NECPlatform – 9 months to go! Where do we stand in setting up multi-level dialogue platforms in six Member States? 



Climate planning, adaptation and resilience
Energy governance


Multi-level governance (MLG) promotes collaborative decision-making, inclusiveness, and the effective use of resources and expertise across different levels and sectors of governments and society. According to Article 11 of the Governance Regulation, Member States should implement multi-level governance processes when designing, implementing and monitoring national energy and climate policy (namely Climate and Energy Dialogues, CEDs), including when drafting their NECPs (National Energy and Climate Plans), which final updated drafts are due at the end of June 2024. 

Within the NECPlatform LIFE project, six Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal and Romania) were supported in setting up such dialogues. Upon meeting in Lisbon to join the country’s 3rd CED, each country (and partner) provided updates on where they stand in the target of setting up the 6 dialogue platforms. A bitter-sweet feeling, as outlined by our Romanian partner. Despite relentless efforts by national partners, the implementation of the CED platforms in the six Member States has not always gone smoothly or been straightforward. These dialogues are an opportunity for the national level to receive feedback from the ground: cities and regions are laboratories that foster transformative solutions and have demonstrated high and bold political ambitions when it comes to fighting climate change, i.e. by declaring climate emergency or making voluntary commitments to decarbonise their territory. 

In our host country for this meeting and dialogue, Portugal, it was the third dialogue organised by ZERO, which gathered around 25 participants in discussions around the topic of financing (needs and opportunities): in the room, local authorities, energy agencies and NGOs, which heard presentations from the project and from Sustentavel 2030. 

The topic of financing has been common to other Member States: in France, the last two dialogues focused on it. One of the main outcomes of these dialogue has been the creation of a € 250 million “territorial climate fund” to help local authorities implementing their SECAPs. The modalities and conditions of this new fund are still to be defined. In a joint letter sent to the Ministry for Ecological Transition, Energy Cities together with various associations of local authorities (AMORCE, CLER, Intercommunalités de France, France Urbaine, AfCCRE, etc.) listed some recommendations on how to ensure long-term financing perspective to local authorities. Following two should come before end of 2024. If you read French, our partner Energy City has done a cross interview for the NGO CLER’s magazine “Notre énergie.  

How to deal with the financing of sustainable energy measures was also the topic of the 5th Croatian dialogue, which was just held at the end of April with over 60 people in the room. Sectoral workshops were also organised to go deeper into the subject. Another good news is that partners REGEA foresee for the CEDs to go on even after the project end, the process seems to be in place and adopted by all.  

In Romania, our partner OER managed to go from 1 to 4 CED meetings in the beginning of 2024, though mostly as consultations planned by the Ministry of Energy.  

As a side note, this is a misconception often perceived in how Member States report in their NECPRs (the Governance Regulation requires Member States to report every 2 years on the progress achieved towards the implementation of their integrated NECPs through NECPRs) the work done to comply with the Governance Regulation: articles 10 and 11 of the legislation are often mixed. Countries confuse the fact of organising dialogues with multiple parties to develop the climate and energy policies and monitor their enforcement (article 11) with article 10 which states that countries must ensure that the public is given early and effective opportunities to participate in the preparation of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans as well as of the National Long Term Strategies. These public consultations should normally come at the end of the process, when the draft NECP is ready.  

The next dialogue in Romania should happen after the NECP submission, and the willingness to ensure continuity of the dialogues is stated by OER, who will continue organising roundtables to facilitate exchange between local and national levels on energy and climate.  

In Bulgaria, our partner EnEffect managed to organise 5 dialogues so far, despite continuous political crisis in the country which put their effort at stake. Topics of the organised CED were: financing, energy efficiency in municipalities, the NECP development, energy efficient renovations, as well as a decarbonisation model and trajectories presented at the 5th dialogue. In a recent post, Eneffect applauds “a constantly growing and active community stressing on the importance of transparency, predictability and continuity of policies leading to decentralisation of resources and empowerment of the local communities, engaging both policymakers and the media”. 

In Italy, 5 dialogues were also organised, with the last two in March and April 2024, mostly collecting ideas for the NECP and on the topic of energy poverty. A public consultation organised by the ministry of Energy closed at end of March. The last CED (organised under NECPlatform) is planned for end of the year. 

As a reminder, in the NECPR published in March 2023, four out of six members (Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, and Romania) expressed their willingness to initiate lasting dialogues, leveraging the project opportunities. 

Now what?  

The idea is to transfer the lessons learnt from setting up all these dialogues to other countries (up to 6 more with dedicated financial support, but all will be able to access the produced supporting material). What is coming up are a training programme (online + in presence through a workshop in Brussels, adjacent to the final event – the open call will come in the fall 2024), the release of guidelines, and the production of policy briefs to share our findings, including with EU policymakers. 

The final updated NECPs will have to be submitted in 2029, while the next NECPRs should be submitted by countries in March 2025. The ongoing Parliament elections will be followed by the election of a new Commission presidency and new Commissioners, an opportunity for the project to present the assessed NECPs and provide recommendations of what would be an ideal MLG framework, reinforcing article 11 and providing more details on how, when and how to set it up. Read more on what happens after the June elections

I want to know more 

NECPlatform was presented June 11, 2024 at the eceee Summer study in France. Download the presentation. See the abstract.

We will share the publication behind this presentation when it becomes open access: “Multi-level governance: involving subnational authorities and other stakeholders in national energy and climate policy making”. 

Article Euractiv 

If you missed it, the NECPlatform project team published an opinion on Euractiv earlier this year. 

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