As for all the harmonization process, the actual implementation of this step crucially depends on the starting context – i.e. whether the city has, is developing or intends to develop a SUMP.
According to the individual situation, the SIMPLA guidelines interact with the SUMP guidelines in a specific and more definite way. That is to say that, since SUMP guidelines describe the process to develop a (new) SUMP where one does not exist, in case the situation falls into one of the other two general categories (existing SUMP or at some point in its development), the instructions and suggestions contained in the SUMP guidelines may be used to adjust and fine-tune the plan towards harmonization with a SECAP.
Looking at the SUMP guidelines, Step 2.1.1 is connected to Phase 1 ‘Preparing well’ - Step 1 ‘Determining potential for success’ - Activity 1.1 ‘Commit to overall sustainable mobility principles’ – and Phase 2 – ‘Rational and transparent goal setting’ - Step 4 ‘ Develop a vision and engage citizens’ – Activity 4.1 ‘Develop a common vision’. The latter is further developed and implemented under Step 2.3.1 ‘Harmonization of vision’ of these guidelines.
As for all the harmonization process, the actual implementation of this step crucially depends on the starting context – i.e. whether the city has a SECAP, it is developing a new one from scratch or based on a previous SEAP. Specifically, the Covenant of Mayors offers a growing range of ”technical documents” to guide Municipalities in drafting a SEAP, implementing specific parts such and monitoring the plan.
Looking at the SEAP/SECAP guidelines (How to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan Guidebook part I) the whole Chapter 2 is devoted to “Political Commitment”, therefore is connected to Step 2.1.
This chapter explains how to establish political commitment for the harmonization process.
SUMPs and SECAPs are based on formal political commitment from the local authority’s political decision makers. Therefore, all necessary activities for the harmonization will be triggered by the decision makers, typically the Mayor, who should be informed about the potential and benefits of harmonization by informed stakeholders and by senior officers working for the local authority.
Political support to the harmonization process is paramount
To ensure the success of the harmonization process, sufficient empowerment and support need to be provided by the local authority’s key decision makers, by allocating adequate human resources with a clear mandate and sufficient time and budget to prepare the local authority’ harmonized SECAP and SUMP.
To start the harmonization process, a meeting is to be held with the local authority’s key decision makers and senior officers to discuss the goals of the harmonization process and the advantages of a harmonized SECAP and SUMP. It is essential to provide convincing information regarding the practicalities of the harmonization process (see par. 1.2).
As an output of this meeting, formal political commitment regarding the harmonization process should be announced in the form of an overarching vision including and merging the specific visions of SECAP and SUMP. It is an opportunity to improve each plan, for example:
- update the SECAP and/or the SUMP including new actions
- harmonize the SECAP and SUMP with other plans (e.g. land use plan, regional mobility plan, etc.)
- involve stakeholders
The political commitment clearly states the objective of harmonization and the planned deadline. It appoints a "project manager" in charge of the harmonization process.
It also includes a commitment to regular information on the follow-up of the implementation process.
Expected output document: formal political commitment setting the objective to harmonize SEAP/SECAPand sump, with a “harmonized vision on sustainable mobility, energy and climate adaptation” and appointment of a “harmonization coordinator” as project manager.