The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020.
After the adoption, in 2008, of the EU Climate and Energy Package, the European Commission launched the Covenant of Mayors to endorse and support the efforts deployed by local authorities in the implementation of sustainable energy policies.
The Covenant unites vast number of Signatories, which represent cities, with different size from small villages to major metropolitan areas, that have signed the Covenant of Mayors on a voluntary manner and are committed to implement sustainable energy policies to meet and exceed the EU objective through increased energy efficiency and development of renewable energy sources.
The Covenant signatories prepare a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI), that is a quantification of the amount of CO2 emitted due to energy consumption in the territory of a Covenant signatory within a given period of time, and within the year following their signature, submit Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) outlining the key actions they plan to undertake.
In addition to energy savings, the signatories also assume the creation of skilled and stable jobs, healthier environment and quality of life, enhanced economic competitiveness and greater energy independence.
While an increasing number of municipalities are showing the political will to sign up to the Covenant, they do not always have the financial and technical resources to live up to their commitments. For this reason, a special status within the Covenant has been granted to public administrations, so-called Covenant Coordinators, and networks of local authorities, known as Covenant Supporters, to assist signatories in fulfilling their ambitious goals.
Covenant Coordinators, who provide strategic guidance, financial and technical support to signatories, fall into Territorial Coordinators, which are sub-national decentralized authorities - including provinces, regions and public groupings of municipalities - and National Coordinators, which are national public bodies - including national energy agencies and ministry of energy.
Covenant Supporters commit to maximize the impact of the initiative through promotional activities, liaison with their members and experience-sharing platforms.
A Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) is the key document in which the Covenant signatory outlines how it intends to reach its CO2 reduction target by 2020. It defines the activities and measures set up to achieve the targets, together with time frames and assigned responsibilities. Covenant signatories are free to choose the format of their SEAP, as long as it is in line with the general principles set out in the Covenant SEAP guidelines.
The Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) Catalogue of the Covenant of Mayors gathers all SEAPs submitted by the signatories and/or accepted by the European Commission.