Brest prepares the ground for collaborative climate action

Brest Bay by Rachel Omnes
On May 11, TOMORROW’s partners went on a virtual visit to Brest. We would have liked to do this visit in person, but the current sanitary measures prevented us to do so – again! Luckily, our French pilot city organised a very interactive event, with presentations and fun games that allowed us to discover Brest’s climate and energy plans and actions.

Find more about their Local Climate Plan on their official website [in French]

While the Local Climate Plan, with its 60 key actions involving 13 different sectors, defined actions that are mostly led by the metropolitan government and its established partners (agencies, public companies etc…), TOMORROW is providing a great opportunity for them to create new partnerships and involve different actors in the transition of their territory. Thanks to the project, they will be able to reach out to them and ask how their activities can contribute to Brest climate and energy objectives, how they can make their city a more liveable place.

Brest process towards the creation of the local transition roadmap

The metropolitan government is targeting a wide and diverse audience, from citizens and civil society organisations to companies and municipalities. They planned to structure their activities along 4 main areas:

1) Definition of a partnership action plan

The city launched a commitment charter organisations can choose to sign individually. Public and private actors can also create a coalition to define and take action together. The charter details the city’s climate plan and provides 3 different options, going from a lighter involvement - Level 1 "I adhere to the Climate Plan" – to planning concrete actions with Level 2 "I join and I act" and setting quantitative objectives with  Level 3 "I adhere, act and set quantified objectives". Below you can see the different stages leading to the signature (and the reporting).

Brest Charter Process - Credits: Brest Metropole (BM)
Brest Charter Process - Credits: Brest Metropole (BM)

2) Proximity actions on energy transition

The cities is planning a call for small projects and organising events and workshops to boost citizens actions.  

3) Promotion of engaged actors

By committing to the charter, local actors can gain visibility thanks to interviews and promotion of their sustainability efforts on the official website of Brest Metropole. They also have the opportunity to exchange and discuss more regularly during the meetings and events organised for the partners.

4) Discussions of a new and sustainable governance model

The metropolitan government is hosting discussions about the local 2050 roadmap via local stakeholders committees, public events and in the local Transition Team. This will allow the roadmap to include different views and needs, being the result of a collaborative effort and consequently make its implementation easier.

Latest progress

TOMORROW project manager Anne-Claire Urvoas shared the latest updates on the roadmapping activities in Brest. Beside the local transition team, Brest Metropole fostered the creation of 8 coalitions to work on the transition roadmap. Six are thematic, aggregating actors around Sustainable events; Mobility alternatives to individual cars; Reduction of home-work trips; Eco-materials; Behavioural changes; Lighting reduction and optimisation. One coalition has a geographical focus and brings together the organisation of the local technology park and the 8th coalition is formed by the local youth groups and students associations.

Following the launch event in November 2020 (read more about it in our previous blog here), the city had around 50 individual meetings, reached 6 signed commitment charts - 20 additional ones are in the pipeline, organised meetings and workshops and planned a training for coalition facilitators. A public event is foreseen for 19th November 2021.

Challenges and next steps

Any organisation that embarks in truly collaborative processes can become overwhelmed by the big coordination and communication efforts required. This is even truer for cities who are not so familiar with co-creation. Brest seems up to the challenge, also thanks to the strong political support they have in the metropolitan government and a very motivated core team. In the following months, they plan to adapt the governance model, by setting up an external committee to provide advice, orient and monitor the activities of the Transition Team. They will have to address some questions brought by the commitment charter: how to evaluate the commitments when precise data is lacking? How to simplify the charter signature process? How to adapt the charter to be suitable for a diverse range of actors? We look forward to find out their progress and solutions in the following months!

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