CM/Cong(2009)Rec243 prov 12 March 20091
1055 Meeting, 22 April 2009
9 Sustainable development
9.3 “Public local and regional action: for a new energy culture” –
Recommendation 243 (2008) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Item to be prepared by the GR-C
In view of the heavy agenda of the next GR-C meeting, the Chair invites delegations
to submit any comments on this text in writing to the Committee of Minisers’ Secretariat
by Monday 30 March 2009 at 1 p.m.
1. The Committee of Ministers has taken note with interest of Recommendation 243 (2008) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on “Public local and regional action: for a new energy culture” and has brought it to the attention of the governments of member states. It thanks the Congress for its commitment on matters relating to the protection of the environment and in particular the development of an environmentally-friendly energy policy.
2. The Committee of Ministers, like the Congress, considers energy to lie at the heart of the planet’s future. In view of the environmental, economic, social and political challenges associated with the safeguarding of energy supplies, it believes that the development of a new energy culture requires a comprehensive and integrated approach involving a commitment and active participation by all levels of governance in public authorities and civil society players.
3. In this spirit, the Committee of Ministers encourages those member states and observer states which have not already done so to draw up national action plans involving all relevant stakeholders, in order to put in place an energy efficiency strategy complying with existing European and international standards.
4. Further to the suggestion made in paragraph 13 of the recommendation, the Committee of Ministers has forwarded the latter to the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT). The Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT has made a number of comments with which the Committee of Ministers concurs and which it brings to the attention of the Congress (see Appendix to the reply).
Appendix to the reply
Comments of the Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT on Recommendation 243 (2008)
The Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT:
1. Notes that the Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe invite the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT) to take account of the energy challenge in its spatial planning and management policies and to include energy efficiency and climate change issues in its recommendations;
2. Thanks the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers for consulting it on this issue;
3. Recognises that energy is at the heart of the planet’s future and central to contemporary societies’ and future generations’ concerns;
4. Points out that energy policy is a key factor in maintaining overall economic competitiveness and that its main objective is therefore to ensure the security of a country’s energy supplies on the most favourable economic terms while taking account without fail of environmental protection aspects;
5. Notes that global challenges call for resolute action to control and curb climate change and safeguard local and regional energy supplies;
6. Draws attention to Recommendation Rec. (2002) 1 of the Committee of Ministers on the Guiding principles for sustainable spatial development of the European Continent, which advocates developing energy resources while maintaining safety and states that spatial development policy supports the promotion of renewable energy sources as coherent, environment-friendly systems and the completion of energy transport networks at pan-European level;
7. Points out that both the European Union’s Territorial Agenda Towards a more competitive and sustainable Europe of diverse regions and the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities agreed at the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion in Leipzig on 24 and 25 May 2007 propose and recommend joint and concerted efforts for promoting trans-European management regarding the effects of climate change and the challenges of sustainable development;
8. Notes that, as the CEMAT’s Guiding Principles point out, the priority should be on more efficient use of the energy sources and facilities already available. Accordingly, the energy efficiency of conventional power stations must be improved and air pollution reduced. These measures also help to reduce global warming. The security of old nuclear power plants must be improved. There are numerous plants in Europe whose service lives will come to an end in the next few decades. The sites on which these are located will have to be rehabilitated and this will create new tasks for regional planners;
9. Supports the need to implement measures to ensure dynamic and harmonious development reflecting economic, social and spatial cohesion while reducing consumption of natural resources;
10. Notes that the reports drawn up for the 13th and 14th European Conferences of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 16 and 17 September 2003, and Lisbon, Portugal, 25 and 26 October 2006), which compared the Council of Europe member states’ energy policies, showed that most countries were pursuing several different types of activity simultaneously to secure their energy supplies in the long term. For instance, it is now generally accepted that energy needs to be used more rationally, particularly in the transport and heating sectors. This has important regional planning implications, including the reduction of traffic and its impact on the environment through alternative siting policies and the use of multimodal transport, and more energy-efficient building techniques and types of housing. There is an increasingly obvious need to develop renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass power and thus respond to the public’s growing expectations in terms of environmental protection. The future of nuclear power plants, waste storage and treatment and the decommissioning of outdated plant are also major issues;
11. Announces that the 15th CEMAT Session will be held in the Russian Federation in 2010 on the theme: “Future challenges: sustainable development of the European continent in a changing world” and notes that energy supply and security and their regional planning implications are included in the Committee of Senior Officials' programme for 2007 to 2010 under the heading “New geography of European energy supply”;
12. Confirms its commitment to taking account of energy questions in regional planning and management policies and addressing energy efficiency and climate change issues in its resolutions. The development of strategies to reduce energy consumption or promote more rational energy usage must be tied in more directly with regional planning, which must have a significant, positive impact on the realignment of the energy system.
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Supplementary Appendix – information for the GR-C only
Comments on Recommendation 243 (2008) by the other committees consulted
Comments by the European Committee for Local and regional Democracy (CDLR)
Regarding Recommendations 242-250 of the Congress, which had been sent for information and possible comments by 31 October, the CDLR took note that the Bureau had not believed it necessary to comment and did not deem it necessary to prepare any other elements to submit to the Committee of Ministers.
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Comments of the Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape (CDPATEP)
1. At its 1030th meeting, the Committee of Ministers asked the Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape to consider, for possible comment, the Draft Opinion of the Committee of Senior Officials of the CEMAT on Recommendation 243 (2008) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe – “Public local and regional action: for a new energy culture”.
2. The CDPATEP endorses the Committee of Senior Officials’ comments on the energy policies to be promoted in view of the current environmental challenges and the need to reduce global warming. In this connection, it looks forward with interest to the results of the 15th session of the CEMAT to be held in the Russian Federation in 2010 on the theme “Challenges of the future: sustainable spatial development of the European continent in a changing world”.
3. The committee points out that the physical conservation of the built heritage and landscape quality may be directly affected by pollution related to fossil fuels and by various consequences of global warming. Account should be taken here of the work already being done by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) regarding the impact of climate change on cultural heritage. The structure of the CDPATEP’s current membership should foster co-operation in this area by the CDPATEP and the CEMAT.
1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.