Energy Cities proposition 21 - Create interface capacities between public authorities and the civil society

Inventing new local governance


Energy Cities l’association européenne des autorités locales en transition énergétique

Energy Cities is a network of more than 1,000 cities in 30 different countries. Convinced that energy transition is more than a question of renewable energy or advanced technologies, Energy Cities proposes to use resources in a reasoned way, to strengthen local participation and to improve the quality of life in a democratic Europe. In 2014, the network presents 30 proposals for the Energy Transition of Territories.

They are a source of inspiration to think and act differently. To finally turn the page on unsustainable practices that lead us into energy, climate and perhaps economic and social dead ends.

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Energy Cities proposition 21 - Create interface capacities between public authorities and the civil society

The problem at hand

Public, private and associative actors and, of course, citizens, play a vital role in the energy transition of their territories. Inventing a future that does not yet exist requires some sort of support. Local authorities have to act as catalysts, or conductors, in order to accelerate the transition. All territorial musicians must gradually learn to play their collectively composed score.

Local authorities’ administrations are not organised to co-ordinate territorial dynamics and local actor networks, to encourage the co-construction of visions of the future, to support stakeholders or to provide them with advice and information. They lack expertise and practice when it comes to working with the civil society instead of just providing top-down information.


Local authorities have to develop interface capacities with the civil society.

This requires specific engineering, like technical and financial engineering. They also have to develop an interface tool with the society, for example a local energy and climate agency. Its mission will be to assist the local authority and other players in their energy transition, to help the musicians take part in composing and playing the territory’s score.

Conditions for success

  • Being convinced of the need for new governance which makes the active participation of stakeholders essential.

  • Considering expenditure generated by the intermediation with the civil society as a capital expenditure that will benefit the success of projects, the local economy and social cohesion.

  • In the case of a local agency, making this instrument an initiative to be shared with stakeholders in order to serve the territory.

  • Getting professionals to co-ordinate meetings with the population on an ad hoc basis.


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