Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Governance and citizenship

CEMR Retreat - 04.10.2021

4th CEMR retreat: a wrap-up of our debates and activities
Dedicated to a “Fresh start for a resilient Europe,” EU officials and local leaders from across the continent gathered virtually during the event to discuss the way forward beyond the COVID crisis, as well as the place of cities and regions in the Conference on the Future of Europe. This was an opportunity to spell out our vision of an inclusive, sustainable and resilient Europe over the course of political debates and to better organise our own work through several practical workshops.

Reaching decarbonised and resilient societies

Local elected officials discussed how to reach decarbonised and resilient societies, notably to identify challenges and messages for the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The wide-ranging discussion covered the appropriateness of EU legislation for achieving local climate transitions, the best financial measures for this goal, decarbonisation beyond Europe’s borders and the role of future generations.

Ronan Dantec, CEMR spokesperson on climate, French senator and municipal councillor for Nantes, highlighted how European cities signatories to the Covenant of Mayors had reduced their carbon emissions by 30% between 1990 and 2020, significantly more than the European average. “Europe and local governments are still global leaders in terms of decarbonisation, even if we can always do better”, he said.

The speakers notably discussed measures at both European and local level which can be taken now to both fight against and adapt to climate change. EU legislation should favour local public procurement and investment energy efficient housing. Local governments can also take many direct actions, such as the expansion of bike lanes, the banning of gravel gardens or the development of green façades covering buildings with plants. Whatever the area, there is no shortage of actions that be taken!

First meeting of CEMR national associations’ presidents

Our network held the first meeting of the presidents of our national associations together with CEMR President Stefano Bonaccini. The presidents exchanged on our associations’ crucial role during the COVID pandemic, the actions they took and their priorities and perspectives going forward for a sustainable recovery and resilience. Check out our social media thread of the presidents’ exchanges.

Advocacy, knowledge sharing, communication: three practical workshops

Last but not least, we held three interactive workshops to orient and better organise our activities as a network. These covered our associations’ tools for national and European advocacy, our associations’ knowledge-sharing activities and cooperation on communication. Taken together, these sessions explored how to create more synergies within our network and strengthen our collective voice.
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