How the city of Leuven is rallying its forces for climate neutrality

Leuven is developing partnerships to achieve climate neutrality in 2050

We have a new President!

First of all, Energy Cities is proud to be presided over by the city of Leuven, which has been engaged for a number of years now in the energy transition and by its young Mayor, Mohamed Ridouani, who is behind the creation of Leuven 2030.

Leuven 2030, a roadmap for 2050

Together we can go further, such a common saying … and yet so true! Leuven has surrounded itself with partners who are sure to lead it to climate neutrality by 2050.

As early as 2020, Leuven 2030, an NGO which today boasts more than 600 members representing residents, companies, civil society organisations, experts and public authorities, has developed skills, relationships and a plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Its 2025 – 2035 – 2050 roadmap sets out a 13-programme strategy that covers all aspects of energy, ecological and social transition, including buildings, transport, energy supply, food systems, public spaces, governance and financing, public involvement, the circular economy and education.

Focus on programme 11 “Governance and financing”

Leuven is making carbon neutrality its top priority and redoubling its efforts in collaborating with other stakeholders in order to accelerate the transition. In this context, it is creating a platform for inter-municipal cooperation in order to address, with neighbouring city councils, the issues that extend beyond the local framework.

Achieving the goals set out in the roadmap requires significant investments. Several tools will be used to stimulate investment, including a local climate fund, energy service companies, energy cooperatives and divestment.

Leuven, a pilot city of the EU Cities Mission programme

In 2023, as part of the EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities programme, 53 cities have been selected to join the pilot cities programme – NetZeroCities. For two years, as a pilot city, Leuven will be able to try out new methods of rapid decarbonisation and will be one of the first to adopt a variety of systemic, inclusive and multi-level approaches to urban transformation.

Its Climate City Contract was recently unveiled as part of this project. By updating the city’s urban planning as new knowledge is acquired and learnings emerge, this contract makes it possible to share the progress made in a public forum.

This in turn can inspire other partners and other cities to move forward with the energy, ecological and social transition in their own territories.

Through its actions and ambitions, the city of Leuven is setting an example, a source of inspiration for the forthcoming Belgian presidency of the European Union. Mohamed Ridouani will be one of the speakers at the “Translating the EU green deal into local action” conference on 15 March 2024 and will share his experience during the session“Empowering and financing the cities’ transition”.