Community-led initiatives in Belgium

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Overview

Transition in Belgium

Main page: Transition in Belgium

The Transition Network lists 29 self-registered initiatives in Belgium.[1]

The Transition movement in the French-speaking part of Belgium is supported by the organization Réseau Transition en Belgique francophone which lists 60 initiatives in 2017. Founded in 2012, it´s mission is to “support, inspire, connect and offer support to Transition Initiatives and foster their emergence” and is a member of ECOLISE.[2]

The Transition movement in Flanders is supported by Transitie Vlaanderen, a group started in 2008 to facilitate the start-up of transition towns in Flanders. The website now lists 62 initiatives with another 9 in creation.[3]

Permaculture in Belgium

Main page: Permaculture in Belgium

PermacultuurNetwerk, the Permaculture Network for Flanders and the Netherlands lists 105 projects and 114 people and notes that "Permaculture is growing rapidly".[4]

Ecovillages in Belgium

Main page: Ecovillages in Belgium

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) lists 3 projects in their database. This number is however only reflecting the projects that have registered themselves on the database. The ecovillage database contains ecovillage projects of all sizes and in all stages of development.[5]

World Cleanup Day in Belgium

Main page: World Cleanup Day in Belgium

Community Energy in Belgium

Main page: Community energy in Belgium

Solidarity Economy in Belgium

Main page: Solidarity economy in Belgium

Community Food Production in Belgium

Main page: Community Food Production in Belgium

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Belgium

According to URGENCI, the International Network for Community Supported Agriculture, the “share of organic agriculture production in Belgium is low, especially in relation to the amount of organic products consumed“. Because agricultural policy falls under regional jurisdiction, there are big differences between Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels when it comes to the share of organic production and the CSA movement. The first CSA was started in 2005 and in 2016, there were at least 137 active CSAs providing for approximately 13.500 consumers. The CSAs are organized in the CSA Network in Flanders and Le Réseau des GASAP as well as Les Grosses Légumes in Wallonia.[6]

Other(s)

The City of Leuven is a signatory of the Covenant of Mayors. As such, it is committed to achieving its share of emissions reductions and to developing a comprehensive adaptation plan. In addition to signing onto the Covenant of Mayors, the city formally declared its ambition to transform Leuven into a climate-neutral city. To help achieve this goal, the city, alongside key partners, in 2013 founded the non-profit organization Leuven 2030, aimed at turning the transition towards climate neutrality into a project with citywide support and a focus on social justice, bringing on board policymakers, knowledge institutions, companies, civil-society organizations, and citizens.

In the past few years, stakeholders, led by the City of Leuven and KU Leuven, have taken significant steps. Since 2010, carbon emissions on Leuven’s territory have stayed flat. No small feat, considering that the number of residents, jobs, and students has expanded significantly over the same period of time.

The city is now committed to shifting from ‘doing what can be achieved’ to ‘doing what must be achieved’. This is a shift that implies a systemic change to the city and its community. Leuven has the ambition, as well as the responsibility, to lead this shift. It possesses both the knowledge and the societal and economic capital to carry out the transition, and to inspire other cities and municipalities to follow its lead, both within Belgium and far beyond.

ROADMAP AS A GUIDE

In 2018, Leuven 2030, with the help of urban-planning agency BUUR and a large number of local experts, created this roadmap, to serve as a guide for achieving climate neutrality by 2050 (which will require an emissions reduction of at least 80%). To help achieve this goal, the Roadmap offers a timeline containing all the steps the city is to take by 2025 and 2035: residents, businesses, knowledge institutions, and civil society. This roadmap builds on Leuven 2030’s Scientific Rapport (2013), broadening the scope and refining the timeline. Until recently, Leuven 2030’s focus lay primarily on scope 1 and scope 2: the emissions produced directly on Leuven’s territory (scope 1) and the emissions produced elsewhere to supply Leuven’s electricity (scope 2).

Yet Leuven is also responsible for emissions beyond the city’s administrative borders: travel to and from the city, the production of goods and food outside of Leuven,… Reducing these emissions – scope 3 – also falls within the city’s responsibility. This raises the bar significantly: Leuven will have to reduce its emissions by no fewer than 2,500 kilotons per year – nearly four times as much as projected in Leuven 2030’s original goals. Reducing emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 2010 levels) is the central goal of the Roadmap. But meeting this challenge will contribute to, and shape, other goals as well, such as achieving a higher quality of life, increasing prosperity, and ensuring social justice. These goals are therefore part of the Roadmap, too.

The Roadmap focuses both on emissions for which Leuven is directly responsible and on emissions that it is responsible for beyond its borders.

The Roadmap is structured around eight ambitions for a climate-neutral Leuven. The first four ambitions together account for the four largest segments of Leuven’s emissions output.

  1. Climate-neutral living
  2. Climate-neutral urban services
  3. Climate-neutral mobility
  4. Consuming sustainably
  5. Producing renewable energy locally
  6. Increasing urban resilience
  7. Achieving climate neutrality together
  8. Sharing knowledge and innovating

These ambitions are elaborated on in 80 project clusters (so-called ‘sites’), organized into 13 programs. Every one of these programs is key to achieving climate neutrality and should be considered a priority. For every site, the Roadmap defines quantitative targets, to the extent possible, and proposes measures to meet them. Every site will require a site leader, cooperation between multiple key actors, and the development and implementation of an action plan.

Eight ambitions are elaborated on in 80 project clusters (or sites), which are organized into 13 programs.

(The above is an English language translation provided by Leuven2030)

For further information (only in Flemish) see https://www.leuven2030.be/

Collaboration with Local Government

References

  1. https://transitionnetwork.org/transition-near-me/initiatives/. Accessed on 10 June 10 2018
  2. https://www.reseautransition.be. Accessed on 11 June 2018
  3. http://www.transitie.be/lokaleinitiatieven. Accessed on 11 June 2018
  4. https://permacultuurnetwerk.eu/. Accessed on 14 June 2018
  5. https://ecovillage.org/projects. Accessed on May 23rd 2018
  6. Volz, P., Weckenbrock, P., Cressot, N. & Parot, J. European CSA Research Group (2016): Overview of Community Supported Agriculture in Europe. https://urgenci.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Overview-of-Community-Supported-Agriculture-in-Europe.pdf. Accessed on June 7th 2018