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

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Covenant of Mayors

Increased temperatures, melting glaciers, and extreme weather are clear signs that climate change is happening: we are in living in a climate emergency. Municipalities and regions play a major role in the battle against climate change - one of the greatest challenges of our time - given their responsibilities on local policies and actions with impact on spatial planning, energy and transport, to name a few. Moreover, they have a strong ability to involve both citizens and the private sector in climate protection activities.
Launched in 2008, the Covenant of Mayors is the world’s largest movement for local climate and energy actions. As of today, more than 10,000 local and regional governments have joined the Covenant of Mayors.
CEMR has been involved in the Covenant of Mayors since its start, endorsing and actively promoting a bottom-up initiative of local and regional governments voluntarily committed to reach, or even exceed, the European Union’s targets on climate and energy in their territories.
Signatories commit to submitting a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) outlining the key actions within two years following the local council decision to join the Covenant and reporting every two years on the progress on implementation.
In 2015, the European Commission renamed the initiative to Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. Signatories share a vision for making cities decarbonised and resilient, where citizens have access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy. The initial target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2020 is renewed to a reduction of 40% by 2030. The pillar of adaptation to climate change was added.
Stepping up ambition for a fairer and climate-neutral Europe
In 2020, the Covenant of Mayors - Europe reached an important milestone linked to its 2020 targets, but also a decisive turning point. It was time to set a new course for the initiative in a new political landscape and a challenging post-COVID-19 recovery phase.
Building on a survey conducted by the Covenant of Mayors and on the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Covenant of Mayors - Europe stepped up action with renewed ambitions for a fairer, climate-neutral Europe!
Signatories commit to make climate action a priority by setting mid- and long-term targets, consistent with the EU objectives, and at least as ambitious as their national targets, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 while leaving no one and no place behind.
What is CEMR's role?
CEMR is responsible for the coordination of the promotion and mainstreaming the Covenant of Mayors – Europe in EU member states, the helpdesk for Covenant Supporters (associations of local and regional governments, networks, local and regional energy agencies...) and contributing to defining the overall strategy behind the initiative.
In particular, in the period 2020-2023, CEMR is responsible for supporting national awareness-raising and capacity-building activities in Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and the UK.
The Covenant of Mayors Office is managed by a group of networks of local and regional governments which includes CEMR as well as Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, Fedarene and ICLEI Europe.
What is the role of national associations of local and regional governments as Covenant Supporters?

  • Promoting the Covenant of Mayors at national level, mobilising existing and potential signatories
  • Contributing to reinforce multi-level governance and the active role of local and regional governments in the creation and implementation of sustainable energy and climate policies
  • Organising national awareness raising and capacity building activities in the fields of climate change adaptation, mitigation and access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy, funding and financing
  • Working in partnership with other Supporters and Coordinators to foster joint action to promote exchange of experiences and knowledge sharing, as well as tools or resources relevant to Covenant signatories
  • Participating in Covenant of Mayors activities
More than 20 of CEMR’s member associations are already Covenant Supporters. The full list of Supporters can be found here:
The Global Covenant of Mayors
The success of the initiative quickly went beyond expectations and would keep attracting new local and regional authorities in Europe and beyond. In 2011 the European Commission extended the Covenant of Mayors to eastern Europe (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) and in 2012 to the European Neighbourhood South Region (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia). In 2015 the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa was was also launched.
In June 2016, the Covenant of Mayors entered a major new phase of its history by joining forces with another city initiative, the Compact of Mayors. The resulting “Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy” is the largest movement of local governments committed to going beyond their own national climate and energy objectives. Fully in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate justice principles, the Global Covenant of Mayors will tackle three key issues: climate change mitigation, adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and universal access to secure, clean and affordable energy.
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is capitalising on the experience gained over the past eight years in Europe and beyond, and is building upon the key success factors of the initiative: its bottom-up governance, its multi-level cooperation model and its context-driven framework for action.
CEMR is a member of the strategic advisory committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

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