CES-MED participates in “The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy-A Global Network” conference at Marrakech COP22

 
 
On Monday 14 November 2016 at the Palmeraie, the CES-MED team leader joined a panel at the side-event to the Summit. The conference was organised by the European Committee of the Regions in partnership with the European Commission and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and was divided into four sessions, as each was followed by a brief discussion between the audience and speakers, moderated by the journalist Ms Kate Holman.
 
The objective of the conference was to present the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (CoM) as the largest urban global movement aimed at a transition towards low carbon and climate resilient territories, and highlight its role in raising awareness in the Mediterranean on the challenges of climate change and energy transition –showcasing the successful measures implemented at local level by or with CoM signatories which could be taken as an example for others. 
 
In the opening session and after the welcome words, Mr.  Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Region and Co-President of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) started on a practical note explaining how the success of Marrakech COP depends on the implementation of Global CoM and how to achieve the target of Paris COP21 despite the challenges Brexit, by using the best knowledge and applying best practices; he appraised the courage of political leaders through the Paris agreement in tackling climate change, but pointed out that there is more to do by creating more green jobs, resilient cities to climate catastrophes and through integrating more partners.Mr. Markkula called upon the participants to share their cities’ best stories and stressed the urge for the cities to have a new local governance and invited everyone to go further with their citizens.
 
After that, Mr. Sumptoh, Mayor of Port Vila, Vanuatu, pointed out that after the cyclone in Vanuatu there was a political will to adapt to climate change in his country; therefore, exchanging ideas in this conference was important as well as the role of the CoM in his city in terms of cooperation with the government. For him, resilience carries a new meaning. Finally, Mr. Borrego, Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Climate action of the Union for the Mediterranean considered that the adequate time to make changes has come; this should be achieved through the citizens, mayors and municipalities involvement and with the tools and frames that were developed; he exposed how the UfM members tackle energy transition with the 43 municipalities that presented NDC’s commitment; until 2030, 80% of these Mediterranean regions will be living in cities, so there is  need to manage the cities and integrate the people from rural areas.
 
The first thematic session: “The Covenant of Mayors in Morocco and the Southern Mediterranean” gathered Mr. Fouad El Omari, President of the AMPCC, Mr. Ahmed Akhchichine, President of the Marrakech Safi region, Mr. Michael Köhler, Director for Neighbourhood South, DG Near, European Commission and Dr. Naguib Amin, CES-MED Team Leader participated in the panel.
 
Mr. Köhler, explained how DG NEAR was supporting the CoM in the Southern Mediterranean and the importance of involving the cities in the climate change adaptation and mitigation giving the example of Ouarzazate, a city that moved from the carpet crafts to become the biggest region for renewable energy. 
He stressed the importance of cities and municipalities creating their ownership in order to involve local representatives, of mayors’ involvement to work on mitigation targets and adapt to their identified needs; accordingly, MED CoM will bring together people from the same region to exchange experiences and he hopes to get the political endorsement and provides financing to support selling up the roll up of MED CoM.
 
Mr. Amin introduced the CES-MED project and explained how it operates, its objectives, the concrete results and successes of the CoM in CES-MED cities, the partnerships it created through the Focal Points (National Authorities) and National Coordination Groups (Central Authorities); the selection of the cities, preparation of SEAP reports in each of them and the training of trainers it is conducting. He pointed out the further work to be done in creating the joint effort between CoM and EU and Cities.
 
After which, Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development, DG DEVCO, European Commission, Ms. Maty Mint Hamady, President of the Metropolitan Community of Nouakchott, Mauritania and Mr. François Albert Amichia, Chairman of the CCT-UEMOA took part in the second session titled: “The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa/Western Africa”. Mr. Ridolfi, specified that the future of humanity is linked to climate; for him some cities can set the example and this is an asset for the EU to share with the others in partnership; he also specified that the CoM started from energy but shall amplify from “brown” traditional economy towards developing more jobs within green economy. He indicated that in a few weeks they will sign the contracts for the CoM on Africa, call for cities cooperation to form a group of early movers and the establishment of an office in Akra, Africa, to develop the network.
 
 
Finally, the participants in the thematic session 3: “The Covenant of Mayors in Europe” were Mr. Francesco Pigliaru, President of the Sardinia Region, COR Ambassador of the Covenant of Mayors, Mr. Francisco De La Torre Prados, Mayor of Malaga and Ms. Beatriz Yordi, Head of Unit, DG CLIMA, European Commission.
 
 
Mr. Pigliaru expressed the will to move ahead towards a renewable energy based Sardinia, to create a consciousness on the importance of global climate, and use the SEAP experience putting production and consumption together. 
 
Ms. Yordi restated DG CLIMA engagement with the CoM, stressing the cities being the main actors for adaptation. For her, working on prevention policies, vulnerability forecasting, rethinking the services in the mitigation/ adaptation concept, developing tools and frames, aligning economic funds and making them available to the mayors should be included in the Global CoM in order to reach every city.
 
Mr. Laurent Chabrier, EBRD Director for Morocco, EBRD supporting climate action in the Southern-Mediterranean, concluded by explaining the Bank’s role in the projects in the cities, the technical assistance it provides to the municipalities to allow them to deal with the private sector, and its role as a catalyst between donors and cities.