From March 8th to 10th 2022, CEESEU held its second bootcamp in Tartu, Estonia. The three-day training was attended by 42 project partners and municipal representatives from Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Austria.

Since some municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe struggle to prepare and implement Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAP), this bootcamp concentrated on a variety of important topics, namely SECAP implementation, data collection, technological solutions for SECAP implementation, available SECAP financing in the region, and tips for writing successful proposals. The three-day programme aimed at transmitting the necessary knowledge to successfully develop and implement SECAPs in municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The bootcamp opened with an icebreaker session, a precursor to ConPlusUltra providing a presentation on SECAP implementation outlining the content of a SECAP, the elaboration process including stakeholder involvement, and the subsequent implementation. ConPlusUltra then explained how targets can be set and what guiding principles should be applied during the monitoring process. Finally, the Urban Adaptation Support Tool was presented, as well as its accompanying Excel template.

After that, a group exercise was held for which the participants were split into four groups and asked to discuss one of two questions: “What challenges have you faced in the development of SECAPs?” and “What challenges do you think you will face in the implementation of SECAPs?” The group exercise revealed that the countries in the region face numerous barriers related to both the development and implementation of SECAPs. These include a lack of data, difficulty understanding citizens’ needs, and insufficient political commitment.

In the afternoon of Day 1, climate change mitigation and adaptation actions at a local level were presented by Climate Alliance. The presentation focused on the Covenant of Mayors Good Practices database, which hosts all the actions of the Covenant Signatories. After that, Climate Alliance held another session on reporting methods, explaining how to enter information in the various sections of MyCovenant.

On the second day, the bootcamp was opened with a presentation on Tartu’s energy transition by a municipal energy representative, who came to speak to the participants and explain the various actions the city is taking to meet its climate targets. Following this, the participants took part in a guided tour around Tartu, finding out about the SmartEnCity project, which allowed for the refurbishment of old city housing among other measures.

In the afternoon, Climate Alliance led a session on energy performance and environmental data collection, addressing related problems and previewing the new pillar on energy poverty, with a focus on the strategic role of the CoM Territorial Coordinators.

The last session of the day, presented by MENEA, outlined technological solutions, which should make it possible to decrease energy consumption and reduce GHG emissions. While soft measures such as awareness raising are important, changes in infrastructure can have a big impact on energy consumption and thus such possible measures were outlined.

On the third day, the morning began with ENVIROS presenting a portfolio of financing options for SECAPs across the region, based on research previously conducted in the project on the different funding sources in the partner countries. Since finance is often a major barrier for SECAP implementation, this session was especially appreciated by the municipal representatives.

This was followed by a presentation by ConPlusUltra outlining several innovative financing options for SECAPs. These include traditional bank loans, alternative financing schemes such as Crowd Investing, Crowdfunding and Energy Performance Contracting. These instruments, while not widely used in Central and Eastern Europe, can be employed to mobilise the necessary finance to implement municipal-level SECAP measures.

Finally, Climate Alliance held a session on sustainable energy investment in European local authorities, highlighting how to receive technical assistance and support in the SECAP implementation process through ERDF, EPAH, NetZeroCities, and ELENA.

The last session of the day was dedicated to proposal writing tips. Led by the University of Tartu, a LIFE call for proposals was dissected and parsed, with ensuing discussions reflecting on the proposal development process. Practical aspects such as forming project consortia, laying out a ‘narrative,’ and assessing impact were also discussed.

The presentations will be made available on the CEESEN website, so please keep following the page if you are interested in downloading either these or the recordings of the bootcamp.