(29 September 2017) – The first “European Day of Sustainable Communities” was launched in Brussels, through a seminar at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) which brought together grassroots initiatives on climate action and sustainability and EU policy makers.
The launch seminar of the 1st European Day of Sustainable Communities brought together around 130 people, including representatives of community-led initiatives and several EU institutions (EESC, European Commission and Parliament).
“It’s amazing to see how this global complex challenge can motivate so many people ready to do something in their local communities”, said Robert Hall, the president of ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, which initiated this European Day.
The panel and ensuing discussions focused on the main challenges and obstacles faced by community-led initiatives, on climate change and sustainability, starting with the lack of funding, capacity building and burnout.
Former Director-General for the Environment at the European Commission, Karl Falkenberg, who acted as ‘keynote-listener’ for the seminar, summarized what came out of the debate: “Sustainability should be the brand that unifies Europe. (…) But you have to recognize that all these good stories remain marginal. One of the main challenges is to disseminate them among the general public and to upscale them to elected politicians, thereby risking to be confronted to political parties. The majority of the electorate is resistant to change, especially to the new behaviour transition requires. In a democracy, political parties and authorities first respond to what the majority demands.”