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20 October 2014

Schools across Europe increasingly growing their own food

In recent years, many schools in Europe have begun growing their own fruit and vegetables in an effort to teach students more about where their food comes from and the processes involved. The idea is that by growing their own food students will develop a better understanding of what they eat, motivating them to eat healthier and to live a healthier lifestyle.

GIY International is an emerging global network of people who grow a portion of their food. Founded in Ireland in 2009, the GIY movement runs events and campaigns to build awareness and knowledge, and is made up of over 50,000 people and community groups. Campaigns include The Living Classroom and the Sow & Grow Schools Campaign, both of which encourage children to cultivate their own food both at home and at school. Mama Terra - a similar campaign in Spain - aims to promote organic school gardens and develop educational tools relating to the work carried out in the school garden.

In the UK, the Food for Life project has a Get Growing campaign, while the Food Growing Schools programme brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support, with the ambition to inspire and equip every school in the British capital to grow their own produce. In Germany many States, such as Baden-Württemberg have similar initiatives.

For more information, click here.

20 October 2014

First Local Training Session for Local Governments in Barcelona

ESCo and municipal buildings and facilities - case studies

The needs of Covenant signatories to implement actions vary. However one of the main problems they face when trying to implement actions in their own buildings, facilities or public lighting is financing. Collaboration with the private sector arises as a solution for overcoming this lack of financing for investments. Energy Services Companies (ESCo) are becoming a solution in order to invest in energy efficiency.

Since Municipal Officers and staff, as well as politicians, have few knowledge on how contracts with ESCos can be made specific training must be done for that. This workshop has shown several types of solutions to cooperate with ESCos, types of contracts, common paybacks, common barriers faced and how to overcome them…

The workshop, October 20th 2014, lasted 3 hours, from 11h to 14h. DIBA explained the results from ELENA program, focusing on the different types of contract with ESCo that have resulted, afterwards the Catalan Institute of Energy (Catalan Government) has shown their ESCo contract to implement energy efficiency investments in buildings owned by the Catalan Government. Barcelona Town Council had a specific example on a contract that is being drafted and another representative of the Catalan Government, (Infrastructures department, in charge of the maintenance of a wide range of Public buildings) pointed out the need of cooperation between Local Governments and the Infrastructure Department.

15 October 2014

Mayors in Action offers support to Coordinators and Supporters of the Covenant of Mayors

Over 5700 municipalities representing more than 185 million inhabitants have signed the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) as of May 2014, committing to developing and advancing a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP). However, to advance their SEAPs, local government staff needs support and training. MAYORS in ACTION aims to help Coordinators and Supporters (C&S) of the Covenant of Mayors in assisting their municipalities by offering them targeted trainings, tutoring and coaching schemes.

A tailor-made twinning programme on strategies for evaluation of SEAPs, including methodologies for implementation, information on financial opportunities, and how to improve communication and support with municipalities, will be held for C&S. A wide selection of tools will also be made available on the project website.

In addition, national trainings for C&S will take place in Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain. Selected C&S can benefit by participating in an international coaching and peer-review schemes with partners in the consortium. Priority will be given to C&S currently supporting implementation and monitoring SEAPs outside of the above target countries.

For more information, visit the Mayors in Action website.

15 October 2014

Segona reunió de projecte Mayors in Action a Barcelona

La Diputació de Barcelona va organitzar, el dia 1 d'octubre, aquesta segona reunió del projecte Mayors in Action, cofinançat per Intelligent Energy Europe, que va comptar amb la presència de representants dels 9 socis del projecte.

L'objectiu del projecte és capacitar els Coordinadors i Promotors del Pacte dels Alcaldes perquè puguin donar suport als signataris en la implementació de les actuacions.

La reunió va comptar amb la presència de diversos representants dels 9 socis del projecte: la província de Gènova (coordinador de Mayors in Action), la ciutat de Zagreb de Croàcia (CZG), el Centre per les Energies Renovables de Grècia (CRES), la Xarxa Énérgie Cités de l'Associació Polonesa de Municipis (PNEC), la Regió de Venècia (VENETO), la consultora italiana SOGESCA (SOG), l'Organització intermunicipal INTERLEUVEN de Bèlgica (INTERLEUVEN), el Consell Internacional d'Iniciatives locals per al Medi Ambient (ICLEI) i la Diputació de Barcelona.

Més informació:

13 October 2014

Community energy takes centre stage at B@S meeting

The role of local and regional authorities in supporting community-led Renewable Energy projects will form the focus of the 16th Breakfast at Sustainability's (B@S) meeting, taking place in Brussels (Belgium) on 25 November 2014. Hosted by the Common Representation of the Alpeuregio (comprising the regions of Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino in Italy), the half-day event will see speakers and participants discuss challenges and barriers, as well as share success stories, in the ongoing transition to renewably sourced energy at the local level.

The potential benefits of community energy in relation to energy security will be discussed. The EU internal energy market will also be addressed. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director of the Internal Energy Market unit, DG Energy, will deliver the keynote address, while Tom Jones, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee, will provide insight into civil society’s increasingly important role in energy generation.

B@S are small, informal meetings that address topics of sustainable urban development from a local angle. Financing and implementation form core elements of the meetings. Registration is available by contacting

For more information, download the programme.

6 October 2014

There is no alternative to 100% renewable energy, says Mayor of Bistrita

Many Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) are not fully enacted, with two errors causing the most serious problems – however, if these errors are understood, it can go a long way to easing implementation, explained ICLEI Climate Policy Officer, Carsten Rothballer, at the last SEAP-PLUS twinning meeting between Romanian Municipalities Association (AMR) and ICLEI in Bistrita (Romania). Climate and energy action is closely linked to economic development, and it is vital that cities monitor their spending in relation to fossil fuels, realising the limited value this expenditure has to the local area, while recognising the value of investing in local renewables.

Ovidiu Cretu, Mayor of Bistrita, announced his support and commitment for the transition to 100 percent renewable energy at the event. The Northern Romanian city also avoided a common mistake, involving stakeholders’ throughout the process. The delegates of eighteen Romanian cities and ICLEI witnessed the city’s public participation, encountering several primary classes in the city centre playing the Traffic Snake Game during Bistrita’s European Mobility Week celebrations.

Exchanging further, transferring knowledge and inspiring others, were the concluding ideals of the event. ICLEI and AMR previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding, committing both parties to a strategic alliance within the SEAP-PLUS project. Despite the project ending, ICLEI’s relationship with AMR will continue, striving to help Romanian cities reduce CO2 emissions by offering capacity building and technical support through programmes such as GreenClimateCities.

For more information, read the GreenClimateCities brochure.

2 October 2014

Covenant of Mayors signatories encouraged to join Local Renewables Conference 2014

Covenant of Mayors signatories - those cities that have committed to go beyond the EU goal of a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2020 - are invited to attend two sessions on financing mechanisms during the last day of the Local Renewables Conference 2014 (LR 2014). The Covenant of Mayors, a voluntary movement of local and regional authorities that have agreed to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources, has partnered with the LR 2014 conference for the first time.

Covenant of Mayors signatories interested in attending the sessions on financing mechanisms on Friday 24 October are entitled to a reduced fee. Registration for the conference is available online. Those interested in attending the entire conference (22-24 October) can contact The focus of this year’s conference is the role of cities in transitioning to more sustainable energy sources as a way to meet economic and social challenges. More than 30 experts will come together in hosts Freiburg and Lörrach (Germany). Speakers will impart knowledge, discuss the latest developments in the field, and engage with participants to find new and innovative solutions to existing problems.

Policy-makers from various levels of government, professionals from energy utilities, business and research will discuss with cities and regions that have integrated sustainability in an economically viable way within their energy strategies and actions; analyse the political, legal and economic framework for the transition to sustainable energy; and learn how a transition to renewable energy can help cities move from consumption to energy production.

For more information, visit the Local Renewables website.


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