Climate change mitigation actions are being taken all over the world. Many European cities have committed to the most ambitious climate targets through a common mayors’ climate agreement (EU Covenant of Mayors). Turku and the Italian city of Bologna are learning from each other through the Covenant of Mayors’ Twinning programme.

European cities demand stronger climate action

European cities in the Covenant of Mayors have set more challenging climate goals for themselves. Cities in the agreement require the European Union to tighten its own goals as well.

Cities involved in the Covenant of Mayors’ Twinning Programme:

  • Turku and Bologna, Italy
  • Nice, France and Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Braga, Portugal and Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain
  • Ath, Belgium and Saldus, Latvia
  • Figueira da Foz, Portugal and L’Aquila, Italy
  • Smiltene, Latvia and Milos, Greece

Additional information:

Specialist Miika Meretoja, responsible for organizing the co-operation between Turku and Bologna, and Giovanni Fini, Coordinator, believe that cooperation will benefit both cities.


Turku and Bologna, with nearly 400,000 inhabitants, are different cities in many respects from the perspective of climate action. Turku can meet a significant part of its emissions targets through its own actions. In Bologna, however, most of the major players, such as energy companies, are privately owned. Despite the differences in the operating environments, the challenges are common. How can the whole community- residents and businesses work towards a common goal? How can the mobility choices of residents be influenced?

- We look forward to co-operation between critical friends that give each other valuable feedback and advice. Bologna has valuable experience in engaging different actors and activating residents, says Risto Veivo, Manager of Climate Policy, Turku.

Turku and Bologna are in the European Covenant of Mayors climate and energy agreement. Participating cities and regions are committed to developing Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). Bologna is currently updating its own climate plan to fit the model. Turku has already adopted the model. Bologna believes she can benefit from Turku's experience in her own preparatory phase.

- We are particularly interested in nature-based solutions designed by Turku. I am very impressed by the attitude of Turku residents and Finns to climate issues, says Giovanni Fini, Bologna, Environmental Coordinator, coordinating energy and sustainable development.

Partner experience, encouragement, and criticism develop action

The cooperation between Turku and Bologna is part of the EU-funded Covenant of Mayors 2019 Twinning Program, involving 12 cities selected from nearly 60 applicants.

The partner cities in the Twinning programme receive guidance from the Covenant of Mayors coordinating program. Claire Baffert from Eurocities was the facilitator in Turku. She is looking forward to a great deal of cooperation. Baffert already noticed several common features in Turku and Bologna. Both cities want to combat climate change with the residents and stakeholders involved. The desire to create nature-based solutions also connects the cities. Of importance, she sees peer review and feedback from partners.

Tapping into partner experiences helps to respond more quickly and effectively to the challenges of climate action.

- Partners mutually give and receive critical feedback on their respective approaches. Tapping into partner experiences helps to respond more quickly and effectively to the challenges of climate action. Concrete areas of cooperation have already been found. For example, how to make better use of carbon sinks, how to involve companies in the assessment of nature and biodiversity, how to implement the blue-green coefficient in construction regulations, how funding models are used in climate plans and how sustainable mobility can be better promoted, Baffert says.

The common European model of climate action plans creates a basis for comparability and provides excellent opportunities to learn together and take advantage of good practice created by the partners. Turku has been extensively networked nationally and internationally to learn from the experiences of others and share its skills and knowledge.

During the exchange visit in Turku 9.-10.5.2019, representatives of the Covenant of Mayors and Bologna met with the chairman of the city board of Turku, Lauri Kattelus. According to Kattelus, it is great that Turku is a solicited partner in international climate action.

- International cooperation is key to finding the best ways of taking climate action. Tackling climate change is a challenging task and it is great to see that the work we do is highly valued in Europe, Kattelus says.

City Board Chair Lauri Kattelus (front center) met with climate workers on Thursday, 9 May 2019. Order in picture (Left to right); Tiina Vikman, Giovanni Fini, Claire Baffert, Miika Meretoja, Risto Veivo and Theresia Bilola.