email by the end of the business day.
  4. Walk in - Visiting one of our two offices in Rabat and Beirut.
  5. Reading the Frequently Asked Questions on the CES-MED website.
  6. Visiting the CoM website here.