Nord-Pas de Calais (France) and Minas Gerais (Brazil) work together for a low-carbon common future

The Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council hosted a session at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 at COP21 on 3 December 2015. Entitled “The Cooperation between Nord-Pas de Calais (France) and Minas Gerais (Brazil) : towards a low-carbon common future!”, the session presented the partnership between the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council (France) and the State of Minas Gerais (Brazil) in the field of energy transition and climate change. It highlighted the key role of decentralized cooperation in achieving climate goals.

The cooperation between the Nord-Pas de Calais Region and the State of Minas Gerais builds on a shared industrial and mining history. Because of this common heritage, the two regions face the same challenges in the field of energy transition and climate protection. The session thus put the focus on the methodology used to implement the Climate and Energy Masterplan in Minas Gerais (Plano de Energia e Mudanças Climáticas, PEMC), drawing on Nord-Pas de Calais’s experience.

Genevieve Sevrin, Director of International Relations from the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council emphasized the importance and key role of a real political will in setting up and implementing a decentralized cooperation agreement such as the one between Nord-Pas de Calais and Minas Gerais. “Political will is needed to mobilize all stakeholders on the territory in a very broad manner, working horizontally”. She also highlighted the importance of local government intervention for effective implementation of climate action.

Diogo Soares de Melo Franco, President of the State Environmental Foundation (FEAM), described the technical support provided by the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) and explained how adapting the methodology used by Nord-Pas de Calais was instrumental to the release of the Masterplan for Minas Gerais. In particular, the plan includes an index of vulnerability that allows stakeholders to make informed decisions on climate planning. This tool, developed in partnership with the consultancy i Care & Consult, is particularly relevant for Minas Gerais, a region prone to extreme weather events such as floods.

Charlotte Raymond from i Care & Consult (which has been working on the adaptation of the methodology from France to Brazil) explained that mobilizing citizens in the planning was the key to successful implementation but also the most challenging part of the process. A particular emphasis was put on the need to highlight the linkages between climate action and the opportunities for citizens (decentralized energy production etc.) to mobilize the civil society.

As a conclusion, Mathieu Robin from the French Development Agency (AFD), which supports the transfer of experience between the two partners, confirmed the value of decentralized cooperation in tackling the climate change challenge: the horizontality of the process and its reliance on local stakeholders allow for concrete experiences to be exchanged and for concrete solutions to emerge.


Featured image of Douai, France by Jérémy Jännick via Wikimedia.

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