Civil society and municipalities: building sustainability through collaboration
Committee of the Regions (Brussels), 20th September 2018
The conference was organized by ECOLISE and the EESC (European Economic and Social Committee), together with Transition Network and the European Committee of the Regions. Its aim was to discover and to share new ways to support and achieve common objectives through a bottom-up approach, in order to create an equitable, sustainable and low-carbon society.
During the session interesting aspects to develop sustainability projects came up, such as the importance of having a good community willingness to undertake a sustainable path. First of all people should be educated in order to make them understand why it is important for them to develop in a sustainable way. With regard to this idea, some of the attendees asserted it would be much easier to successfully develop a project when the community has got the leadership or when the project is shared between politicians and people.
On the other side, there was who said more pragmatically that who starts a process towards sustainability does not matter and that in social issues context is always important to develop a strategy. It is also worthy to underline that most of the time there is not a defined problem, but a huge amount of different problems which can be fixed in singular and suitable ways. It could be easier to start from easy issues that can be solved through small actions. This would allow people to understand that also small initiatives could improve their environment.
Another interesting point of the conference was that sustainability issues often seem to be raised only at international and national level; they should be brought also to the daily life, the human level, by making people know their actions are necessary and worthy. This would help local government to work for sustainability.
The meeting included also a discussion about what EU can deliver to support Communities and Municipalities. Visnar Malinovská (DG Clima, European Commission) and Rudolf Niessler (DG Smart & Sustainable Growth & Southern Europe, European Commission) highlighted the importance of data, new media and technology to work together in Europe starting from the human level.