Local authorities play a key role in the European climate transition and are at the forefront of the ongoing energy crisis. They manage a large share of the building stock (public, commercial and residential), and have competencies in urban planning, built infrastructure, public lighting, transport. They also accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy projects and reduce energy consumption thanks to their direct link with citizens, especially in the current context of the energy crisis.
For a matter of consistency in the implementation and in the follow-up of the different steps, it is key that those tasks do not rely on external consultants but on in-house expertise. Yet, municipalities are struggling to have the internal staffing capacity to drive their local climate transitions. This can be due to limited budget and strict rules on government debts to hire new staff, or lack of capacity of their employees. Municipalities are in need of a skilled workforce to draft, develop and implement local and regional climate and energy plans, or to implement climate and energy projects to meet the needs of residents.
The main objective of this session is to address the urgency of labour and skills shortages in the European local public administrations to accelerate climate neutrality at the local level. To do so, the session will bring evidence of what the needs of municipalities’ are in terms of staff capacity and upskilling, and it will present some local, national and European initiatives that are responding to these needs.