Accelerating the energy transition and climate actions on local level was the subject of a multi-faceted  discussion during the national workshop on 27 and 28 April 2021 that gathered over 50 participants – representatives of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, the Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFEP&WM), Voivodeship Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management (WFOŚiGW), NGOs and local governments (including Bielsko-Biała, Cieszyn, Gdynia, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Piaseczno, Sztum and Zamość).

The online workshop organised as part of the BEACON project (Bridging European and Local Climate Action) enabled the continuation of the multi-level dialogue on supporting local authorities in the effective implementation and intensification of climate actions.

On the first day of the workshop, experience gained in the previous financial framework as well as still existing limitations and challenges regarding climate actions were discussed. The presentation of the conclusions from the BEACON project implementation helped to define three main areas of interest of local authorities: national policy framework, budget for climate actions and support structures enabling an access to funding opportunities as well as efficient project planning and implementation. These three issues were the focus of the exchange of participants’ experiences and ideas on both days of the workshop.

A panel discussion regarding the Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 (EPP2040) and the role of local authorities in its implementation was the focal point of the workshop programme on the first day, in which Leszek Drogosz (Deputy Director of the Infrastructure Department in the City of Warsaw, Chairman of Management Board of Association of Municipalities Polish Network “Energie Cités”), Leszek Tabor (Mayor of Sztum), Przemysław Major (Mayor of Cieszyn) and Zuzanna Sasiak (“More Than Energy” movement coordinator, Polish Green Network) took part. The participants discussed the most important energy and climate challenges ahead of them with regard to the implementation of the EPP2040 and the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) objectives, as well as support measures they need to tackle these challenges effectively. One of the national level representatives having an opportunity to listen to the panel discussion was Anna Madyniak from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, who presented the main features of the EPP2040, the process leading to creating this strategy and its impact on the new EU funds programming and expenditure period. After a short break, the participants were divided into three working groups, in which a discussion was focused on the following issues:

Energy efficiency & energy poverty, RES and energy communities, Clean air – emissions reduction in buildings and transport. During the discussions in each group, not only good practices from the given area were presented, but also attempts were made to assess what problems could be solved by higher-level government, as well as what strengths and weaknesses municipalities have in these domains. After the group discussions came to an end, all the participants could hear the conclusions from all the three groups.

 The second day of the workshop concerned cooperation regarding stronger climate actions in the new financial framework. Rafał Sułkowski from the Małopolska School of Public Administration of the Cracow University of Economics, an expert in funding, presented priorities of the new programming period, as well as instruments and mechanisms that can help finance climate actions such as: the EU Recovery Fund, the National Recovery Plan, Partnership Agreements, the LIFE programme, the Interreg Central Europe Programme, and the directions of pro-climate actions that will be supported in the future financial framework. His presentation was the summary of all the information he included in the analysis of available funding sources and forms regarding climate actions in municipalities, developed as part of the BEACON project, which you can find here (in Polish). Marta Babicz, Director of the External Funds Department in NFEP&WM, presented available directions of funding of actions conducted by local authorities within the financial framework for the years 2021-2027, as well as showed currently tested support programmes for local authorities, including the ESCO model thermal retrofitting pilot programme.

The audience had also the opportunity to hear the commentary made by Michalina Butyńska-Naróg from the Ministry of Development Funds  and Regional Policy on planned financing mechanisms and the role of local authorities as active partners supporting the implementation of climate policy and achieving national reduction goals. After the presentations by the invited guests, it was the time for the discussions in the working groups. The workshop participants had a possibility to choose one of three thematic groups again, but this time focusing on the evaluation of the presented programmes and support areas, the identification of obstacles in using financial instruments and making recommendations regarding new funding measures that could help local authorities implement effectively local climate actions on a bigger scale.

After the break, conclusions from the working groups were collected – the problems and the recommendations regarding the necessary legal framework and support programmes were identified. In the last thematic workshop block conducted by Joanna Wis-Bielewicz, an expert in climate action funding, the participants were debating on how to improve the use of these funds on the local level. The results of the survey run among the participants were a starting point for the discussion. The survey questions concerned sources of knowledge the participants made use of while developing projects, what kind of support would be helpful for them while preparing and implementing projects and what would effectively encourage citizens to use available financing instruments for projects and actions in municipalities. Marcin Jaczewski from the Department for Low-emission Economy of the Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology, and Agnieszka Zagrodzka, an expert from Energy Consulting Project Department at NFEP&WM, were asked to comment on the results of the survey, as well as to identify methods for enhancing municipal capacity in terms of developing and implementing projects in the priority areas of the EPP2040.

We would like to thank all the presenters and participants – your active participation and shown interest proves that the future of our climate and environment is dear to us all. We all have the same goal – mitigating effects of climate change and ultimately, achieving climate neutrality, which is why it is so important for local authorities to share their remarks with national level representatives, challenges they have to face, but also recommendations and conclusions from their project experiences. We hope that an opportunity to participate in such a dialogue as part of the BEACON project will result in the multi-level cooperation bringing benefits for economy, climate and the quality of life of all inhabitants of cities and municipalities.

Presentations in Polish

Day 1

Day 2