A commitment in European countries is required in compliance with European Union directives relating to the approval of the Kyoto Protocol, a mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This requires the participation and leadership of local governments in adopting policies in sectors such as transport, town planning, building, waste handling, energy efficiency and development of new energy sources. It is in this context that the FEMP (Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces) and the Ministry for Environment signed a collaboration agreement to create a stable framework of relationships for setting up an initiative to prevent pollution and mitigate climate change. This aimed at encouraging policies of sustainable development at the municipal level from which the Spanish Network of Cities for the Climate emerged as a tool for working and management.
The network is made up of membership from over 60 Spanish cities, and its objectives include providing solutions that can be implemented by councils to reduce climate change and its effects, working on adaptation and promoting strategic environmental planning as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addressing climate change, the network focuses on specific strategic areas. 1) Transport: preparation of sustainable mobility plans aimed at promoting non-polluting means of transport; 2) Energy: actions aimed at reducing energy consumption, improving energy efficiency and production of energy from renewable sources; 3) Building: actions designed to reduce energy needs and incorporate renewable energies in buildings; 4) Town planning: aimed at keeping cities compact, multi-functional and efficient.
Some of the key results achieved show that municipalities in the network are more informed about climate change, its contribution, its effects and how to address it. The government has approved laws and plans that form the framework of action for local government, and local governments have developed regulations and plans to achieve the network’s objectives and sustainability.
(Link to full practice here )