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28 September 2015

Interview with Bernard Gindroz – Representing Commitment ‘5604 – European Energy Award’

Could you describe your commitment in a few words?

The European Energy Award® (EEA) supports municipalities willing to contribute to sustainable energy policy and urban development through the rational use of energy and increased use of renewable energies.

The EEA has existed for about 30 years and now brings together about 1,500 EU participating municipalities. It is a quality management and certification system for any type of city, municipality and community committed to sustainable municipal energy, climate and transport policies.

This process can be carried out as an independent programme, but it is recommended that municipalities and regions make it part of a broader energy and climate protection programme. It can thus be used as a tool for implementing the Covenant of Mayors and it allows the integration of Smart City projects.

The Forum European Energy Award is also actively working with CEN/CENELEC/ETSI Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities Coordination Group. It offers its long experience and feedback from more than 1,000 communities in many EU countries to design EU efficient and adapted models for cities, as well as to contribute to standardised guides and KPIs for a coordinated development of the sustainability of cities.

What is the status of your commitment progress right now?

Thanks to the EIP-SCC network, initiated from the commitments and coordinated in the Action Clusters, we have been able to brand our expertise and long term feedback from 1,500 involved cities and municipalities.

Therefore, we have initiated a collaborative work on KPIs during the last EUSEW 2015, where extremely positive and promising outcomes from the major existing initiatives have been achieved.

The aim of our commitment is to share experience with other commitments in order to help boost the ambition of cities towards smarter development.  We are also a volunteer in the leadership of the ICT tools for cities Working Group in the Action Cluster on Integrated Planning, Policy and Regulations.

Thanks to the EIP-SCC network of volunteer commitments and work, we were also able to identify key partners for future Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities related projects and contribute to creating synergies and above all trust within EIP-SCC members.

What are your main strengths to achieve your goals?

Our main strengths lie in our long-term experience and wide feedback, from any size and type of cities and municipalities. One priority is to identify their local reality and context, citizen wellbeing and a full respect of the local culture and identity. We do not want all cities to be perfectly similar but want citizens to find their own cultural and organizational identity.

Offering our network to disseminate success stories and communication from the EIP-SCC work and outcomes will ensure a wide dissemination of information and motivate others to join our EIP and commit next.

What are your main weaknesses and how could the Market Place help you to overcome them?

The European Energy Award has concentrated all its efforts in understanding municipalities’ needs and developing appropriate tools.

Thus, the European Energy Award has not been very active in branding its success, in communicating and lobbying its activities. Indeed, its main successes are directly based on the results from cities having successfully implemented an EEA protocol and methodology. EEA concentrates its actions in a permanent improvement approach and not in communication and lobbying.

Thus, thanks to the EIP-SCC, EEA is now in a position to disseminate its know-how and expertise and to make its work and large feedback better known. Moreover, EEA is now partnering with other initiatives (commitments) for boosting efficient smart development of cities and municipalities in Europe.

What are your next steps?

Continue to work with major initiatives on KPIs and benchmarking issues.

As WG ICT tools for cities leader, we will prepare a questionnaire for the identification of ICT related needs from a citizen point of view in collaboration with other concerned ACs, major initiatives and EC, then organize within EIP-SCC Action Cluster Integrated Planning a restitution/brainstorming workshop to be held the day before Action Clusters meetings in November 2015.

We will also prepare a H2020 SCC1 proposal with several EIP-SCC partners for the 2016 call.

The EIP-SCC is a unique initiative in terms of ambition and in gathering talents and expertise. It is the right place to concentrate our volunteer efforts to make our smart cities related dreams and ambitions a reality for our 550 million citizens.