The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European initiative involving cities
in climate mitigation via a more sustainable use of energy.
Launched by the European Commission (DG Energy) in 2008, it is a voluntary commitment by cities to go beyond the EU’s energy and climate objectives and reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 via enhanced energy efficiency and renewable energy use in their territories.
As part of the initiative, local authorities agree to compile within a year a baseline emissions inventory (BEI) and to formulate a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) – a comprehensive set of sustainable energy actions in the fields of transport, housing, public lighting and urban development in general.
Different forms of financial assistance have also been set up to support the Covenant signatories. The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility was launched in December 2009 by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. ELENA offers EU grants for technical assistance to prepare bankable investment projects.
EUROCITIES is part of the Covenant of Mayors Office, the central secretariat responsible for the daily administration of the initiative, together with Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Fedarene and CEMR.