29 January marked the launch of the EU Energy Poverty Observatory. The Observatory is an online platform that facilitates sharing knowledge and disseminating information on energy poverty in the EU. It is an instrument that offers guidance for policy makers by providing open-access resources and scientific data from across Europe. The platform also provides training resources and technical assistance to the interested parties.
EUROCITIES participated at the launch event alongside Commission's Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel, Arias Cañete, Director-General for Energy Dominique Ristori and many stakeholders in the field of energy and social policy.
Commissioner Cañete, called for the involvement of cities, recognizing their important role for successful actions to address energy poverty. He stated that “Cities have a long-running partnership with the European Commission on EU energy and climate objectives. This engagement has been happening under the umbrella of the European Covenant of Mayors, where cities and towns made voluntary commitments to reduce emissions, to save energy and to promote the use of renewables”. He also announced that the EU Covenant of Mayors will work with the EU Energy Poverty Observatory on a joint pilot project on buildings and insulation.
EUROCITIES was represented by Claire Baffert, project coordinator on environment, who took part in a panel debate about stakeholders’ views and expectations from the EU Energy Poverty Observatory. The main messages of EUROCITIES were:
- The right to access energy is included in principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights to which EUROCITIES has committed to deliver. Cities are already leading the way in ensuring that all residents, including the most vulnerable ones, have access to essential services, such as water, sanitation and energy.
- There is a need to couple the debate on energy poverty with the EU social agenda (European Pillar of Social Rights) and the Urban Agenda.
- The next EU budget framework should support the implementation of the Pillar and provide resources for cities to tackle energy poverty.
- The Covenant of Mayors covers universal access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy services for all, which means that ‘Energy poverty’ is included in the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action plans.
- We must identify a limited number of indicators for energy poverty, that would be easy to monitor, and which should facilitate the decision-making process in cities.
- More cooperation between cities and national (or regional) governments and energy providers is needed to develop both strategies and funding to fightenergy poverty.
Find more information on the EU Energy Poverty Observatory here: http://bit.ly/2FqeYZm