Flemish Covenant of Mayors Network

The Flemish Network on the Covenant of Mayors (Vlaams Netwerk Burgemeestersconvenant) has held its first formal meeting on June 7th, after a pathway of several activities that helped creating momentum.

Almost 40 participants were present, coming from signatory cities, cities interested in signing the CoM, six intermunicipal cooperations for regional development and their umbrella organisation, all five provinces, the Flemish environmental and energy administrations, the knowledge center on city policy, the Flemish environmental umbrella organisation BBL, the Flemish institution for technological research (VITO) and the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG). A leaflet with a picture of most of the participants helped them to quickly know and remember who’s who during and after the meeting.

On the agenda were topics like:

- state of affairs of the CoM in Flanders;
- experiences and aspirations of cities and municipalities;
- which knowledge is freely available for everyone? which technical support is there for municipalities and from whom?
- what do we expect from central government in order to help the CoM-signatories?
- what progress do we want by 2013, 2014, in terms of participation, of support for municipalities, and of political engagement at supra-municipal level?

The outcome of the municipal and provincial elections in October will bring an important political ‘momentum’, that might lead to knew signing cities and municipalities and new ‘territorial coordinators’. Therefore the focus of our meeting was setting a path to ensure that at the start of the new local political administrations in 2013, every municipality that wants to sign, can get the necessary and affordable support. The support will come from partners forming a regionally specific combination of province and/or intermunicipal cooperation and/or other partners. But first elections will decide.

On this meeting the participants were civil servants, in 2013 a higher level political meeting with more external visibility will be hold.

One of the repeatedly formulated requests is the need of coordinated gathering of data for the BEI (and its updates) by the Flemish government. And also the tuning of local and central planning, and the need for complementary energy policy action by the Flemish government.

The Network meeting enhanced the shared enthusiasm and brought lots of useful exchanges of experiences and points of view.

A next meeting will be held shortly after the elections. In the meanwhile, more specific workshops will be held, as VVSG will take further action on the main requests that arised from the discussions.

More info? Contact Alex Verhoeven, staff member of the Flemish Association of Cities and Municipalities.

Project coordinated by Energy Cities,Supported by Intelligent Energy – Europe: for a sustainable future and ADEME