If you have heard about the LIFE project #NECPlatform before, you know that this project, kicked off late 2022, aims at supporting six EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, and Romania) transition to climate neutrality by setting-up and managing permanent multi-level Climate and Energy Dialogue (CED) Platforms in line with Article 11 of the Energy Union Governance Regulation, operational between March 2023 and September 2024. The objective is to reinforce the national policy frameworks of the six target countries to design an inclusive governance model that in the future could be replicated in other Member States.
Just like individual virtuosos, governments most often perform solo their own songs, forgetting the power and results that playing in synch brings. This is the image NECPlatform has picked for its first promotional video, demonstrating how the lack of coordination limits the efforts in drafting national energy and climate plans, with the needs for policy implementation to be more effective. Collective and common action are needed, and the governance and energy policies need rethinking, to make them more inclusive and flexible. Acting alone seems easier in the short term, but the results are not always in synch. Acting together requires more coordination, but the end result is more impactful.
That is NECPlatform reason-to-be. The process has already started in Croatia, Italy, Portugal, and Romania, where first dialogues were already held in the past months. This just marks the first step of a two-year process, that essentially aims to redefine the governance of energy and climate issues in the long-term.
The project brought actors together in Italy (after a successful first meeting in March in Croatia). Over 20 participants (from universities, NGOs, organisations and municipalities) met in Bologna, the 3rd of April. Agende 21 organised the dialogue platform / roundtable, involving local policymakers: Anna Lisa Boni, Councilor for the Municipality of Bologna, kicked off the event, joined by Renata Zuffi, President of Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane. The “100 Climate, Neutral Cities by 2030 Mission” was presented, as well as the first NECPlatform project actions in Italy (Giulia Pizzini, IEECP and Daniela Luise, director of Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane), followed by a workshop, diving the room in groups who then reported their discussions to all. Next in line is the Romanian dialogue, planned for April 19 I Bucharest.
You can find in Italian, on the organisation website, the material presented during the workshop.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese and Romanian dialogues took place in April
In Romania, the first dialogue opportunity to engage the two national ministries in charge of the NECP process on how to improve the communication channels between national and local governments, as well as with other actors. It was made clear that in the previous years, although the national government had launched a consultation, it had been too top-down and short notice to account for meaningful participation of local authorities and relevant stakeholders. Options to improve this process were discussed, from creating an IT platform to integrating local representatives and stakeholders in the working group that will be put in place to revise the NECPs.
In Portugal, around 20 participants gathered, including representatives of the two ministries in charge of the NECPs, to dive directly into the key topics where better alignment needs to be drawn: transport, building, agriculture… The format allowed for sincere discussions which put on the table the priorities that need to be worked on in the following dialogues.
Still to come are the first round of dialogues in France and Bulgaria, happening at the end of this month and beginning of June.
The first steps taken in these four countries made it clear that the road ahead is a challenging one, but not an impossible one. The NECP process, if done correctly, could set the field for more integrated and coordinated climate and energy policymaking in EU Member States. And essentially empower local voices on the national stage. What happens in the NECPlatform countries will show us the way.
The dialogue platforms ensure that energy and climate policies are co-created and consistent across all levels of governance, for National Governments to work hand in hand with local and regional authorities, helping Europe achieve its goals of climate neutrality and energy independence.
NECPlatform will help Member States comply with EU Regulation, mandating that each country put in place such platforms in the process of updating their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). Within these dialogues, we help foster vertical and horizontal integration of energy and climate policies, ensuring that they are inclusive, co-created and coherent across all levels of government. The project just released graphics showing how the dialogues are implemented in each of the six countries, and who are the stakeholders involved. The country pages available present for each a state of play for a full overview (role of stakeholders, goals, opportunities, etc.).