In the frequently asked question section (FAQs), people with a general interest in the Covenant of Mayors in the Mediterranean region (CoM Med) and CoM Med signatories looking for specific information will find answers to the most common questions about the CoM Med.

The FAQs will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the most relevant questions and concerns coming from the CoM Med Community.

If your question is not included in the list, or you need further explanation or information, you are welcome to raise it by getting directly in touch with the Covenant Helpdesk at helpdesk@com-med.org we would be glad to support with all information as available.

The Covenant of Mayors for the Mediterranean (CoM Med)

What is the Covenant of Mayors in the Mediterranean, CoM Med?

The Covenant of Mayors in the Mediterranean is an initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to support Mediterranean cities in their fight against climate change through a voluntary commitment. It is a voluntary based initiative that allows cities to define and meet ambitious and realistic targets set by themselves in line with the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) requirements.

CoM Med is open to all cities in the Mediterranean region regardless of their size.

The main objective of CoM Med is to support local authorities in their quest to design and implement coherent Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs), incorporating local climate actions and facilitating to this end collaboration among a wide range of regional, national, funding and non-state actors.

The CoM Med offices are located in both Maghreb and Mashreq regions.

What are the benefits for the CoM Med signatories?

CoM Med will help achieve local actions by backing and empowering local authorities, to exchange and share experience and join forces to conduct sustainable local climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

CoM Med signatories will have access to general information and technical support through the Help Desk offices in the Mashreq and Maghreb regions, as well as networking opportunities and peer to peer exchanges.

CoM Med signatories benefit as well from the highest level of technical support by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, which offers an evaluation of action plans with ad-hoc recommendations for improvements.

Signatories will get visibility of their local governments’ climate and energy actions at the international level with a dedicated profile on the CoM Med website, as well as on the Global Covenant of Mayors website.

What are the commitments that CoM Med signatories will have to fulfil in terms of actions?

Local authorities commit to produce Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs) and monitoring reports. They firstly assess their context by producing a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA); secondly, they develop the action plan with a long-term vision, based on the results of the BEI and RVA, identifying coherent and consistent mitigation and adaptation actions; and they thirdly, produce monitoring reports on the status of implementation on actions and emissions.

What are the specific reporting guidelines to the Mediterranean cities?

The guidelines for SEACAP development applicable for the CoM Med municipalities can be found here. Currently, these guidelines are being updated jointly with the European Joint Research Center (JRC), in order to allow interested municipalities to develop plans and actions in line with their countries' NDC commitments. Its contextualized approach will correspond to the availability of resources and information in the region.

While the guidelines will be available in the coming months, this doesn't affect the municipalities currently at the commitment status or developing their plans, since the main modifications will be in the calculation of the BAU scenario. If further clarifications are needed, please contact the helpdesk at the following email: helpdesk@com-med.org

Who can join the CoM Med?

Any Mediterranean local authority can be a signatory of the Covenant of Mayors for the Mediterranean, CoM Med, with no limit on population size, as long as there is an elected municipal council or equivalent decision-making body with elected members. Local authorities sharing territorial boundaries can also join CoM Med as a group of signatories for the preparation of a joint action plan.

Local authorities can join the initiative at any time, there is no deadline! Also, there is no need to have an action plan already developed before the signature of the initiative and, finally, the adhesion and participation in the initiative are free of charge.

How to join the CoM Med?

To join the initiative, local authorities should undertake a three simple steps process:
1. Discuss the CoM Med initiative with the municipal council (or equivalent decision-making body) and adopt the commitment document.
2. Approve the official resolution to adhere to the initiative and mandate the Mayor or his/her representative to complete the CoM Med adhesion form (available in three languages: English, French and Arabic) and have it signed by the Mayor and sent back to CoM Med Help Desk at helpdesk@com-med.org.
3. Local authorities will receive an official confirmation of the adhesion regarding next steps and timing for the SEACAP preparation, submission and monitoring process.

What are the next steps after joining CoM Med?

As next steps after joining the Covenant of Mayors, signatories shall develop a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP). The Baseline Emission Inventory and Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment of the plan, as well as the emission reduction target of the local authority will be submitted within 2 years from the adhesion date, while the dedicated mitigation and adaptation actions need to be submitted within three years after the adhesion date. Indicatively, after 6 months from submission local authorities will receive the evaluation from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

How to renew the CoM Med commitments when a city is already a Covenant signatory?

Signatories of the former Covenant of Mayors with a target to the 2020 horizon have committed to develop and implement a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) before 2020 and submit monitoring reports every two years. This is a long-term commitment and does not expire.

However, if a municipality wishes to renew its commitments for 2030 under the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, it should contact the Help Desk at: helpdesk@com-med.org.

What is the role of the CoM Med Help Desk?

CoM Med has two Offices (CoMO) one in Rabat, Morocco, for the Maghreb region and one in Beirut, Lebanon, for the Mashreq. Their purpose is to provide effective Help Desk services to Local Authorities across the region such as information, advice and guidance in the overall registration process, support related to their adhesion to CoM Med, assistance to technical queries during the development and implementation of their SEACAPs and the renewal of their commitment. While associating broader urban sustainable development issues through a specific climate-assistance model, the Help Desk gives access to a wide range of specialist experts.

In addition, the Help Desk’s role is to:

• Help signatories with general or technical inquiries related to the Covenant of Mayors in the Mediterranean and its commitments;
• Build the signatories’ capacities through providing guidance, templates, webinars, seminars, workshops, guidelines and other useful documents;
• Support the implementation of the municipalities’ communication and promotional activities;
• Facilitate networking activities within the Global Covenant of Mayors and the Covenant of Mayors community;
• Liaise and coordinate with other EU and donors' initiatives and investigate opportunities for funding the development and implementation of the SEACAPs;
• Identify potential financial climate actions in the beneficiary countries.


What is a SEACAP?

Local authorities commit to the development and implementation of a SEACAP, a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan, a key implementation tool of the Covenant signatories that includes clear mitigation and adaptation actions coherent with mitigation targets and adaptation goals in sight of 2030, with specific actions in order to reach CO2 reduction targets and adaptation goals with a long-term vision. The SEACAP primarily draws on the findings from the Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and the Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) and shows how signatory cities will reach their vision and targets.

What are the differences between a SEAP and a SEACAP?

SEAP stands for Sustainable Energy Action Plan and is the implementation tool for signatories that joined the Covenant of Mayors before October 2015. The action plan aims to reduce GHG emissions by at least 20% by 2020. The SEAPs developed under the previous EU funded project, Ces-Med (2013-2017) can be found here: https://www.climamed.eu/project-documents/ces-med-seaps/

SEACAP stands for Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan and is the current implementation tool for signatories of the Covenant of Mayors. The action plans developed by South Mediterranean countries aim to reduce GHG emissions in line with the National Determined Contribution (NDC) target by 2030, adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensure access to sustainable energy.

What is the scope of the SEACAP?

The Covenant of Mayors in the Mediterranean concerns action at local and regional level within the competence of the local authority. The SEACAP should concentrate on measures aimed at reducing GHG emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2), and the final energy consumption by end users, as well as include adaptation actions in response to the impacts of Climate Change. The Com Med commitments cover the whole geographical area within the local authority’s boundaries (town, city, region) and do not limit themselves at the direct consumptions of the municipal authority.

The preparation of a SECAP offers the opportunity for local authorities to bring together several departments and services and to redefine their approach to urban planning. For example, creating stronger connections between transport, planning, infrastructure, energy and economic development departments can foster a more cohesive approach to master-planning and urban form, which can further trickle down to intelligent application of localised infrastructure.

What is a SEACAP template?

The SEACAP template has been developed by the experts of the EU funded project Clima-Med, Acting for Climate in the Mediterranean to assist CoM Med Signatories in structuring their actions and measures, and to follow up implementation.

It is a user-friendly document that must be completed by the signatories themselves at the same time when submitting their Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan in their own (national) language.

It includes five main parts dedicated to:
• The overall strategy - specifying the vision of the city, the commitments both for mitigation and adaptation actions, the attribution of staff and financial capacities.
• The Baseline Emission Inventory - indicating the sectors to be included, the emission factors, and current level of energy consumption related to the different sources.
• The risk assessment and vulnerability analysis chapter.
• The SEACAP actions (mitigation and adaptation) - defining the targets, the actions’ overview and the monitoring process.
• The communication and awareness raising component.

Which sectors/fields of action are considered in the SEACAP?

For Climate Change mitigation, the main target sectors are buildings, equipment/facilities and urban transport at the municipal, residential and tertiary level. Additional sectors can be considered, such as “solid waste” and “wastewater treatment”, “agriculture, forestry and land use planning sector”, “tourism” etc. The SEACAP should also include any actions, existing or planned, related to local electricity production: development of solar photovoltaic (PV), solar water heater, wind power, combined heat power (CHP), improvement of local power generation, and local heating/cooling generation.

For the adaptation to the impacts of Climate Change, the SEACAP should include actions in the sectors and areas, which are likely to be most vulnerable to Climate Change in a city such as buildings, transport, the tertiary sector, public health, land use planning, environment & biodiversity, agriculture & forestry, civil protection & emergency, tourism.

When to submit the SEACAP?

Signatories commit themselves to submitting their Baseline Emission Inventory and Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, as well as the reduction target adopted at the latest within two years following their adhesion to CoM Med. The mitigation and adaptation actions can be submitted separately, or as an integrated plan, at the latest within three years from the municipality’s adhesion.

The SEACAP defines concrete measures for both climate mitigation and adaptation, with timeframes and assigned responsibilities, translating the long-term strategy into action. To ensure that adequate action is taken to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change, the SEACAP should not be regarded as a fixed and rigid document. Since circumstances can change and the ongoing actions provide results and generate local experience, it may be useful or necessary to revise the plan on a regular basis.

What is a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) of Greenhouse Gases (GHG)?

A Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) serves, along with the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) as the starting point for the development of the SEACAP.

It quantifies the amount of GHG emitted due to energy consumption and non-energy combustion sources in the territory of the signatory within a given period and focuses on the activity sectors of the local authority. The BEI allows to identify the principal sources of CO2 emissions and their respective reduction potentials and progress towards the defined target. The BEI is not meant to be an exhaustive inventory, it mainly focuses on the emissions from final energy consumption in the key sectors.

The BEI shows the emissions in the baseline year (the reference year) for the target setting and plan development in order to identify the actions necessary to reach the CO2 reduction target.

How is the BEI useful for the municipalities?

The BEI and subsequent inventories are essential instruments that give local authorities a clear picture of current conditions and priorities for action, as well as a means of evaluating impact and monitoring progress. The BEI also sustains motivation as all parties see the result of their efforts. The BEI is a CoM requirement and an integral part of a SEACAP.

The BEI data should allow Signatories assessing final energy consumption and CO2 emissions by energy carrier and by activity sector in their municipalities. They should be relevant to the particular situation of the local authority. Signatories are encouraged to prefer local data over national/regional estimates – whenever relevant and available – as it allows reflecting the efforts made by LAs to reach their CO2 reduction targets.

What is the Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA)?

The Risk and Vulnerability Assessment is an analysis that determines the nature and extent of risk, by analyzing potential hazards and assessing vulnerability that could pose a potential threat or harm to people, property, livelihoods and the environment on which they depend. It allows the identification of areas of critical concern and therefore provides information for decision-making.

Why is the RVA important for the municipalities?

The RVA enables local authorities to identify their exposure to current and potential climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and risks, as well as understand the main city specificities that contribute to aggravating the consequences of a specific climate hazard. The assessment could address risks related to floods, extreme temperatures and heat waves, droughts and water scarcity, storms and other extreme weather events, increased forest fires, sea level rise and coastal erosion (where applicable).

Like the BEI, the RVA defines the basis for setting the priorities of investment and monitoring the effectiveness of implemented adaptation measures for a specific region or sector and serves as the point of departure for the development of the Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan.

To this end, indicators of climate vulnerability and risk have to be constructed - on the basis of available data - and regularly monitored and evaluated versus a baseline scenario.

Why is a SEACAP needed to raise the ambition of mitigation of countries under the Paris Agreement?

Countries adopt GHG emission reduction targets of a varying level of ambition; these targets, especially the most ambitious ones, require the implementation of actions by all engaged actors at the local level. Considering that a SEACAP is tackling climate change issues by implementing mitigation actions in a variety of sectors at local level, contributing in the sustainable development of local economies, thus boosting also the national authorities to develop sustainable development policies and strategies.

Cumulative actions from local governments and municipalities through SEACAPs by setting targets in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will serve as local NDCs feeding the National NDCs to demonstrate national political commitment and ambitions.

It will provide investment security for all and serve as a framework for short and medium term ambitious goals. The national NDC will be partially built on local experience and expertise for developing NDCs.

How can the SEACAP contribute to the implementation on NDCs?

Maintaining NDC ambition will require stronger monitoring of national commitments.

This could be achieved by:
• Establishing national fora or platforms for subnational governments to interact and share their experiences with one another as well as with national policy makers, industry and civil society.
• Institutionalizing and formalizing regular communication in the development process of the NDC to take local ambitions and abilities as starting point for national climate plans.
• Developing a collective understanding among national and local policy makers on how the envisioned NDC translates to local contexts.

How is a SEACAP linked to NDC at the national country level?

The NDCs are the GHG emission mitigation and adaptation targets undertaken at the country level to the UNFCCC, that also emphasize the priority sectors and actions planned by the country (e.g. energy sector, industry, agriculture etc.). Municipalities in South Mediterranean may adhere to CoM-Med adopting at least the national NDC targets at the local level. They are also strongly advised to put special emphasis on the sectors highlighted at the national level, where possible, since the governments will most probably implement programs along these lines to satisfy their commitments.

Is the SEACAP part of local NDCs and/or national NDCs?

SEACAPs are part of local NDCs which are arising through all the cities in the world where most of GHG emissions occur.

The national government needs to work to unleash the full potential of local climate action and escalate the local climate action (mitigation and adaptation) to the national level. Several national governments around the world recognize local governments as crucial partners for climate action, which they support through national schemes.

Developing SEACAPs at the local level will serve the Vertical Integration of Climate change and help national governments build on local action to develop and deploy adequate NDCs.

How could the city support climate actions’ emergence at the local market?

Cities could conduct some measures to support local actors to be more involved, interested to develop climate actions as part of the SEACAPs such as:
• Enhancing measures and policy tools that build on the local economy,
• Exploring opportunities to create regional or local value through climate actions (renewable energies, fuel savings, generate tax income, new business opportunities, job creation, etc.);
• Developing cooperation with neighboring municipalities or regions to enhance climate action implementation by combining and bundling the individual strengths and resources that different local governments and regions may have, that could prove complementary;
• Encouraging new stakeholders to enter the climate action market

Is collaboration between local and national governments required?

With local governments investing on global climate action, they still cannot work in isolation and cannot implement climate action without engaging the support of all levels of government. Often, local governments are constrained in their legislative mandate and budget to drive certain actions. Generally, city mayors state that climate actions usually need partnerships. Meanwhile, national governments rely on local capacities and action in implementing some of NDCs actions.

In many countries, the municipal level is the authority responsible for retrofitting public buildings, urban spatial planning, mobility schemes for public transport and data collection, which often provides the basis for investment decisions.

Given that many cities, regions, and municipalities have experience in dealing with related climate action, there is also an opportunity for national governments to build on local expertise when developing adequate NDCs. Therefore, building partnerships and intensifying coordination and collaboration throughout national, regional and local levels is critical. The preparations to start implementing the Paris Agreement as of 2020 offer an opportunity for building coherent legislations across governance levels and fostering local and national collaboration. The Paris Agreement “builds on ratcheting up aggregate and individual ambition” (UNFCCC, 2018), relying on a collective effort on all levels for its realization through the NDCs.

Why further cooperation strength is needed between national and local levels?

There is need to foster coordination and collaboration, particularly between local and national governments, in order to unleash the full potential of the local development and implementation of climate action. NDC is an opportunity to mainstreaming CC at different levels top-down and bottom up and lay out the foundations for improved vertical collaboration across governance levels. In most countries, a wealth of expertise and experience exist already and should be utilized in order to unleash the full potential of current climate action and ensure the development of politically, socially and culturally adequate NDCs.

In what languages will the guidelines specific to South Mediterranean countries be available?

The CoM Med material will be available in Arabic, French and English. However, submission on the CoM Med Platform must be completed in English.

Is preparing the SEACAP a pre-requisite to adhere to CoM Med?

Normally municipalities start by signing and adhering to CoM Med. They will then have two and three-years’ timeframe (see FAQ “when to submit a SEACAP”) during which they are required to elaborate and submit their SEACAP. This is condition for the municipalities to remain a part of this Covenant.

What are the financial facilities to fund the SEACAP preparation?

Numerous sources of financing are available at local, regional, and national levels, including local authorities' own resources, local partners' resources, public-private partnerships, municipal, regional and national subsidies.

What is a “Citizen’s Awareness Raising Plan”?

Good communication is particularly essential during the preparation and implementation phases, both internally among different departments of the local authority, the associated public authorities and all those involved, and externally with relevant stakeholders, including citizens. It should consider incorporating a “Vision of the city” and a “Citizen Awareness Promotion Plan'' as part of the SEACAP communication strategy.

Communication and awareness raising are essential to complete SEACAP actions and promote their adoption, while keeping all stakeholders motivated and supportive of the Plan and its actions.

During the SEACAPs preparation, the communication plan will promote visibility, investment, awareness, behavioral change and broad support throughout implementation. Networking with other local authorities, especially CoM Med signatories to exchange experiences and best practices is highly recommended. It accelerates learning and highlights the actions taken by each local authority, which may also attract investors and additional funding to support pilot and/or demonstration projects.

What happens once the SEACAP is submitted? - The assessment

The SEACAP submitted will be analysed by the Joint Research Center (JRC) through eligibility check and data verification. JRC will provide a feedback report to the city and once the final version is validated, the SEACAP will be published on the CoM Med website.

What approach to adopt for financing SEACAPs?

Investment projects in the area of climate and energy for cities show many similarities in principles and models with other (more traditional) investment projects. Understanding these aspects would be an important step for local authorities who will have to decide the most effective approach to implement the actions contained in their SEACAP(s).

What does a successful implementation of SEACAP actions require?

SEACAP implementation requires firm, long-term funding commitments. Local authorities should hence allocate the necessary resources in their annual budgets. Scarcity of financial resource increases the risk of opting for energy-efficiency projects with short paybacks, but with low reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions or quick adaptation effect. It also requires a strong institutional coordination to ensure coherent and effective budgeting. In this context, Local Authorities may have to take into consideration those SEACAP actions which could be partially co-financed by the private sector, considering that only part of the projects may receive grants support.

What are the challenges Local Authorities are facing?

Local authorities may face a number of challenges when considering the implementation of the actions planned in their SEACAP and dealing with financing mechanisms and funding opportunities.

Some common barriers are:
• Lack of awareness and knowledge about climate finance options
• Lack of transparent data
• Financial planning capacities
• Insufficient administrative capacity and technical knowledge
• Difficulty in demonstrating the ‘bankability’ of the planned investments.
• Legal autonomy and adequate national policies
• Absence of proper human resources, professional training and experience to choose the most suitable instrument and to prepare application for the funding.
• Challenges in meeting the requirements of international funds
• Political instability

The Clima- Med Project

What is the Clima-Med project?

Clima-Med, Acting for Climate in the Mediterranean, supports the transition of 8 partner countries in the Southern Neighbourhood towards sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The overall objective of Clima-Med is to enhance energy security and adaptive capacity of partner countries while fostering their transition to low carbon and climate-resilient economy, thereby contributing to more stable, efficient, competitive and climate-resilient socioeconomic contexts. The project objective is in-line and part of the "Energy security and Climate action in the Southern Neighbourhood 2017-2018" programme, which has been adopted by the European Commission in 2017.

More information about Clima-Med here

The Clima-Med project and CoM Med

One of Clima-Med key tasks is to establish the regional Covenant of Mayors Mediterranean or CoM-Med, to enable its evolution, promote the preparation and implementation of Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAP) in line with CoM requirements and to support partnerships and win-win cooperation between cities. The aim is to efficiently undertake sustainable climate actions.

As main platform, Clima-Med will set and operate a CoM-Med website in three languages (Arabic, English, French) for the region. It will provide an array of information about tools, manuals, benchmark examples, sources of funding; and a forum of exchange for applicant municipalities to share experience and join force to conduct sustainable local climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

What does Clima-Med technical assistance consist of?

The Clima-Med project assists non-beneficiary municipalities in the elaboration of their SEACAPs by sharing all the capacity building material, continue to hold workshops and answer technical queries.

The Clima-Med project through its Help Desks based in Rabat, Morocco, and Beirut, Lebanon, operate as the primary interface for all cities and other stakeholders in the Mediterranean through:
• Assisting all local authorities interested in joining the initiative through the adhesion process;
• Helping signatories with general or technical inquiries related to the Covenant of Mayors and its commitments;
• Providing capacity building, practical guidance and knowledge, technical tools to develop the SEACAP and meet their commitment;
• Supporting the implementation of the communication and promotional activities;
• Coordinating with third parties and relevant stakeholders to enable beneficiaries to better access finance mechanisms leading to the implementation of concrete and sustainable actions at national and local levels;
• Facilitating networking activities and other types of cooperation.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission might provide support for methodological questions in relation to the CO2 emissions inventory, SEACAP and their evaluation.

The Help Desk remains at the disposal of the cities for any question and clarification at: helpdesk@com-med.org

How can a municipality benefit from Clima-Med technical assistance?

In each adhering country, a selection of ten municipalities has been finalized (or is in the process of being finalized). Additional municipalities that would like to benefit from Clima-Med assistance are encouraged to contact their corresponding Clima-Med regional office. The latter will identify with each locality the type and level of assistance that can be provided by Clima-Med.

It will support them through providing practical guidance and knowledge, technical tools to develop the SEACAP, opportunities for financing action plans, sharing knowledge, facilitating networking and other types of cooperation.

Are municipalities collaborating with Clima-Med required to join CoM Med?

Municipalities adhering to Clima-Med are strongly encouraged to join CoM Med. In that objective, the Clima-Med team will be providing technical assistance and helpdesk functions. Joining CoM Med will potentially increase the capacities of municipalities in accessing funds necessary to implement the actions included in their SEACAPs and to take their energy and climate commitments to the next level.