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Welcome to the third CHAMP project newsletter!

Over 60 cities and municipalities have participated in the CHAMP trainings now that the project has passed midterm. The interest and need to receive support for action against climate change are huge.

The integrated approach to tackle climate and sustainability issues at the local level is also promoted in many European policies and programmes. However, there is currently no continuous support for local and regional authorities who want to implement and maintain sustainability management.

CHAMP is now working towards the institutionalising of integrated sustainability management and aims at creating continuous support for European cities and regions. For this reason, the topic of this newsletter is Institutionalising integrated sustainability management at the EU level. It will be an exciting last year of the project to see the progress in the participating cities and to continue cooperating with other partners to achieve these aims!

We invite you to find more about our current actions in this newsletter and on our website and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011!

The project team

Editorial: From model projects to state of the art

The week before writing this, I attended the International EMAS Conference “Towards a Resource Efficient Economy”. 15 years of EMAS experience is a good example of how much effort is needed to really establish a voluntary management system. Still, despite competent bodies, helpdesk, newsletter, award and the institutional support of the member states, only 4,550 organisations have been EMAS certified so far. There is still a lot of potential to extend the implementation of environmental management.

Integrated Sustainability Management (IMS) is recommended in all European policies and although many programmes, projects and initiatives have been carried out, there is no continuous support for local and regional authorities wanting to implement – and what is even more difficult – to maintain sustainability management in their cities or regions.

Why should IMS be institutionalized? What should a European IMS Competent Body be responsible for?
The IMS Competent Body should develop a European standard for Integrated Sustainability Management in order to secure the quality of the system and to provide a basis for future certification and supporting structures for implementing IMS. Capacity building will be needed continuously, especially in the implementation phase but also later to facilitate the desired extension of the IMS. Unfortunately, sustainable development is a continuous challenge and IMS coordinators will always need maximum support for their demanding tasks. Qualified trainers should support local and regional governments based on a standard for capacity development to make sure that knowledge regarding content and methodology is always up to date.

Besides training, the practical experience is important. Therefore the IMS Competent Body should act as a platform for practitioners of Integrated Sustainability Management Systems to exchange experiences and information. Last but not least, as local and regional governments with an Integrated Sustainability Management in place show a high level of responsibility and are future-oriented. Therefore they deserve sound advantages unlike those who keep on finding new excuses for not implementing IMS. Thus, the IMS Competent Body should lobby for the improvement of the political, legal and financial framework to acknowledge local authorities using IMS.

After working for quite a while with Integrated Sustainability Management, it is pretty clear for all CHAMP partners that we should join forces with other initiatives to build up a European wide institutionalized IMS – not only from the financial point of view of projects but also to win institutional support to get IMS as a good practice in all European local and regional authorities.

Text: Marion Hammerl, Lake Constance Foundation

Integrated approach supported by EU policies

The sustainability challenge demands an integrated approach that allows taking all dimensions of sustainable development equally into account. Several EU policies and strategies are aiming at the same goal of promoting integrated approach as a means for sustainable urban development. Integrated approach implies that various sectoral policies are being coordinated, different actors are broadly involved in policy-making, multi-level dialogue is taking place and daily policy-making is based on a vision and a strategy with proper follow-up mechanisms.
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These issues are highlighted for example in the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (2006) and the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment (2007). The Leipzig Charter (2007) on Sustainable European Cities stressed the need to create a practical tool that would translate the sustainability goals into more practical terms. To this end, a working group was founded to develop a Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (RFSC). The working group is currently developing a set of tools, e.g. for assessment and monitoring, for local authorities and diverse stakeholders helping cities adopt the approach of integrated urban development. More recently, in the Toledo declaration (2010), the ministers reaffirmed the need to implement integrated urban development policy.

The Managing Urban Europe Initiative was launched in 2006 by several network organisations (ICLEI, UBC, UNEP, LCF, etc.) together with many European cities in order to promote and develop practical methods on how to practically work with integrated approach on local and regional level. To this end, an Integrated Management System (IMS) for sustainable development on local and regional level was developed under the initiative. In this work, Aalborg Commitments function as a framework for local sustainable development. At the moment National Training Hubs and European Network of Integrated Management for Sustainability are being developed within the CHAMP project to support the initiative and continue to work for the goal of integrated and sustainable urban development.

Text and photo: Kirsi-Marja Lonkila, UBC

Meeting on the capitalisation of integrated management in Brussels

Problems with the sustainability work are well known – many good strategies and programmes are developed but poorly implemented, many campaigns and projects suffer from the lack of continuity, practical support for implementation and incentives for cities to start the systematic sustainability management. There is a strong need for institutionalising integrated management at the EU level.

The Managing Urban Europe Initiative was launched in 2006 through the MUE-25 project resulting in Integrated Management System (IMS) guidelines published in 2008. Now the work is carried on further by the CHAMP project aiming to create a full Capacity Development Package and establishing National Training Hubs for continuous support to cities on their sustainability work. This would include an EU-wide network of National Training Hubs and other supporting organisations. In order to better cover the fragmented field of local and regional authorities it would be useful to find synergies and have a more institutional status for the work being done.

During Open Days, the European Week of Cities and Regions in October, CHAMP organised a meeting with the aim to institutionalize integrated management at the EU level in Brussels. Participants from different organizations, such as the Covenant of Mayors Office, Regional Environment Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), Aalborg Commitments Secretariat, DG Regio, DG Environment, Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities, ICLEI, UBC, Ambiente Italia, and Lake Constance Foundation were present in the meeting that resulted in a recognition and common agreement on the existing problems mentioned above and in the need for cooperation to be able to create long-term support structures for mainstreaming and concretising integrated sustainability management in cities.
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A good spirit of cooperation created strong trust in the possibilities of building up the necessary structures. It was decided that a wider roundtable will be organised in early 2011 to find support for institutionalising and organising long-term support structures for integrated sustainability management. The stage is open for all interested organisations.

Text: Pekka Salminen & Kirsi-Marja Lonkila, UBC
Photo: Kirsi-Marja Lonkila

Cooperation between different initiatives makes achieving the Covenant of Mayors objectives easier

More than 2100 local authorities have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors, committing voluntarily to go beyond the Energy and Climate objectives of the EU. More than a hundred regions, provinces, public administration and associations of local authorities and regions across Europe have also joined the initiative to support towns and cities in their effort.
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The political commitment of mayors and their permanent support to municipal departments, local partners and citizens are the elementary conditions for the success of any action implemented at local level. Local sustainable energy policies, activities and investments are not an exception - they could hardly be implemented without this top level back-up.

The measures implemented in the field of energy savings and use of renewable energy sources are closely inter-linked with other sectors and significantly contribute to the achievement of other local priorities, such as

  • sustainable urban development,
  • high quality environment,
  • effective use of public money and creation of local job opportunities,
  • education and human capacities building,
  • motivation of citizens to participate in local projects (e.g. starting with participation in the development of Sustainable Energy Action Plan - SEAP) and
  • public procurement and budgetary issues.

Image 5No need to say that energy and financial savings have a positive impact on local budget which can, in later stages, finance other local actions.
Cooperation among different municipal departments (e.g. financial department) and between a local authority and other actors influencing policies on its territory (regions, national governments, etc.) is essential for a successful implementation of measures featured in the SEAP. The integrated approach to local management is therefore of utmost importance for achieving local energy goals.

The Covenant of Mayors initiative also encourages a multi-level governance dialogue and coordination among different initiatives and so contributes to the integrated approach at European level.

Several Intelligent Energy Europe projects such as Come2Com, Energy4Mayors, ENESCOM, INTERREG projects such as COMBAT or Rêve d’Avenir, LIFE+ projects such a CHAMP or the European ManagEnergy initiative help cities and regions to join the Covenant and accompany them in achieving their commitments. Through trainings, workshops, exchanging best practices and methodologies, those initiatives allow capacity building among the Covenant Signatories and contribute substantially to the credibility of the Covenant of Mayors.

The Covenant of Mayors offers the political ground on which lots of initiatives can build upon. Liaising those initiatives one with another will set up a favourable environment for local authorities to engage and succeed more easily.

More information at the Covenant of Mayors website.
Text: Jana Cicmanova, CoM Office

Series: CHAMP External advisor interview - Audrone Alijosiute from ECAT Lithuania

Q:What are you/your organisation working on right now?
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A:ECAT Lithuania is a NGO, that started a sustainability campaign at local level in Lithuania in 1997. It resulted in several projects that aimed at integration of economic, social and environmental aspects into city development issues. Our recent projects are oriented towards adaptation to climate change, energy saving, renewables and sustainable consumption.

Q:How is integrated approach present in your work?

A:Most of our projects aim at influencing decision making and planning issues at local level and promote integrated management approach to sustainability.

Q:The integrated approach is strongly stressed in several EU policies and strategies. What are in your opinion the biggest benefits of integrated approach in sustainability management?

A:Sustainability requires complex decisions and it is possible only if the systematic approach is in place. Integrated approach in sustainability management assists to create rules, monitoring instruments – it explains how to reach sustainable decisions, gives a framework. I would say that sustainability management is not possible at all without integrated approach due to the origin of the concept of sustainability.
Integrated approach helps to consider all activities in the city at certain moment, search for interdependencies between different processes in the city and gives an overall view(evaluates) on all activities together.

Q:Considering your experience with the MUE-25 project and now as CHAMP external advisor, how do you see the future of integrated urban sustainability management?
Do you see the need for institutionalising the different initiatives or is it possible to achieve sustaining results with different projects?

A:I would say, both options are possible. Institutionalisation would strengthen the integrated urban sustainability management approach and provide an assurance to these processes. However, often institutionalisation means more bureaucracy and project provide more space for new opportunities.


Partner updates

Sharing experiences in the Third Party Workshop at Lake Balaton

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The Third Party workshop called as the EMAS Roundtable meeting on 10th June 2010 focused on sharing experiences and promoting the communication among the EMAS registered organisations, accredited verifiers and competent bodies. The workshop was arranged in the framework of the CHAMP project and organized by the Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency (LBDCA) with the contribution of Hungarian EMAS Competent Body (National Inspectorate for Environment, Nature and Water), Ministry of Rural Development, National Accreditation Body and Lake Constance Foundation.

Driven by increased public awareness and stakeholder pressure, many organizations in Hungary are trying to improve their environmental performance. In spite of the fact that organizations are working in different sectors, resource management, sustainable development and climate change adaptation play an important role in their operation. CHAMP is offering tools to overcome this challenge, since the aim of the project is to promote the application of sustainable environmental management system at local and regional organizations in the fight against climate change. The introduction of an environmental management system such as EMAS can be a key to effective climate change adaptation.

Attendants from various fields and sectors, such as authorities, verifiers/auditors, organization interested in environmental management system from car-factory, paper manufacture, research institutes, consultants, banks, local governments and the regional development agency (hosting organization) were present in the workshop.

Introducing EMAS III in Hungary
During the workshop, the national and international speakers summarized the most important activities and outcomes achieved in the last period. For instance, they introduced the practical implementation of the EMAS III regulation in the field of accreditation as well as the legal alleviations. The participants also discussed about putting more emphasis to EMAS certification in environmental grant schemes and recognizing EMAS in legal regulations more widely, in the field of control and authorization procedures. These are issues of great significance in the course of transposing the EMAS III regulation into the Hungarian legislation.

Furthermore, the workshop participants gained useful advice for implementing the future tasks, with special attention to the elaboration of core indicators (key performance indicators). One of the key principles of EMAS is the constant improvement of the environmental protection activities. The activities of an organization can be regularly reviewed and analyzed by performance indicators in order to make modification in case of necessity. The core indicators are crucial for improving the environmental performance of organizations. They allow benchmarking and comparison between different organizations within the same sector.

The Third Party Workshop reached its aim to bring together actors working with the management system; to get to know their views and expectations. The workshop also enhanced the implementation of system based environmental protection activities in the direction of sustainable management system through EMAS.

Text: Zita Egerszegi, LBDCA

Finnish training disseminated good practices in implementation and monitoring of climate work

Image 8 The third workshop for the Finnish CHAMP pilot cities was organised in Turku at the end of October. The theme of the workshop was implementation and monitoring of climate work carried out by the cities.
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Four models of implementing and monitoring local climate work
In the workshop, the cities of Oulu, Turku, Lahti and Tampere delivered interesting presentations on the steps they had taken.

  • In Oulu, all measures related to climate change have been compiled into a climate programme. The central administration coordinates the programme and provides support for managing the different projects. This makes climate work easier to manage and consolidates the ever important link to the city management.
  • In Turku, climate measures and the units responsible are laid down in a separate programme document. While the environmental sector is responsible for the programme coordination, the programme will be implemented throughout the city organisation. To support the monitoring and implementation, the city has nominated and trained eco support persons to the different units.
  • Lahti uses internal auditing in the implementation of environmental and climate work to ensure orderly and effective functioning of, and adherence to, the quality assurance system and to identify development targets.
  • Tampere has launched a programme called ECO2 - Eco-efficient Tampere 2020. The aim is to coordinate and support the delivery of the city's climate and energy targets. The ECO2 portfolio of projects is led by the top management of the City of Tampere Group, but several units from different sectors are involved.

While different in many aspects, these four models on responding to climate change have also something in common. The examples show that the management of climate work in local authorities requires a system that takes into consideration all aspects of responding to climate change, is linked to the municipal strategy and has well-organised monitoring.

CHAMP becomes electronic
One of CHAMP aims, promoting low-carbon footprint project management took a big leap forward in the latest workshop. One in four local government representatives participated in the workshop via remote access. Furthermore, one of the presentations about integrated environmental system in the city of Växjö was given through a video link. Getting used to remote access is a good sign for the CHAMP project in Finland as the next workshop will be completely virtual.

Text: Lotta Mattsson, AFLRA
Photo: Stella Aaltonen

How to coordinate society’s sustainability efforts – the challenge of vertical integration in Germany

Image 10 Last autumn, a peer-review of the German sustainability strategy revealed some weaknesses in the implementation of the national strategy. Among them was the problem of weak horizontal and vertical integration, meaning that people’s efforts to promote sustainability tend to orient along the lines of sectors and federal levels. This results in fragmentation and loss of focus and efficiency.

A broad coalition consisting of NGOs, local authorities and distinguished experts discussed the issue at different occasions and events such as the German networking congress for local agenda21 in September 2010 in Nürnberg. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability took part in the discussion, which resulted in a position paper on vertical integration. Although not mentioning integrated management for sustainability by letter, the paper suggests the application of integrated management to build the bridges between different federal levels.

The German CHAMP partners – ICLEI and Lake Constance Foundation – consider this a great step forward, since this discussion underlines the great benefits of an integrated management not only for the sustainability of a local authority but also for society as a whole.

Text: Sven Schulz, Lake Constance Foundation and Pamela Mühlmann, ICLEI

Dissemination of IMS in Eastern Europe supported by German Environmental Ministry

Image 11 The dissemination of IMS to all European countries is one of the key objectives of the CHAMP project. In Eastern Europe, local authorities and regions need to adapt to the European legislation and they want to reach the level of development of the EU. This can hopefully be achieved without repeating the mistakes made by western European communities and regions.

Regional Development Programmes and Structural Funds support local and regional authorities in Eastern Europe with considerable funds. All of these programmes underline the objective of sustainable development and require appropriate instruments to assure this aim – many even recommend the use of integrated sustainability management.

The German Environmental Ministry supports the exchange of information and experiences between Germany and Eastern European Countries. The assessment programme focuses not only on environmental technology but also on methods and management tools, such as environmental management system. The Integrated Sustainability Management System is an extension of EMAS and ISO 14.001 – content wise and geographically. Therefore the German Environmental Ministry supports the dissemination activities of IMS and capacity building in Eastern European countries carried out by Lake Constance Foundation (LCF).

LCF gives input to the CHAMP trainings for Hungarian municipalities – organized by the Hungarian CHAMP partner Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency – and will participate in the peer reviews of the Hungarian municipalities. Furthermore, the Regional Environmental Centre (REC) will disseminate IMS and organize trainings for municipalities. A series of four workshops for 25 municipalities from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro will start in January 2011. Climate mitigation and adaptation will be an important topic within integrated management, but not the only one. Also other challenges such as the loss of biodiversity, basic environmental aspects like waste management or participation of stakeholders – especially minorities – will be looked at in an integrated way.

In addition to this, the environmental ministries or competent bodies in Poland, Czech Republic and Rumania have expressed their interest to collaborate with the CHAMP initiative and to organize capacity building for local authorities.

Text: Marion Hammerl, Lake Constance Foundation

Publication details

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

Editorial team: Kirsi-Marja Lonkila (UBC), Esther Kreutz (UBC), Pekka Salminen (UBC) with support from: Marion Hammerl (Lake Constance Foundation), Jana Cicmanova (Covenant of Mayors Office), Sven Schulz (Lake Constance Foundation), Zita Egerszegi (Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency), Lotta Mattsson (AFLRA) and Pamela Mühlmann (ICLEI).
If the author is not indicated, the texts are written by the Editorial Team.

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