The Policy Learning Platform peer reviews are a constructive way for managing authorities and regions to obtain input and feedback on the challenges that policy makers for renewable energy, energy efficiency and mobility are facing. Carefully selected European peers are invited to the host region for a structured exchange of experiences and to provide input and recommendations addressing the specific local challenge. 

Under the objective of Low-carbon economy, so far first peer reviews were carried out on the 'Absorption of structural funds for energy efficiency in social housing and public buildings' and on the 'Coordination and implementation of a joint multi-municipality Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan - SECAP'. 

Read below about the outcomes of the peer reviews. Are you interested in receiving hands-on feedback from European peers yourself? Find the terms of reference and the application form. Note that this service is reserved for managing authorities. The deadline for this call is 28 June 2019. 

The host regions have been very pleased with the practical recommendations stemming from the low carbon economy peer reviews. Daniel Hilligsmann, Advisor to the Minister President of Belgium’s German speaking community underlined: 'The peer review was perfect with regard to the timing and the many interesting approaches that have been shared. In our speeches, we often talk about the added value of cooperation. With the peer review, we could implement that concretely in our region. A big thank you also to Interreg Europe for offering this policy learning tool.'

Stéphane Andreani, from the Directorate Climate, Air, Energy of the Region Hauts-de-France pointed out: 'We should have a more European approach in the formulation of our Operational Programme; so far, we have only adopted a regional approach. Looking at what others are doing is very beneficial to us and helps us deciding what we should do and what we should avoid.'

The Peer Review exchange also received excellent feedback on the  concept from the low carbon economy peers. 'This has been a very good, very practical exchange and I had the feeling that I have made a real contribution with my experience. It was also good to see that everybody struggles in the smaller cities with 5,000-10,000 inhabitants. Now that we have met in person, we can better collaborate in the future.' said Nathalie Garré from the Department Environment, Nature, Climate and Energy of the West-Vlaamse Intercommunale in Belgium. 

Barbara Di Pietro from the development agency Sviluppo Marche in Italy added: 'The peer review was food for thoughts, in terms of future development of ideas and capitalisation of results, for the development  and implementation of fruitful projects. It was really important for us to participate. Thanks for the opportunity.'

Are you interested in hosting a peer review and receiving expert feedback from European peers in the Low-carbon economy area? Are you a managing authority and a community member of Interreg Europe? Applying is easy: Find the terms of reference and the application form here. 

Hauts-de-France (Absorption of structural funds for energy efficiency in social housing and public buildings)

The region of Hauts-de-France turned to the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform for advice on how to improve their absorption of structural funds for energy efficiency in social housing and public buildings. Local stakeholders were invited and presented their insight on the energy efficiency measures supported by the regional operation programme and its conditions. 

Moderated by low carbon economy expert Katharina Krell, six experts from France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain with experience of managing public funding related to energy efficiency in building came to Lille. The peers spent two days on Hauts-de-France learning about the region and its challenges, consulting with stakeholders, and ultimately making recommendation to the region on how to fine-tune their ambitious policy instrument to better support all stakeholders involved in retrofitting of social housing and public buildings. 

Hauts-de-France will make effort to enact two sets of recommendations: short-term measures that can still be implemented in the current funding period up to 2020, and long-term measures relevant for the newt programming period. Also see the video below for more information about the Peer Review in Hauts-de-France.

East-Belgium (coordination and implementation of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan - SECAP)

On 8-9 May 2019, a peer review took place in Eupen for Belgium's German speaking community to receive hands-on feedback and advice on the coordination and implementation of their brand new joint multi-municipality Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP).

The main focus of the peer review was on gathering practical approaches and discussing the challenges in coordinating and implementing a multi-municipality SECAP and in supporting the local authorities regarding energy-related measures. The community aims to improve its management strategy with regard to measure implementation, reporting and overall coordination, to reach its ambitious climate goals for 2030.

The peers provided the German speaking community with specific, tailor-made recommendations on governance structures, support tools for the municipalities, data collection, monitoring and reporting, as well as funding schemes. 

Image credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels