SAVE THE DATE – Making the European Green Deal strong and real: Harnessing the power of community-led initiatives and local governments

We are excited to extend an invitation to you for a pivotal event: Making the European Green Deal Strong and Real: Harnessing the Power of Community-led Initiatives and Local Governments. This conference serves as a follow-up to the “Beyond Growth Conference” held at the European Parliament in Brussels in May 2023.

Register here for the event.


The “Beyond Growth” conference in Brussels (May 2023), co-organised by 20 Members of the European Parliament and attended by over 7,000 people, was a clear sign of the growing awareness that the planetary crisis calls for a different way of life in Europe. Some call this “sufficiency”, some “enoughness”, some “a good life within planetary boundaries”. At the same time, the official science-policy board that advises the United Nations (the IPCC) suggests that radical lifestyle changes could reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions up to 70% – if, and that is a big IF – systemic change in energy, mobility, food systems etc. makes these radical lifestyle changes possible. 

This discussion about the limits of growth and the need for radical lifestyle changes comes at the same time as the first round of European Green Deal (EGD) policies are ready for implementation in member states: Globally the most ambitious political answer to the planetary crisis, the EGD promises a systemic approach with strong binding laws for climate and the environment, but at the same time puts forward green growth as Europe’s new industrial agenda. The upcoming European elections on 9 June 2024 will leave it up to the vote of citizens: Does Europe want transformative change and a strong European Green Deal, giving citizens the agency to act for sustainability – or business as usual?      

The event will shed light on the European Green Deal and the need for radically changed lifestyles & local action for sustainability from a grassroots and local government perspective: Local-level action for sustainability, through co-creative partnership between governments and community-led initiatives, has a crucial role in reaching societal change. We will not wake up to a world in 2050 when governments and industry have solved the planetary crisis for citizens. Everyone needs the right to live a good life within planetary boundaries, and the agency for collective sustainability action – now. 

EU policies such as the European Green Deal need to address the crucial role of local governments such as those represented in ICLEI, and community-led initiatives such as those represented within the ECOLISE network, with practitioners from permaculture, transition network and eco-villages already now showing what a good life beyond growth – and within planetary boundaries – can look like. 

Making the European Green Deal a reality on the ground, locally and with community-led initiatives at the heart, must be a political priority for European policymakers, especially in the upcoming years which are crucial for sustainability action.

ECOLISE will share the outcomes of its work on its policy flagship project which positions communities towards the European Green Deal: 

“10 theses on transformative community-led local development policies” 

A deepening phase from June – September 2023 with over 30 process partners has triggered deep conversations on a shared vision, key political demands and critical narratives. The outcome of this process, the #10theses Manifesto, will be published at the event.

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. (link to relevant position and opinion papers)


Short version of the Agenda (below) – please see the extended version including speakers and topics under this link.  

14:30 – 15:00 CET

Introduction and Welcome 

15:00 – 16:00 CET

TOPIC: ECOLISE’s vision of transformative local development policies with communities at the heart – and the role of the European Green Deal  

Presentation of ECOLISE’s #10theses project & the Manifesto on: “How can EU policies catalyse community-led sustainability action and support laboratories for transformative social change?”: 

BREAK 5 – 10 MIN

16:10 – 17:10 CET

TOPIC: How can we ensure that EU policy frameworks empower communities and local levels for a just and green transition?  

17:10 – 17:40 CET

TOPIC: Outlook 2024 and beyond:  How can we ensure the support of citizens and local governments for a strong and localised European Green Deal?

17:40 – 18:00

Closing / Hosts


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. ICLEI’s Just Transition team, in particular, has been working closely with cities and communities on the topic of sustainable and equitable cities.

European Economic and Social Committee: 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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