Following the adoption of the European Union’s Climate and Energy Package in 2008, the European Commission launched the Covenant of Mayors, to endorse and support the efforts deployed by local authorities in the implementation of sustainable energy policies. addressing climate mitigation by means of a reduction in fossil fuels consumption.

In October 2015, following a consultation process on the future of the Covenant of Mayors, the European Commission launched the new integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which goes beyond the objectives set for 2020. The signatories of the new Covenant commit to reduce their CO2 emissions (and possibly other GHG) and to adopt a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Signatories of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy have committed to prepare and implement a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) before 2030.

Adaptation to climate change is required. The task is to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and to take appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage it can cause, it has been shown that well planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later.

As SEAP does, SECAP includes an assessment of the geographical, demographical and energy local context, a Baseline CO2 Emission Inventory (BEI) referring to a specific base year, a clear identification of the emissions reduction target, and the actions planned together with time frames, assigned responsibilities and estimated impacts and costs. Thus the SECAP retains the same outline procedure used for SEAPs but differs in:

Target: a SECAP is aimed at defining mitigation actions that allow cutting down at least 40% of CO2 emissions;

Timeframe: a SECAP is expected to achieve the objective of 40% reduction by the year 2030;

Development time: a SECAP has to be submitted within two years of joining the Covenant.

Guidelines on how to develop a SEAP are available at: guidelines_en-2.pdf

In addition to the differences listed above, the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy requires members to devel­op a risk and vulnerability assessment of the effects of climate change, in order to highlight strengths and weak­nesses of a territory. This is to determine the nature and extent of risk by analysing potential hazards and assess­ing vulnerability that could pose a potential threat or harm to people, property, livelihoods and to the environment on which they depend. This will allow the definition of appro­priate adaptation strategies, which will translate into the SECAP’s actions and contribute to improve the resilience of the territory.

The Urban Adaptation Support Tool (Urban-AST) provides guidelines on how to develop an adaptation plan. The tool is available at: urban-ast

This tool provides relevant information, data, tools and guidance specifically tailored for urban environments in Europe. It includes procedures for the assessment of risks and vulnerabilities to climate change, the identification assessment and selection of adaptation options, their implementation monitoring and evaluation.

The SECAP format basically consists of two parts, “Mitigation” and “Adaptation”, which can be developed following the SEAP guidelines, and the Urban-Adaptation Support Tool (Urban-AST) respectively.

The plans have to be approved and adopted by the Covenant signatories’ city councils and then submitted to the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) for a review process which ends with the acceptance of the plan. After the formal acceptance by the CoMO, the implementation of the plan has to be monitored every two years, following the monitoring guidelines available at the CoMO website (

In order to identify all energy consumers, the Covenant of Mayors’ commitments concern the entire geographical area of the local authority, taking into account the energy consumed in all sectors of activity the local authority can influence.

The Covenant’s key sectors are the following:

  • municipal buildings, equipment and facilities;
  • tertiary (non-municipal) buildings, equipment and facilities;
  • residential buildings;
  • transport.

The whole initiative is implemented by means of both public and private actions, and is mainly aimed at raising awareness among stakeholders on energy issues, through the promotion of successful projects and the launch of new actions.