Covenant of Mayors Office
1, square de Meêus
Ahead of the fast-approaching Rio+20 summit, the Covenant of Mayors has again been portrayed as an inspiring model of European cooperation worthy of widespread replication across the globe.
Speaking at the European Summit of Regions and Cities, held in Copenhagen on 22-23 March, the Commission's President José Manuel Barroso highlighted that CO2 savings achieved every year through the combined efforts of Covenant Signatories amounted to "an estimated 132 million tonnes", "the equivalent of 78 million fewer cars on Europe's roads!"
Commenting on the upcoming UN summit, he added: "So 20 years after 1992 we are going to meet to see what we can do and I hope that we will keep and even reinforce this leading role in sustainability, also with the contribution of our cities and urban areas."
The Covenant of Mayors was also mentioned in the “Copenhagen Declaration”, adopted on the occasion by mayors and presidents of regions from EU member states. Among other things, the declaration calls on the European Union to “provide support for a crosscutting urban policy” and for the “role of cities and regions in framing and piloting European policies to be strengthened, in particular as regards integrated strategies for sustainable regional development and a carbon-free economy”.
Indeed, through their commitment to the Covenant of Mayors and subsequent implementation of Sustainable Energy Action Plans, cities and regions greatly contribute to the climate and energy objectives of the EU. By the same token, they address social disparities, develop new economic activities and create more attractive living environments for their citizens. Social inclusiveness and economic competitiveness were indeed among the keywords of the conference.
As part of her closing speech, pronounced in the presence of the European Parliament President and the Danish Prime Minister, President of the Committee of the Regions Mercedes Bresso also reminded the audience that “as vital tiers in the democratic process”, cities have a “pivotal role to play in bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens. They thus hold the key to a European genuine "renaissance"”.
Picture credit: European Summit of Regions and Cities
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