“We won’t achieve a Climate Neutral EU without involving our citizens. We need all communities on board for a successful green and digital transition. We need an eco, not an ego-based approach!” said Dr Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca at the 5th Living-in.eu plenary meeting.
The 5th plenary meeting of Living-in.eu signatories took place as part of the DigitAll Public Conference on eGovernment organised by the European Commission, DG DIGIT and was attended by over 100 participants. It was the last in a series of three sessions on smart cities and communities held at the conference. The session focused on “How Local Digital Twins can contribute to the European Green Deal / Transition” and brought together signatories from the Living-in.eu and the Covenant of Mayors. It also saw the participation of organisations engaged in the Living-in.eu initiative such as ENoLL, Eurocities, OASC, the Committee of the Regions, ESPON and several services of the European Commission.
The chair, Eddy Hartog, HoU for Technologies for Smart Communities (DG CNECT), welcomed participants and introduced the Living-in.eu movement and the Covenant of Mayors
Mathew Baldwin, Mission Manager of the Horizon Mission on 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 highlighted in his keynote speech how smart cities and communities are forging ahead with the ‘twin digital and green’ transition in the EU, often at a faster pace than their Member State. Cities have a critical role to play because they are closest to the citizen in terms of governance, they are responsive and agile and are perfect ecosystems for innovation, and they represent a significant scaling potential in the roll-out of solutions developed in other cities. He shared his view that the green and digital transitions can only be a success with strong political will, which is why both the Covenant of Mayors and at the Living-in.eu initiatives are so important.
He set out how the Commission wishes to support cities in reaching the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2030 though the Horizon Mission on ‘100 Climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030’. There are many examples of where digital technologies are assisting cities in planning and implementing their path to carbon neutrality, with one of these being the emerging area of Digital Twins of cities. Cities interested in joining the Mission can expect to see the call for expressions of interest published in September.
Before breaking into groups to discuss how Local Digital Twins can contribute to the Green Deal, participants were asked about their experience to date on Slido. It was interesting to see how many cities are already engaged in planning their own Local Digital Twins.
Breakout sessions were led by cities already working on Digital Twins and practitioners from Horizon-funded projects in this area. Discussions looked at how to define a Local Digital Twin and how they can be used to reduce emissions and drive efficiencies in service delivery in areas ranging from mobility, logistics, air pollution monitoring to energy efficiency of buildings. For a summary of the sessions, please see the document attached.
The third part of the event was a panel discussion with two cities, Barcelona and Cluj-Napoca, on the concrete actions they are taking in using digital technologies to pursue climate neutrality, moderated by Andrea Halmos (DG CNECT).
Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Member of the Committee of the Regions and former Prime Minister of Romania, and Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona for the 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition and International Relations, shared inspirational insights on how they are engaging their cities’ citizens in the twin digital and green transition. The overwhelming theme was collective action, with digital solutions playing an important role in engaging and co-creating with citizens.
Barcelona is working on developing a Digital Twin and dreams of linking its twin with city twins in neighbouring France, and eventually linking an entire network of Local Digital Twins in Europe. These twins can generate data for use in planning, monitoring, and tracking climate neutrality, an issue that of course does not respect city or national boundaries.
The Mayor of Cluj-Napoca highlighted how initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors and Living-in.EU are important for European cities to share ideas and maximise impact. Both panellists shared their plans for the recovery, to intertwine even more their green and digital transition and emerge stronger from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A recording of the session will soon be made available and will be posted here.
The next meeting with Living-in.eu signatories will take place before the summer.
If you are an official representative of government and public administration at local, regional, national and European level in the European Union and want to join the Living-in.eu movement:
- Discover the movement “Join, Boost, Sustain: the European way of digital transformation in cities and communities
- Download the declaration in your own language
- Sign the declaration (eSign or pdf/scan) and upload it, record your signature (EU Survey form to fill in)
- You will be part of the group and invited to the meetings, receive information, share good practices and experiences, participate in the subgroups’ work.
If you are a representative of a non-profit organisation, an association, a research institute, a public administration outside the EU or a company, please show your support and sign the “Join Boost Sustain Declaration”. You will be invited to meetings and receive information about the movement.