Making the European Green Deal Strong and Real: Harnessing the Power of community-led Initiatives and Local Governments

Making the European Green Deal Strong and Real: Harnessing the Power of community-led Initiatives and Local Governments

A follow-up to the Beyond Growth Conference (European Parliament, Brussels, May 2023) from a grassroots and local government perspective

Date: Tuesday 7 November 2023, 14:30 - 18:00 CET

Hybrid (online  at the EESC in Brussels, Belgium)

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Full program Main Policy Event 2023 Ecolise

Please find the full program here

The event is ECOLISEs main policy event, co-organised by ICLEILocal Governments for Sustainability and the European Economic  Social Committee (EESC).

Local levels and citizens - especially marginalised people in the global south - are most impacted by the planetary crisis. This is the case also in Europe: local governments and citizens are the ones that will need to change most to answer the planetary crisis, but also to live with the impacts that cannot be undone. At the same time, European local governments and community-led initiatives have a huge - largely untapped - potential for impact through radically changed lifestyles and collective sustainability action.

Right now, the European Green Deal - Europes policy answer to the planetary crisis - has an ambitious systemic ambition across all sectors and industries, much needed for communities to thrive, but there are two big blind spots:


  • There is no clear plan on how to improve and make the European Green Deal a reality on the ground - for the most part, policies do not harness the power of collective action, driven by citizens, communities and local governments.
  • There is no political vision of what a good life beyond growth and within planetary boundaries could look like.

The event will present a grassroots and local government perspective on the European Green Deal, with ECOLISE and ICLEI Europe sharing insights into the handprint of community-led initiatives and local governments in addressing the planetary crisis. We will discuss the need for radically different lifestyles and the political frameworks needed to ensure a good life within planetary boundaries for everyone. In deep conversations with policymakers, we will explore the systemic changes that are a prerequisite to harnessing the power of collective action and local governments, enabling local green deals that can lead to new socio-ecological contracts between citizens, local governments and nature.

Together we will ask what it takes from everyone - citizens, communities, local governments and policymakers - to localise a strong and improved European Green Deal right where we live, giving a wide choice of alternative lifestyles and the agency for collective sustainability action to everyone.

ECOLISE will share the results of its policy flagship project "10 Theses on transformative community-led local development policies". You can expect insights into community-led initiatives from permaculture, transition networks and eco-villages as the fertile soil of social change, as real-life examples of what a good life beyond growth can look like, already today. We will also present the "Time for collective action manifesto" with crucial policy asks for thriving communities.

ICLEI will share its work from the Sustainable Just Cities Platform, (ii) launch its paper on a just transition in cities; (iii) present its findings on collaboration between local governments and community-led initiatives; and (iv) present results from an initial round of (fair) local green deal processes in European cities.

About the organisers:

European Networks of community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability

ECOLISE is a coalition of organisations engaged in promoting and supporting local communities across Europe in their efforts to build pathways to a sustainable future. The members of ECOLISE include international networks of community-based initiatives such as the Transition Network (representing over 1200 Transition initiatives), the Global Ecovillage Network (15,000 ecovillages), the Permaculture movement (3 million practitioners globally) and ICLEI, as well as other national and regional networks and specialist bodies engaged in European-level research, training and communications to support community-led action on climate change and sustainability. By bringing these organisations together, ECOLISE seeks to establish a common, Europe-wide agenda and a platform for collective action. It has 38 member organisations in 17 different EU member states and Switzerland. The activities of the members extend to all EU member states, as well as internationally.

ICLEI Europe: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development and is active in 125+ countries. ICLEI Europe supports local governments in implementing the European Green Deal, the overarching EU strategy for climate neutrality, to build more resilient and equitable communities. ICLEIs Just Transition team, in particular, has been working closely with cities and communities on the topic of sustainable and equitable cities.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an EU advisory body comprising representatives of workers' and employers' organisations and other interest groups. It issues opinions on EU issues to the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, thus acting as a bridge between the EU's decision-making institutions and EU citizens.

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