CHAMP Project newsletter 1 (August 2009)

Image 1Image 2

Welcome to the first CHAMP project newsletter!

Climate change is high on all political agendas today and its effects pose a great challenge to all levels of society. Especially local and regional authorities play an utmost important role in adaptation and mitigation measures towards climate change effects. And action ahs to be taken now!
CHAMP-Local Response to climate change is a project continuing on the Managing Urban Europe-25 process which developed an integrated management system for local sustainability.
In the project we will train and support local and sub regional authorities in implementing an integrated management system to respond to climate change effects and will promote and disseminate the framework model Europe-wide.
This first newsletter wants to announce the start of the project and will give you a first impression about what has happened in our project so far. It also gives some viewpoints on issues we will be working on in the next three years.
We invite you to find more about our project and the integrated management systems on our website and are happy to help you with any questions!

The editors

Simultaneous climate and economic crises – luckily solutions are within reach

Europe, together with the rest of the world, finds itself at a critical confluence of climate crisis and economic crisis. The latest assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the widely noted Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change have lent new urgency to countering what may be humanity’s greatest challenge ever. Addressing this challenge will require a range of far-reaching policies: the development of more benign technologies, a boost in the efficiency with which energy and raw materials are being used, a critical re-assessment of lifestyle and consump-tion choices, as well as economic structures, environmental restoration and mitigation efforts. It will also require adaptation to those changes that now seem irreversible. These changes claim for a fun-damental ecological transformation of the economy. But these changes will not happen automatically. Without initiative and impulse from both government action and private investments, needed change will not happen sufficiently fast.
Local and subregional authorities have an important role in facing the problem. Towns and cities ac-count directly and indirectly for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions derived from energy use related to human activity. As outlined in the Covenant of Mayors, the commitment by signatory towns and cities to go beyond the objectives of EU energy policy in terms of reduction in CO2 emis-sions, this effort requires a highly integrated approach. Various EU policies and strategies (e.g. the EU Regional and Cohesion Policy, the EU Territorial Agenda, the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable Cities and the EU Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment) refer to an integrated approach as a key re-sponse. This is challenging and demands a good and competent organization and well functioning local administration.
Within this framework, the main idea of the CHAMP project is thus to develop extensive training pro-grams and implement training facilities on integrated management for local and subregional authori-ties, with a specific focus on local actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, in order to disseminate wide competence on integrated urban management.

By Maria Berrini and Orsola Bolognani, Ambiente Italia


CHAMP goes e-communication

In the project, our main goal is to support cities and regions in responding to climate change through an integrated urban management. Internally we avoid massive CO2 emissions by reducing travelling. So in order to communicate effectively and with a low carbon footprint we will use “new” technologies like videoconferencing, electronic newsletters and brochures, blogs and will focus our communication activities on our electronic platform.

On the current CHAMP web-site you can find all issues concerning the project. Later on, the website will gradually be built on to become an electronic communication platform. Visit us at www.localmanagement.eu !

Image 3

The CHAMP blog is an up-to-date medium where the CHAMP team and its partners will post news items and our views about the latest developments of the project and climate change in general. Feel free to post comments or questions and help us understand your needs.
Blogging from the national hubs will start from autumn 2009 on.

The general CHAMP blog can be accessed here
Image 4


CHAMP at GREEN WEEK!

CHAMP was represented with a stand during the four days of the Green Week Brussels “Climate change: act and adapt”. The CHAMP team also blogged live from the event at champproject.blogspot.com/

The Green Week is a prominent event annually organized in Brussels. This year’s conference week was dedicated to climate change, and of course CHAMP had to be there!

During the four days there were numerous conferences, workshops, exhibitions and side events dedicated to the four themes: EU climate change policies, the international dimension, living with climate change and the 2050 vision: a carbon free society.
One of the maybe most appreciated side event was the showing of the movie “The age of stupid” that most definitely will become a classic among “green movies”. A short review can be found at champproject.blogspot.com/

Image 5

The exhibition consisted of 60 stands, where three were exhibiting LIFE+ projects, others where show-ing green business solutions, NGO activities, local and regional authorities, European and international bodies, etc.

Our stand was manned by colleagues from UBC and the Lake Constance Foundation and all in all many visitors were interested in what we do, both from EU institutions and European organizations as well as interested private persons and fellow-exhibitors so that we could make a lot of new contacts that will hopefully be useful for the future of the project!

Image 6

Project update from partners:

Province of Siena: An experience of balancing greenhouse gas emissions

Already partner in the Managing Urban Europe-25 project, the Province of Siena is currently partner of CHAMP in its role as an experienced local authority in CO2 reduction policies.

The new initiative taken by the Province is the balancing of the emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gases in the whole territory: this new tool, that takes into account all the technical requirements and the parameters indicated by the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has allowed efficient accountings of the balance of GHG emissions. This dashboard will provide the measures for environmental policy to reach the Kyoto Protocol and will lead the Province through its pattern towards a carbon free territory in 2015.
Thanks to this new tool, the Province will assess all the effects of the actions and projects for the reduction of CO2 emissions implemented: the development of renewable energy sources, building efficiency, experimenting crops for the production of biofuels, and sustainable use of biomasses coming from the agriculture sector are just a few possibilities to take into account.
Awareness raising initiatives together with specific guidelines will be addressed to the citizens and to the agriculture and industrial sectors for the fostering of good practices on energy and providing some tips on energy savings.

The balance has been developed by the University of Siena (Department of Sciences and Chemical Technologies), within the REGES project and it has been granted with the ISO 14064 certificate.

Contact:
Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane
Maria Elisa Zuppiroli

Finnish cities want to take actions

Many Finnish cities already showed a great interest towards the trainings in CHAMP, where they will learn new ways of implementing an integrated management system to effectively respond to climate change.

The Finnish national training hub is set up in cooperation between the Union of the Baltic Cities Envi-ronment and Sustainable Development Secretariat and the Association for Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.
Two awareness raising events in Helsinki and Turku, have been held where cities were informed about the project and its actions.
At both events the cities showed great interest in the project and made clear that they really need sup-port. The main question for most of them was “How to get from strategies to action?” - how to work with climate change issues, how to commit politicians and how to communicate the work.

Finnish cities are very welcome to contact us until October 2009 if they are interested. The trainings will start in the beginning of 2010.

Contact:
Pekka Salminen, UBC, pekka.salminen@ubc.net
Maija Hakanen, AFLRA, Maija.hakanen@kuntaliitto.fi

EMAS and Sustainability Management for local authorities

The EU Environmental Audit Scheme (EMAS) has been revised and the Managing Urban Europe-partners were involved in the revision. Unfortunately, our proposal regarding an EMAS specified for Public Administrations was not adopted by the European Commission and the Member States. It was agreed to produce “Sectorial Reference documents” about the specific circumstances and environmental potential of the different EMAS target groups.

The Reference document for public administrations will be the first “pilot” and the European Commission and the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) invited Marion Hammerl from the CHAMP-project to be part of a working group.

In the first workshop, the experts agreed on that EMAS has mainly been used to manage “housekeeping” issues such as reduction of waste, energy and water consumption, etc. Only a few communities include the so called “indirect aspects” such as land-use planning and other related planning, or public procurement - other important core activities of local authorities in their environmental management system.

The Reference document aims to motivate local authorities to a more ambitious implementation of EMAS: environmental management for all significant aspects - especially the indirect ones – and for the whole urban area.

The Reference document will include guidance on the most important environmental issues of public bodies and provide best practise examples on the improvement of significant environmental aspects. Furthermore, the document will make references to performance indicators for reporting on environmental performance and benchmarking to motivate and proof the excellence of EMAS certified public administrations.

City examples presented

The City of Stockholm, who was a partner in the Managing Urban Europe-25 project (MUE-25), presented their integrated management system developed within the MUE-project. Stockholm is the winner of the Green Capital Award 2010 – and does not have an EMAS in place. Marion Hammerl reported on examples such as Leeds and Lewes in UK and their further development of EMAS towards sustainability management.

EMAS can be one pillar or the basis for sustainability management; the system developed within Managing Urban Europe includes all elements of the EMAS process and EMAS itself is flexible enough to be adopted to the needs and challenges as well as to the organisational structure of a local authority. EMAS also needs to demonstrate interest in public administrations and their expectations and explain the “added value” of the scheme.

Contact:
Marion Hammerl, Lake Constance Foundation, marion.hammerl@bodensee-stiftung.org

A sustainable region through EMAS in Hungary

The fundamental reasons for applying an integrated management system approach and emphasizing the protection of the environment are obvious: the fast exploitation of natural resources due to the non-sustainable management and the increasing amount of pollutants emitted to the environment as a result of economic activities at the other side pose a great challenge for local and regional authorities. At the same time, the adequate environmental conditions are essentials for the provision of welfare and healthy lives of the present and future generations. The problems of environmental protection should be addressed simultaneously and be integrated with the implementation of socio-economic tasks.

Similarly to other regions in Europe, certain unfavourable environmental procedures may be found in Hungary and at the Lake Balaton Region as well, that are caused by the short-term approach of the socio-economic and environmental planning. Simultaneously, a responsible approach has appeared in the area, which ensures sustainability through adequate expertise and financial sources. This was proven by several results in the last one and a half decade.

With regard to the sensitive environmental system of the Lake Balaton, the sustainable regional management and planning activities are important for the harmonization and monitoring of developments. The establishment of environmental management systems can support these kinds of activities.

The establishment of environmental management systems in local authorities contributes to improve the quality of the environment of the settlements and promotes sustainable development through establishing structures applied by existing systems, like the EMAS standard (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme of the European Union). The publicity and flow of information required by the environmental management systems – through internal and external communication channels – improves the relations of the region and the related groups and organisations (e.g. suppliers, customers, environmental organisations, local residents and professional institutions).

By recognising all the above mentioned factors the Environmental Management System was established at the Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency, as the first Hungarian regional development agency.

Through the fruitful introduction of the EMAS system, our objective is to serve as a model for the local municipalities, institutions and other offices located in the whole country and promoting them to implement system-based environmental protection activities.


Contact:
Mr Gábor Molnár, Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency, molnarg@balatonregion.hu

Italy is ready for supporting local and subregional authorities to respond to climate change

In Italy the national training hub for disseminating integrated urban management in local and subregional Italian authorities has been set up, in formal cooperation between Ambiente Italia and the association Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane (CA21L).

Three awareness raising events have been held in different Italian locations with the main aim to recruit 10 local authorities committed for the pilot implementation of the project. In order to increase their interest to join the project, some strong key elements for the selection of pilot local authorities have been clearly pointed out: for example, the local authorities should be committed to participate in the 5 training workshops on IMS, to develop or further implement an IMS in response to climate change effects and to disseminate the project results; minimum requirement is to have an already implemented local Agenda 21 or a EMAS/ISO14001 environmental management system or a sustainability/climate change action plan and compliance with the Aalborg Commitments and/or Covenant of Mayors; participation in other EU projects on IMS (MUE-25, Enviplans) or in CA21L working groups.

At present, many local authorities have already declared their interest in joining the project: 8 municipalities, 5 provinces, 1 network of lake districts, 1 water resources management authority – so the work can start!

Contact:
Maria Berrini,A mbiente Italia, champ@ambienteitalia.it
Eriuccio Nora, Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane, nora.e@provincia.modena.it


Image 7

 

Strong support for German CHAMP initiative

Germany – the country of standards, regulations and bureaucratic routines? Well, the experienced in German culture know that you can find creativity and innovation just the same way… Yet when trying to mainstream processes like a system for integrated management (IMS), it surely helps to consider their standardisation and consult with the key institutions.
The CHAMP partners Lake Constance Foundation and the ICLEI European Secretariat have successfully embarked on this strategy and won the support of the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and the Environmental Verification Committee (UGA) for the further development and mainstreaming of IMS for local governments in Germany.
With this support, a well-coordinated process can be organised between the relevant actors in Germany: local government associations, Environment and Spatial Planning Ministries, Environmental Verification Committee, the National Sustainability Council, and of course the experts, auditors and practitioners on the ground. After all, it’s the local governments on which the CHAMP activities focus: helping cities, towns and regions to adjust and manage their natural resources and common goods to the challenges of climate change. A mixed instrument of training, information and exchange will be implemented to involve all important actors in establishing the right support for them.
The training material developed in the projects Managing Urban Europe-25 and CHAMP (made easy at hand for German local governments in their mother tongue) will be complemented by case studies and a brochure to illustrate how EMAS and the Integrated Management System IMS together form a building block for a successful management system to overcome the challenges of today and arrive at a more sustainable future.
But CHAMP in Germany will not only make the paper talk: local governments will be invited to meet with EMAS auditors; and certified cities with those interested in sustainability management, to discuss the systems‘ implementation and improvements thereof. Not the least, a working group of local government associations, ministries and institutions will be established to explore the very issue – how integrated management can be made the standard in local and regional governments.

One of the prominent supporters of this idea is the Ministry for Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate - one of the first Federal States with a sustainability strategy and strongly supporting it’s cities and towns to move in the same direction. As a long-standing partner of ICLEI, the Ministry of Environment and the Federal State representation in Brussels will now host a breakfast meeting at the occasion of DG Regio’s Open Days 2009 in October 2009. European Parliaments, key representatives of the Commission and the Committee of the Regions shall be invited for CHAMP information and inspirations over a coffee and croissant – to move on to making IMS the standard all over Europe.

Contact: Andrea Philipp, ICLEI Europe, andrea.philipp@iclei.org


Publication details CHAMP Newsletter 1

Publisher: UBC Environment and Sustainable Development Secretariat, Vanha Suurtori 7, FIN-20500 Turku, Fax: +385 2 262 3425

Project contact persons:
Salminen Pekka, Project Manager
Kreutz Esther, Project Coordinator
fistname.familyname@ubc.net

Editorial team: Kreutz Esther (UBC), Granberg Anna (UBC), Ng Tim (UBC) with support from:
Berrini Maria (Ambiente Italia), Bolognani Orsola (Ambiente Italia), Hammerl Marion (Lake Constance Foundation), Egerszegi Zita (Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency)

If the author is not indicated, the texts are written by the Editorial Team.
CHAMP is part-financed by the LIFE+ programme of the European Commission, Regione Lombardia and the partners.

The newsletter reflects the authors view. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained in this publication.