Climate change action at all levels is critical for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Eco-villages around the world are serving as innovation centres for testing low-carbon, resource-efficient community design. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) with the support of its largest donor, the European Union organized an event on eco-villages during European Development Days 2019.
"When the President of Senegal saw the eco-villages, he was so impressed, that he wanted to have all the villages in the country as eco-villages", said Mr. Ousmane Pame, Founder and President of the Network for Ecovillage Emergence and Development in the Sahel, Senegal. Their mission is to build national resilience by transforming 14,000 traditional villages into ecovillages (focusing on reforestation, renewable energy, and food security).
As noted by Ms. Judit Szoleczky from INFORSE, the International Network for Sustainable Energy, the key to success for any development project is the active participation of local communities, sub-communities, and rural households. She shared examples from Southeast Asia and presented the Eco-Village Development concept, which involves the implementation at village-level of appropriate, inexpensive renewable-energy technology (RET) and capacity-building activities for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
“It takes a collaborative approach by involving community members deeply in planning and implementation, while also giving them the tools to be resilient while facing climate change”, said J. Szoleczky.
Ms. Karina Larsen from the CTCN emphasized that climate change often serves as a magnifier, and in many cases a multiplier, of existing vulnerabilities. She also noted that eco-villages in the ‘North’ typically focus on simplifying lifestyles to reduce ecological impacts and build a greater sense of community, while eco-villages in the ‘South’ typically focus on preserving low-impact traditions, while improving living standards.
Panelists and participants brainstormed together on key ways to support and upscale eco-village initiatives to reduce inequalities in addressing climate change.