As we continue to advance our 10 theses advocacy campaign, we are thrilled to share with you the harvesting of the Advocacy training co-created with The Good Lobby. The trainers Giulia Neri and Kelsey Beltz brought their expertise and provided context of how EU policy making works, gave insights into the European Green Deal and into the way European level politics interact with local levels, and presented the European Green Deal as the EU’s flagship policy project and as a potential window of opportunity for transformative change. Amelie skillfully harvested the Advocacy training, capturing the essence of the workshops, discussions, and outcomes. The document offers a comprehensive overview of the training, providing the material covered on effective advocacy tools for Community-Led Initiatives (CLIs), you can find the harvest here and a quick report with the main highlights of the event on the Advocacy campaign training here.
Member’s Testimonials: Voices from the Training
“During the training I got so inspired by all the individuals from different movements of community-led initiatives for sustainability from permaculture to social solidarity economy. Together we learned about advocacy with the European Union. The training was a gigantic boost in my conviction that community-led-initiatives for sustainability across Europe play such a relevant role in the transition towards a achieving the Paris Agreement goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. Community-led-initiatives for sustainability show practical ways to reach the SDGs and they can show how to utilize and transform the European Green Deal to initiate systemic change towards a sustainable European society. It was an empowering and inspiring training and I made new friends and collaborations!” Ilonka Marselis – GEN Netherlands / previously DRIFT
“As a PKI Germany representative and as climate action manager for a city, the advocacy training has been very inspiring. I’m planning to activate and involve citizens in my town more to work towards a better carbon neutral future using bottom up transformation. Furthermore, I aim to support that with a stronger focus on permaculture-based solutions and links with local influencers (having learned about the 10 steps of lobbying). The workshop also helped to build more connections and gain a better understanding of how I can contribute to the 10 Theses for the European Green Deal.” Annette Flinterman – Permaculture Institute Germany
“The training was well organized with one of the best facilitators I have ever experienced. We now have a better understanding of the European policy making steps. I was able to feel being part of a European network who see sustainable, citizen-led initiatives as one of the best solutions to the European Green Deal’s success. I continue to discuss with some of the people met today on different topics.” Jean Paul Grange – Transition Paris / Collectif pour une Transition Citoyenne
“The advocacy training was a wonderful way to reconnect with ECOLISE. Being together with representatives from so many other movements made our work feel so much more tangible and worthwhile! The time spent working with the 10 Theses in particular felt like it was well spent: the Theses are a strong, compelling and well-researched set of messages that set community-led climate action within the context of the European Green Deal and feel ambitious and hopeful. I came away feeling much more clear about the political context we’re working in, the opportunities presented by the Green Deal, the way ECOLISE is taking advantage of the current window of opportunity and how GEN Europe can get involved as an ECOLISE member. Thanks to all involved in the training!” – Francesca Whitlock – GEN Europe
Main Learnings: Key Insights from the Advocacy Training
The Advocacy training provided us with invaluable insights and key learnings that are instrumental in our ongoing campaign. For some context, you can learn more about ECOLISE´s flagship policy project 2022-2023 in our presentation of the 10 theses on transformative community-led local development. You can also read and contribute to the 10 theses here.
Some of the main takeaways:
Workshop 1: The role of Community-led initiatives in policy
- Making ECOLISE Relevant for the EU: The workshop emphasized the importance of building capacity within ECOLISE to establish relevance and meaningful engagement with EU policies. This involves understanding the EU policy landscape, recognizing the benefits and shortcomings of EU policy for CLIs (Community-Led Initiatives).
- The Impact of the Green Deal on Local Communities: The European Green Deal (EGD) presents significant opportunities for local communities and development policies. Key areas such as the energy sector, circular economy, Farm to Fork, and biodiversity offer windows of opportunity for community-led initiatives (CLIs) to influence EU legislation.
- Windows of opportunities: CLIs can influence legislation at the EU level, which sets the overall regulatory framework. They can also shape the transposition and implementation of policies at the national and local levels including designing regional plans. CLIs can also influence or participate in the funding allocation processes (Multi-Year Funding and Revision (2021-2027). Additionally, targeted revisions of funding allocation will occur in 2025, offering further chances for influence.
- Good Practices and Case Studies: Workshop participants shared their experiences and success stories in various areas, including energy cooperatives, biodiversity citizen petitions, the EU Farm to Fork strategy, and social innovation (Eg. The Shared Green Deal). These examples highlighted the effectiveness of CLIs in advocating for change, engaging with policy-making processes, and promoting sustainable practices.
- Open Questions and Ongoing Considerations: The workshop raised important questions regarding legal obstacles, specific topics for engagement (e.g., housing, energy), impact assessment of CLIs, knowledge sharing, fair transition, critical engagement with the Green Deal, balancing bottom-up and top-down approaches, and addressing the need for reskilling in the transition towards sustainability.
Workshop 2: How to engage?
- Pick your battles, focusing on specific behaviors, policy actions and overall desired outcomes.
- Break down the broader battles, prioritize, set SMART objectives and consider available capacities and resources to guide advocacy efforts.
- Do your homework: Understand the policy life cycle and identify opportunities for influence.
- Identify key policymakers and influencers at different levels.
- Seek support from key influencers and/or the broad public and build coalitions.
- Leverage the media in petitions and campaigning.
- Conduct stakeholder mapping for effective engagement.
- Manage workload by outsourcing tasks to allies and partners.
- Avoid echo chambers and encourage diverse perspectives.
- Stay informed through Commission publications and Google Alerts.
Community Climate Coaches Workshop
A concrete example of how local levels can contribute to policy change on local levels was given by a presentation of the Community Climate Coaches (CCC) , an Erasmus+ – funded project which has put together a toolkit for concrete climate actions on local levels. The experience was super rich. A lot of learnings, good connections, diverse types of spaces, care and celebration, a very beautiful place, and energy to move forward together.
- The slides can be found here: CCC workshop @ ECOLISE’s advocacy event.
- Access to all the materials can be found here.
Advocating for change: Consultation on the 10 theses
We explored the 10 thesis towards transformative community-led local development policies (link to the live Google document), ECOLISE’s policy flagship project and worked on its next steps in the phase of 2023 – 2024, where the aim is to target the upcoming elections for the European Parliament in spring 2024.
Call to Action: Join our Advocacy Campaigns
Now, more than ever, we need your active participation in our Advocacy campaign. Together, we can make a difference and accelerate the transition to a sustainable and equitable future. Learn more about the ongoing advocacy campaign on the 10 theses and the European Day of Sustainable Communities. Explore opportunities to get involved, and join our growing community of changemakers.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants, trainers, and contributors who made the Advocacy training possible. Your dedication and passion for community-led initiatives inspire us to push boundaries and create lasting change. Let us continue to work together, raising our collective voice, and building a sustainable and just future for all.