Polish-German cooperation on low-emission economy in cities

Up until today, more than 800 municipalities in Poland have applied for funding for the development of low-emissions plans. This is an encouraging signal, as municipalities throughout the European Union make a central contribution to climate mitigation. However, there is need for further action: Due to the high proportion of coal-powered heating systems and the growing transport sector, air pollution remains a major challenge in Poland, especially in urban areas.

In order to spur transformation to a low-emission economy, this project aimed to strengthen the exchange of experiences and the cooperation between German and Polish municipalities and further important local actors. The goal was on the one hand to establish synergies between climate action and air pollution control, and on the other hand, to promote the ecological and economic benefits that an integrated low emission strategy may bring on the local level. Various dialogue events enabled mutual learning.

A project website served as a platform for knowledge transfer and the presentation of a total of 17 participating municipalities’ projects. Five topics were at the centre of the project: renewable energies, energy efficiency, mobility, sustainable urban planning and awareness raising about the low-emission economy. In annual workshops, the participating municipalities from Germany and Poland dove deeper in those areas, reflected together on good practices and share lessons learned. Further, adelphi supported four German-Polish city partnerships for municipal climate action. In bilateral meetings, partner cities deepened their cooperation and started developing joint low-emission projects. The project furthermore provided an individually tailored coaching for the 13 participating Polish municipalities engaged in climate action. There, they got the chance to present their upcoming plans and activities, and hereby profit both from selected external experts’ input and from mutual exchange. The coaching was designed to shed light on important aspects of the development and implementation process of low-emission strategies. In addition, adelphi brought together representatives of politics, businesses, think tanks, academia and civil society for two roundtables, in which the transition to a low-emission economy was discussed in a larger social context. The combination of horizontal and vertical dialogue within the project has created a cross-border platform for the exchange and networking between low-emission actors of both countries.

In a field report clustering the project outcomes, concrete recommendations for the development of municipal climate partnerships are derived, which are enriched with compact checklists for conception and implementation. The final presentation of individual experiences from four municipal climate partnerships provides an insight into the practice of inter-communal cooperation at European level - and encourages municipalities to take a look beyond their own nose.

adelphi has conducted this project in cooperation with the Polish network of cities "Energy Cités" (PNEC), WiseEuropa and the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD). The project was supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) with financial assistance of the Advisory Assistance Programme (BHP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and other states neighbouring the European Union. It was supervised by the German Federal Environment Ministry and by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

Publications of this project