Representatives from Agios Dimitrios and Bottrop met in Agios Dimitrios on 22-23 November to launch their new climate partnership facilitated by the project "Bridging European and Local Climate Action" (BEACON). Given that the partnership is the first collaboration opportunity for the two cities, the initial focus of the meeting was to gain a better understanding of the respective city’s challenges, goals and climate mitigation action.
Mutual Learning for Climate Action: citizen consultation processes and incentives for energy efficiency measures
At the kick-off meeting, representatives from the two cities presented their current climate action measures. For instance, Agios Dimitrios plans to renaturalise a river and a green area which was used for military purposes. Representatives from the City of Bottrop and its InnovationCity project were especially interested to learn about Agios Dimitrios’ citizen consultation processes, sustainability report, and efforts to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their daily work. Similarly, the Greek participants learned about Bottrop’s InnovationCity Project which provides energy consulting services to its citizens through local contact points. Moreover, InnovationCity offers incentives for energy efficiency measures, notably for building refurbishment. The project is currently well on track to achieve its stated objective of reducing greenhouse gas emission by half in a model area in Bottrop by 2020 compared to 2010 levels. After the project was presented, participants identified areas of common interest, which can be addressed within the climate partnership. These include, among others, sustainable mobility planning and energy monitoring in public buildings.
Climate measures and wildfires: Field trips in Agios Dimitrios
As part of a field trip on the second day, participants visited Agios Dimitrios’ community garden project and the municipality’s own summer camp for school children. The latter uses solar energy and heat and features its own wastewater treatment facility. Participants also visited areas affected by the wildfire that occurred during the summer of 2018. This allowed participants to witness firsthand the devastating effects of extreme weather events reinforced by climate change and the need for sustainable climate measures.
BEACON fosters European climate partnerships – dialogue between science, industry and education
Municipal representatives emphasised the need to engage with citizens and collaborate with local stakeholders from science, industry, and education in order for local climate action to be successful. Municipal staff also welcomed the climate partnership as an opportunity to break barriers and foster internal knowledge exchanges. Five more bilateral meetings are foreseen as part of the climate partnership, alongside participation in several BEACON-organised regional workshops and conferences.
The Bridging European and Local Climate Action (BEACON) project aims to promote climate action and facilitate an exchange between national governments, municipalities and schools in Europe. The project further aims to strengthen bi- and multilateral cooperation and promote the realisation of the Paris Agreement as a joint objective.
BEACON is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in the framework of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).