Protecting the climate is a job for all parts of government, down to the municipal level. But some places lack adequate capacities to implement their ideas. The European City Facility (EUCF), developed under the scope of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, will support municipalities and local authorities in developing relevant investment concepts. The Facility, armed with grants of up to € 60,000 and technical support via capacity-building activities, will empower municipalities and local authorities to transform their ambitious energy and climate plans into real investments. The streamlined process to access funding has been designed to encourage small and medium sized municipalities to apply. Smaller cities will also be encouraged to team up with peers in bundling projects and blending funds.
A need to convert climate and energy plans into sound investment packages
The launch event made clear that, from a local perspective, much has changed over the last three years. A new boldness is creating momentum for climate action at the local level, but municipalities often lack the technical and legal capacities needed to act. Municipal representatives from San Giuseppe Vesuviano (Italy), Søndeborg (Denmark) and Leuven (Belgium) explained how cities are under pressure to make use of innovative financing schemes to accelerate the implementation of sustainable energy projects.
“More and more cities are declaring climate emergencies, they want to become climate neutral and have grown much, much bolder with respect to where they want to land in the next years… this is a facility designed by cities for cities and it should allow the cities to think on how to use their money. Oftentimes, it is not about a lack of money, but rather about the question on how to direct the investments into the right direction.” – Claire Roumet, Executive director of Energy Cities.
Momentum for climate action at local level
“There is a new momentum at the EU level with the EU Green Deal,” explained Vincent Berrutto, Head of the Horizon 2020 Energy Unit at EASME, in his closing address. “Now we need to transform these policies into concrete actions.” To this end, the EUCF builds on the current momentum. It is a necessity to support cities in their investment projects. Now it is up to project partners Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Fedarene, adelphi and Enviros to coordinate the large number of applications expected.
The first call for applications will be launched in May 2020, and the first operational webinar on how to apply will be held on 7 April 2020. Registration will soon be open. Potential beneficiaries are encouraged to keep an eye on the EUCF Website and follow @eucityfacility on Twitter for more information.