EU Initiative “Covenant of Mayors-East” implementation in Central Asia
Starting from 2011 CAREC participates in the EU project "Covenant of Mayors East», which was covering all five Central Asian countries and aimed to raise awareness and build capacities in energy efficiency and sustainable energy for local authorities, who are signatories to the Covenant of City Majors.
Currently, about 200 cities of the countries of the European Neighbourhood and Central Asia are part of the community the “Covenant of Mayors”, representing, together with the European countries almost 6,800 signatories. Due to close cooperation between the "Covenant of Mayors-East" project and European agencies today we have 15 cities - COMO signatories of Central Asia: Astana, Aksu, Lisakovsk, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk, Satpayev, Taraz, Temirtau, Zhezkazgan (KAZ), Osh, Talas, Shopokov, Kerben and Orlovka (KYR) and Somonyjon (TAJ) jointed the “Covenant of Mayors”, and 4 of them have already developed Action Plans for Sustainable Energy Development (SEAP).
The COMOEast project was supported by two Country National coordinators (CNCs) – in KAZ and KYR and six Country National supporters (CNSs) in KAZ (2), KYR, TAJ, TUR and UZB.
CAREC in cooperation with the COMOEast project team organised five national awareness-raising workshops in Astana (2012), Bishkek (2012), Dushanbe (2013), Tashkent (2013) and Ashgabat (2014), Regional Forum in Astana (2013) in cooperation with EU Delegation in Astana, Regional workshop for Central Asia in Almaty (2014) and delivered a Regional Seminar and Technical Training for Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) for Central Asian municipalities (2014).
In addition, the project team in cooperation with CAREC initiated, organized and conducted three rounds of the local face-to-face consultations for signatories on SEAP development in 2014-2015. In total, more than 200 Central Asian experts and energy managers from ministries and local administrations have been trained. At present, 15 cities of Central Asia have become signatories and four Sustainable Energy Action Plans have been developed (two of the SEAPs – of Somonyjon, TAJ and Taraz, Kazakhstan were approved by JRC of EC).
SEAPs of Lisakovsk, KAZ, Osh & Talas, KYR were finalized in September 2015 and delivered to the COMOEast HelpDesk. SEAP of Astana, KAZ, is under finalisation.
Based on national and regional specifics and priorities, the main attention by the project is paid to exchange by information and best practices between EU and Central Asia, transfer of knowledge and experience by advanced signatories in EU, who have already developed their SEAPs and are now successfully implementing them, and development of capacity for energy managers in the field of energy efficiency, sustainable energy and green development.
For example, for the period of the project implementation Kazakhstan became a platform for bringing and approbation of new practices on the base of local needs: so called “local face to face” consultations” have been conducted by the EU CoMoEast project in July 2014: “...week-long visits of the energy managers from advanced cities - signatories of the Covenant to new ones would significantly speed up the process of COM implementation and enable new signatories to avoid typical mistakes”.
Based on the first success stories, the Technical Training was held on October 8-9, 2014 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where cities-signatories of the Covenant of Mayors of Kazakhstan and Central Asia presented their first SEAPs, discussed the process of their development, as well as specifics and complexities encountered at the city level.
The final event of the COMOEast in Central Asia - the High-Level Forum for Central Asian signatories "Central Asian local and national authorities on the 2020 pathway to a sustainable energy future" was conducted in Almaty on 26 of June 2015. The Forum was attended by about 75 people: mayors and representatives of local authorities, energy managers, National Coordinators and Supporters of the Covenant of Mayors from the CA ministries of Energy, Environment and Industry, as well as partners, donors, representatives of international organizations and projects, financial institutions (EBRD, WB, etc.), private sector and non-governmental organizations of the five countries of Central Asia and more than 20 members of the media.
The Forum has become an important event and gave the impetus for the consideration of issues to achieve the Central Asian countries to fulfil their obligations under the Covenant of Mayors, the transfer of European experience, presentation of best practices in the field of energy efficiency and sustainable energy development methodology and implementation of the SEAP in the cities-signatories of the region, as well as the development of multilateral cooperation in the region in this area.
There is a hope that partners, donors and financial institutions will continue support of the most successful and advanced signatories in future.