ECOLISE organises annual policy events to promote networking between policy stakeholders and community-led initiatives. Our main policy events usually happen in autumn, in connection with the European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDSC). We also organise “Meet & Greet” events in order to connect community-led initiatives with policy stakeholders. Here you can find out more about current and past events:
The European Green Deal: What’s in it for community-led initiatives? 10 Theses Towards Transformative Community-Led Local Development Policies
Policy Consultation Process 2022: 10 theses on transformative community-led local development
On 28 November 2022, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), in collaboration with ECOLISE will host ECOLISE's main policy stakeholder event, Community-led initiatives and the European Green Deal: towards transformational local development policies, to hold conversations on about the role of communities and EU policies on the path to transformational systemic change (click here to register).
This event will trigger conversations about 10 theses on what truly transformational local development policies could look like, and how community-led environmental and climate actions can be strengthened through the European Green Deal, with a focus on different initiatives such as the Rural Pact and European Climate Pact as well as existing methods and frameworks such as LEADER/ Community-led local development (CLLD).
This event will present the results of a policy consultation process facilitated by the ECOLISE network together with its core partners, which started with a kick-off session on 28 September and will be the starting point of a wider advocacy campaign in 2023.
The objective of the event is to:
- Present the outcomes of the policy positioning process of community-led initiatives towards the European Green Deal;
- Enable wide-spread community-led response to the climate and ecological crisis through transformational regional and local development policies;
- Empower the role of local communities and policies for transformational systemic change;
- Facilitate conversations to better understand the potential and needs of community-led initiatives as change agents.
Since June 2022, ECOLISE, together with various partners, has embarked on a policy positions process of community-led initiatives towards the European Green Deal. This initiative is built around the central question, "the European Green Deal: What's in it for community-led initiatives?" and invites various stakeholders to take part in the policy consultation process to provide a better understanding of the potential and needs of community-led initiatives as change agents, showcasing pathways towards a regenerative society.
Community-led initiative's reinforcing and inspirational role in our collective response to the climate and ecological crisis are featured in Communities for Future, an integrated Europe-wide programme launched in 2020 together with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), RIPESS and RURENER, and in the presence and endorsement of EU Commissioners, MEPs and ECOLISE members. Communities for Future shows how local communities and networks across Europe showcase can provide concrete steps and solutions towards transformative change including energy communities, community-supported agriculture, locally-led climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As the European Green Deal remains the key policy tool for the transition to a well-being economy within the planet's limits, it is high time to initiate a convergence of communities to policy makers and enable much-needed collective action from the community.
Supporting partners of the event :
AEIDL - European Association for Innovation in Local Development (BE); ARC2020 (FR) ; Circular Economy Alliance ; Communities For Future (BE); Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-E); Cultivate - The Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (IR); The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) (BE); DRIFT for transition (NL); Ecodorp Boekel (NL); ELARD - the European LEADER association (BE); Eco-community Sunny Hill (Slovenia); Liberterra (NL); RIPESS - a global network of continental networks committed to the promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (FR); RURENER - European network of rural communities engaged in the energy transition ; The Good Lobby (BE/ES) ; The Schumacher Institute (UK)
14:30 | Welcome and introduction by ECOLISE and EESC
14:40 | How to activate the potential of social change and community-led local ecological action within the European Green Deal
Moderation: Peter Schmidt, EESC
The political view from the perspective of the European Green Deal
- Daniel Mes, Member of Cabinet of the EVP Frans Timmermans, European Commission
The scientific view on transformative social innovation and the role of community-led initiatives in sustainability action
- Giorgia Silvestri, researcher DRIFT
14:50 | Presentation of ECOLISE's policy positioning process of community-led initiatives towards the European Green Deal: 10 theses towards transformational community-led local development policies
Moderation: Peter Schmidt, EESC
- Nina Klein and Amelie Krug, Policy Team, ECOLISE
- Tom Henfrey, researcher & writer, co-founder ECOLISE
15:00 | Delving deeper: Focus on 3 selected theses of the overall 10 theses, presentation of good practice examples
Moderation: Nina Klein, ECOLISE
- Ecodorp Boekel, project 'Sustainable housing and biodiversity': Ad Vlems, Ecodorp Boekel (NL)
- Public sector support for community-led initiatives, project 'Boost Eco-Citoyen': David Delsart, Transition Town France representative at the CTC (Collectif pour la Transition Citoyenne), ADEME (FR)
- Community Climate Coaches project & Communities 4 Climate Action: Davie Philip, Cultivate - The Sustainable Ireland Cooperative
- The bioregional approach: Isabel Carlisle, Bioregional Learning Center (UK)
15:30 | Discussion round with policy actors on the local implementation of the European Green Deal and the role of community-led initiatives
Moderation: Nina Klein, ECOLISE
- Laurence Graff, DG CLIMA, European Commission
- MEP Benoît Biteau, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament
- Representative from the Czech Council Presidency (tbc)
- Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of Lódz, European Committee of the Regions
- Lidija Pavić-Rogošić, EESC member
16:00 | Interactive sessions in small break-out rooms (ZOOM, EN only)
Discussion of the grouped theses in each break-out room:
- SOCIETY: Citizen-led social innovations as catalysts for mitigating and adapting to the planetary crisis
- POLITICS: Participative democracy and multi-level governance as vehicle towards transformative policies and funds
- ECOLOGY: A good life within the planetary boundaries - Rethinking human-nature relationships
- ECONOMY: Moving towards a just economic system providing well-being for all
17:00 | Recommendations from the break-out rooms on the role of community-led initiatives and EU policies towards transformative systemic change
Moderation: Josep Puxeu Rocamora, EESC
- By ECOLISE partners and EESC members
17:20 | Wrap-up and outlook
- Conversation between ECOLISE Co-president, Mieke Elzenga, and EESC member, Josep Puxeu Rocamora, on the way forward
17:30 | Closing
Language regime: EN/FR/ES
We at ECOLISE think it is time to bring a stronger voice of community-led initiatives into EU policy more strongly. Together with partners, we aim to make a call for truly transformational regional and local development policies, which enable a wide-spread community-led response to the ecological crisis.
ECOLISE has done a lot of advocacy work in the past years - from the 2019 Status Report to the presented in 2021. We want to use this strong basis in order to position ECOLISE towards the European Green Deal - the EU’s main policy to transition towards an economy that remains within the planetary boundaries. We aim for a joint policy positioning with partners, to make our voices even stronger.
Our aim is to trigger conversations about the role of communities and policies/politics when it comes to transformational systemic change. The conversations will help to provide a better understanding of the potential and needs of community-led initiatives as change agents, showcasing pathways towards a regenerative society.
Through these conversations, we will try to answer key questions such as:
- What is the potential impact of community-led initiatives with regards to mitigation and adaptation to the planetary crisis?
- How can we ensure that the policies and funds within the upcoming EU funding period (2023-2027) provide the means to enable communities to tackle the crisis in a timely and socially just manner?
- How can EU policies, such as the European Green Deal and the LEADER/Community-led Local Development initiative, be harnessed to enable transformational local and regional development? What limitations and barriers exist within these frameworks?
We’ve posted an article about why we think engaging with those EU policies is the right thing to do - have a look here.
European Rural Parliament (ERP) in Kielce 12 - 15 September: Read about the ECOLISE workshops discussing the 10 theses on transformational community-led local development
Kick-off Event on 28 September 2022: watch the recording of the kick-off event (presentation slides are available here). You can also join the #ecolise-policy channel on Slack to help develop ECOLISE’s policy circle.
- give input to the 10 theses towards transformational community-led local development policies by the end of October 2022
- signal us your interest in becoming a partner in this process
- Have a look at the 10 theses and read through them
- Comment on the 10 theses by inserting comments into the google document, giving your name and organisation (anonymous comments will not be taken into account)
- AND fill in this short survey (which gives us your contact details, so we can be in touch)
- Take part in the follow-up event on 19 October 4:30 - 6 pm CET (where we will discuss the input given) and register here
- Save the date for our main policy stakeholder event on 28 November 2:30 - 5:30 pm CET and register here
- Optional: Get in touch with the ECOLISE policy team during our open office hours: We’re open for conversation each of the last three Thursdays in October from 5 - 6 pm CET (starting on 13 Oct.) - to be part of this, please indicate this in the survey (see above) and click here to add it in your calendar
ECOLISE has embarked on this policy positioning process of CLIs & the European Green Deal, together with partners, since this June 2022, and is aiming for a strong voice of community-led initiatives when it comes to improving the European Green Deal and implementing it locally, highlighting the role of citizens and communities into collective action.
This session aims at assessing and validating our final 10 theses on transformative community-led local development. Register here
How can we make regional and local development policies which support transformational change – driven by communities – a reality on the ground? As part of a series of conversations, we invite you to become part of the policy positioning process toward transformative regional and local development policies that put communities at the center.
Following the Policy Consultation kick-off event at the end of September, we want to consult with you - the ECOLISE network and interested groups - on the principles that will form the basis of a policy position paper.
The outcomes of this process will be communicated to EU policy stakeholders in an online event on 28 November (2 - 5 pm CEST), and will be the starting point of a wider advocacy campaign in 2023. This event is being coordinated by the ECOLISE network in collaboration with core partners such as the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). It is co-funded by the European Union as part of the SPARK project.
We are in the process of developing 10 theses on transformative community-led local development, centered around the following questions:
- Why do we need transformational change with communities at the heart?
- Why are changed human-nature relationships the basis for transformational change?
- Why is it important to acknowledge extractive economic systems as the root cause of the planetary crisis?
- Why does transformative change need a local – or rather – bioregional approach?
- Why is collective action led by communities important?
- Development policies imply a goal – what’s our vision of bioregional transformational development?
- Living the good life beyond economic growth: Which values and regenerative cultures do community-led initiatives bring to transformational change?
- Why does repairing the feedback loops of our systems entail massive, rapid and scaled social and cultural innovation?
- Why do community-led initiatives need to engage with politics/policies on a EU level, i.e. the European Green Deal?
- Why do community-led initiatives need to be strengthened by increased public support networks?
It’s time to bring a stronger voice of community-led initiatives into EU policy. Through joint policy positioning with partners, we aim to make our voices even stronger and trigger conversations about the role of communities and policies/politics when it comes to transformational systemic change.
We invite you to join a consultation process on a policy paper baseline, starting on Wednesday 28 September 3 – 5 pm CET (online) and lasting until 1 November.
The time is ripe for a new partnership between the public sector and communities - for European Green Deal-proof local and regional development!
This is why ECOLISE has initiated a Community of Practice (CoP) on community-led local development - a space for mutual learning and exchange on how to strengthen fruitful cooperation between local authorities, Local Action Groups (LAGs) and community-led initiatives.
This CoP is driven by ECOLISE (the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability) and ELARD (The European LEADER Association for Rural Development, with a network of over 2,000 European LAGs), in partnership with others.
To make the European Green Deal (EGD) a reality locally, we need the broad involvement of citizens and communities. The EU Commission recognizes this with its EU Climate Pact, an initiative which aims to reach out to citizens and help make the EGD a reality on the ground.
Community-led initiatives such as ecovillages, transition and permaculture networks already offer transformative and constructive solutions for a good life within planetary boundaries. To have a wider impact, they need funding and support structures. They also need to engage in participatory democracy and cooperate with local authorities. This is where a proven EU method for bringing EU Policies to local levels, LEADER, together with its complementary method of community-led local development (CLLD), could be a game-changer. New EU concepts such as Smart Villages which pushes for social innovation as a driver at local and village levels could also be of relevance when it comes to developing new transformational local and regional development policies.
The 3,000+ European Local Action Groups (LAGs) who are part of the EU method LEADER are currently preparing their local strategic plans, and are looking for ways to put the goals of the EU Green Deal centre-stage – with the help of an estimated budget for local-level initiatives of €10 billion for the next seven years. Community-led initiatives can give the LAGs the inspiration needed.
This CoP meets regularly for internal exchanges and organises events related to community-led local development. You can have a look at past and upcoming events below, and feel free to register here for updates.
Bringing the Green Deal to local levels – with the combined power of Local Action Groups (LAGs) and community-led initiatives (30 May 2022)
Resourcing community-led local climate resilience – tapping into CLLD and Smart Villages EU Programmes (December 2021). The recording is available here.
Interested to learn more and following our events? You can register here for news and upcoming events
Interested to be a participant in the CoP on CLLD? Get in touch with us: Nina Klein, Policy Lead ECOLISE,
WATCH THE LIVESTREAM TUESDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER HERE
Transformation through localisation of policy and decision-making is the theme of our inaugural Communities for Future Policy week. The week of events brings together policymakers and representatives of the thousands of community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability in Europe around the fifth annual European Day of Sustainable Communities, which takes place on the 18th of September 2021.
Monday 20th September 2021
Online European webinar hosted by ECOLISE, the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC) and Rurener. 9.30-12.30 CEST.
Speakers include Mrs Clara de la Torre (Deputy Director in DG Clima), MEP Niklas Nienaß, Cillian Lohan (Vice-President of the EESC), Ugo Guarnaci (European Research Executive Agency), Maëlys Garcia (Dynamique Jeunesse), activist Lydia Gratis and representatives of the grassroots community-led movement, youth and racialised communities. The discussion will focus on Democratic political processes, Working with Nature and Transition Design.
Registration for the Monday 20th September event is here.
CfF Opening 20.09 programme & bios
Exec summaries for Monday 20th Sept 2021
Tuesday 28th September 2021
A hybrid event hosted in Brussels and online by ECOLISE, the EESC and Rurener. 9.30-12.30 CEST.
Confirmed speakers include Simona Vrevc (Slovenian presidency), Peter Schmidt (EESC), Matthew Bach (ICLEI Europe) & Marlène Siméon (CEMR). The focus of the event is Regenerative Culture, Bioregional Partnerships & Economic Diversity. The event includes breakout rooms for listening to voices that are rarely heard, discussion and networking.
Register for the Tues 28th September event here. REGISTRATION NOW CLOSED
The full programme for both events plus the regional events is here
The Executive Summary of ECOLISE policy papers presented on 28th September is here
All Communities for Future Policy Week events will be live-streamed on our Facebook page.
During the week a series of Regional policy events will be hosted in different countries by ECOLISE members and partners. They will bring together their policymakers (including MEPs) with representatives of the community-led movement in their country to showcase practices, knowledge and learning from the ground and grassroots level. We will have events in France, Italy, the Netherlands & Portugal.
Organisers of these Regional events are being invited to share and invite discussion on one or more of the policy papers being prepared by the ECOLISE policy circles: Democratic political practice / Living Values / Regenerative Cultures / Territorial, Bioregional Partnerships / Economic Diversity (also see Social Solidarity Economy) / Working with Nature.
The final event on 28th September will present the outcomes of the Regional policy events.
For our vision of mainstreaming local community-led climate action to become reality, we need to change policy at European, national and regional levels.
We need governmental policies, frameworks, and funding that empower and encourage community‐led and citizens’ initiatives on climate change and sustainability.
We need a just and equitable implementation of the Paris agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and of the European Green Deal.
Our Advocacy work includes the organisation of Meet & Greets, where people from the community-led movement have an opportunity to meet policymakers. Here’s a testimony about the Meet & Greet by one MEP.