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Multilevel governance of sustainable energy policies: The role of regions and provinces to support the participation of small local authorities in the Covenant of Mayors

Abstract: 
Worldwide, there are an increasing number of transnational networks on climate actions driven by non-state actors. There is a wealthy literature analysing models of multilevel governance of climate change focusing mainly on the engagement of cities and local governments. To a lesser extent research has focused on the collaboration between regional administrations and local governments. Against this backdrop, we introduce the multilevel-governance model observed in the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) framework, named Covenant Territorial Coordinators (CTCs). The CoM initiative has more than 7600 signatories as of October 2017, covering 238 million inhabitants from European, Central Asian and South Mediterranean cities. The peculiarity of CoM compared to other transnational initiatives, is the engagement of small and medium cities (less than 10,000 inhabitants) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with almost 66 % of signatories, mainly small cities, supported by CTCs. In this article we present, analyse and discuss the role of regions and provinces acting as CTCs in supporting smaller local authorities for energy-climate planning, presenting examples of successful collaboration between different levels of government. Finally, we identify and discuss in which EU countries the multi-level governance model based on CTCs as observed in the Covenant is likely to be successful.