Covenant of Mayors
  Covenant Coordinators & Supporters July - August 2012  
Proximity, transparency, accountability: The Covenant philosophy
{{{Interview with Marino Fiasella, President of the Province of La Spezia.}}} In this exclusive interview with the Covenant of Mayors Office, Marino Fiasella, President of the Province of La Spezia, highlights what he believes are the main reasons for the initiative’s success. Among other things, he mentions the importance given to citizen empowerment and access to information and talks about the dynamics unleashed by the Covenant of Mayors in terms of multi-level government cooperation and community involvement. More specifically, President Fiasella shares some of the Province’s latest initiatives, including a georeferenced mapping system showing the results of energy audits and allowing citizens to gain a better idea of energy consumption levels in their territory.

What has prompted the Province’s decision to sign a Covenant Coordinator agreement with the European Commission ?

The energy issue is undoubtedly the central theme of the future. In this sense, the objectives set by the Covenant of Mayors should be given utmost priority. The Covenant of Mayors acts as an agreement between territories and communities that are committed to promoting the adoption of environmentally-friendly lifestyles and behaviours.

Today’s 20-20-20 targets are becoming ever more important and imperative, and the Covenant of Mayors is a concrete tool that leads us toward this direction. Not only does it call for the cultural shift of adopting ecological practices, it also addresses the need for system efficiency and intelligent networks which can bring about significant savings.

Our interest in joining the initiative derived from our assumption that the government bodies operating on the wider territory of the Province could play a strategic role in helping municipalities reach their climate and energy targets. Not only did we sign a Covenant Coordinator agreement with the European Commission, we also encouraged other Italian provinces to take on such a role within their jurisdiction. Each year, on the occasion of the International Conference on Environment held in September in the Palmaria Island, the pearl of the Gulf of La Spezia, Italian Provinces join the Covenant, setting new objectives to protect the environment.

How is the province reaching out to and involving the various actors of its territory in the implementation of Covenant of Mayors-related policies ?

The Province of La Spezia has played a driving role in Italy in enticing private entities to join the Covenant of Mayors. In January 2012, we signed a memorandum of understanding with trade and professional associations with regard to their involvement in the initiative. This cooperation agreement is fully in line with the objective of involving all the territory’s stakeholders in the achievement of the 20-20-20 objectives. In addition, I believe that local and regional institutions have a duty not only to act as role models but to show, through their strong link with the territory, the ability to integrate the Covenant of Mayors objectives within the local social fabric, allowing the entire community to become protagonists in what I consider to be a genuine civilization’s fight. Indeed, the environment is a heritage that we must protect for future generations.

What support does the province provide to signatory municipalities in its jurisdiction ?

To guide municipalities in the preparation of their SEAPs, the Province of La Spezia has carried out an intensive and comprehensive information campaign. To encourage the uptake of energy audits in small and medium-sized municipalities, we have promoted - among the municipal administrations - a skills training programme on the topic of energy management in buildings. The Province of La Spezia has also launched "Audit GIS (Geographical Information System)", a project aimed at creating a database of information collected through audits and making them available to the public through a georeferenced system with interactive maps. The software EcoGis collects annual energy data from the public buildings of all municipalities and from public lighting. All this information is available via the Internet through the Province website, serving as a very useful tool for citizens who may have an updated picture of the energy status of their territory at all times.

The innovative strength of this tool lies in the fact that it gives people timely access to relevant information, which we see as consistent with the Covenant of Mayors democratic and grassroots approach. This is a concrete demonstration of the bottom-up processes triggered by the Covenant of Mayors. Another very interesting technical aspect is the fact that ECoGIS can also process the energy data collected, convert them into CO2 emissions and create simulations useful when considering the energy refurbishment of buildings.

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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, and Fedarene.

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