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European Network of Community-led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability
ECOLISE logo.png
FoundersEamon O'Hara, Robert Hall
Founded atBrussels, Belgium
TypeNonprofit organisation
Purposesupport community-led initiatives
HeadquartersMundo-B Building, Rue d’Edimbourg 26
  • 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Region served
Membership (2021)
42 member organisations from 17 European countries
Executive Director
Eamon O'Hara
Alisa Dendro
Duncan Crowley
Main organ
General Assembly
Attendants of 2019 ECOLISE General Assembly.

ECOLISE is the European Network of Community-led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability is a coalition of national and international networks, as well as organisations that support a community-led transition to a resilient Europe.


ECOLISE aims to raise the profile of community-led action on sustainability and climate change. As a network of networks, it represents voices of thousands of bottom-up initiatives in Europe that take social, environmental and economic challenges seriously, acting on them in their professional and private domains. ECOLISE brings together various organisations, establishing a common, Europe-wide agenda and a platform for collective action. The unique stress of ECOLISE is on community-led since vital communities are crucial for resilient response to crises and for an effective transition to a sustainable Europe.

Purpose of ECOLISE

ECOLISE network was established to strengthen the collaboration and impact of sustainable community initiatives across Europe, represented particularly by the Permaculture Network, Global Ecovillage Network and Transition Network, but also by other organisations promoting sustainability and working with (local) communities. A key aim of ECOLISE is influencing European and national policy development and delivery to empower, enable and build upon the benefits of community-led action. To achieve such influencing, the network facilitates the creation and sharing of knowledge, maintains knowledge commons online libraries and provides relevant information infrastructure. All this serves to catalyse effective cooperation among member networks and other stakeholders.

History of ECOLISE

ECOLISE network was established in 2014 at the initiative of Eamon O'Hara and Robert Hall and formally instituted at the first ECOLISE General Assembly in January 2015 in Freiburg, Germany. In the pre-forming period in 2013, 21 organisations stepped up as co-founders with the prominence of Ecovillage, Transition and Permaculture networks. In the first years after its formation, the work of the organisation was powered largely by volunteer work and a modest budget. From 2016 the increasing funding allowed for the employment of an increasing number of staff and collaboration in a number of EU funded projects.

Scope of ECOLISE

ECOLISE works with its member organisations and partners as well as with EU institutions and organisations. Being a European network, ECOLISE is mostly active in Europe, but due to its key members' global identity, the impact is broader. In 2019, the operational ECOLISE strategy was created, consisting of four pillars, called Inspire, Enable, Learn and Advocate. These four pillars express as [Communities for Future (CfF)] action programme, launched in September 2020. CfF is the ECOLISE's flagship project, bringing more structure and connection to the already existing areas of work and building upon the European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDSC). EDSC is an annual event, taking place on the third Saturday in September. EDSC celebrates the local communities taking action for a more regenerative, just and inclusive Europe. On that day hundreds of communities and other groups across Europe organise events and ECOLISE provides support, inspires the wider public, draws the attention of policymakers to best practice solutions to social and environmental challenges.[1]


The members of ECOLISE include international networks of community-based initiatives such as the Transition Network, the Global Ecovillage Network, the Permaculture movement and ICLEI, the association of local governments for sustainability; national and regional networks; and other specialist bodies engaged in European-level research, training and communications to support community-led action on climate change and sustainability.

Initiatives in numbers

ECOLISE website[2] lists 42 members: 4 European networks, 22 national networks, 3 local initiatives and 13 specialised members. Transition Network represents over 1200 Transition initiatives, the Global Ecovillage Network represents 15,000 ecovillages (globally) and the Permaculture movement has 3 million practitioners (globally).

ECOLISE by countries

In 2020, ECOLISE had national members in Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK.[3] The four European Network members of ECOLISE have their respective members in most other European countries.

Links to key examples

Numbers of people involved, and indirect beneficiaries

ECOLISE team and council consist of 25-30 people. Programmes and projects engage another 50-100 people, who each work with tens or even hundreds of people under the banner of ECOLISE projects. Between 2017 and 2020, the European Day of Sustainable Communities has engaged with hundreds of communities in 27 European countries.

Impacts of ECOLISE

In 2021, ECOLISE was still a young network, finding its position among many networks, organisations and institutions in European society.

The main vehicles for creating impact are ECOLISE projects. Since 2020, the flagship project is Communities for Future, a broad framework bringing together various related projects such as COMETS, Urban Arena, Ecovillage Transition in Action, European Day of Sustainable Communities etc. For the full list, look at ECOLISE projects.

Ecological impacts

Social impacts

Economic impacts

Impacts in other dimensions

Research on ECOLISE

In 2019, ECOLISE published the Status Report on Community-led Action on Sustainability and Climate Change in Europe [4]


External links