Catalonia, Spain

Population: 7.512.381 habitants (2010)

Sustainable development facts & figures:

The Advisory Council for Sustainable Development of Catalonia (CADS) is a body created in 1998 for advisers to the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia to promote the interests in the area of ​​the policy, actions and impact on the Environment and Sustainable Development. CADS also gives a special emphasis on the diffusion of environmental values and a fostering of a culture of sustainability in the Catalan society. It has the willingness to contribute to the conditions that facilitate for a culture of sustainability but taking decisions on these processes, where sustainability becomes the basic element of the Capital of the country. Its features include:

Adviser to Government guidelines on the general repercussions with the Policy on Sustainable Development
Adviser to the Government to report on the planning of the territories of the sea and sectors necessary for them to report on the mandatory of the CADS
Formulating proposals for actions, defense for sustainable development
Measuring and the submission of information and education for sustainable development, promoting the implications, advocacy of the conscienciousness of economic activity and social protection and the best environmental and sustainable development procedures in Catalonia
Submitting your actions for the promotion of scientific research in the field of sustainable development
More information here

Some flagship initiatives:

The Strategy for Sustainable Development of Catalonia for 2026 is the road map that sets the lines and key strategic objectives to ensure the transition of Catalonia towards a safe, eco-efficient and low carbon region, based on resource efficiency consumption and minimizing their impacts on health and the environment in Catalonia and in the world.

Green Economy Plan

At the end of 2011, an initial analysis and a map of challenges and opportunities relevant to the economic sectors of Catalonia was carried out to identify the sectors which, by their nature and type of products / processes / services they generate, can make an additional contribution to the economic recovery of Catalonia, and especially to the creation of jobs in the region. The results of this study suggest that sectors such as chemicals, textiles, construction, food and agriculture, ecotourism, electro or efficiency of energy end-use have the potential for growth, diversification and improvement of their competitiveness through better integration of sustainability in Catalonia. We also identified that the sectors of nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and information technologies and communication can contribute very effectively to increase opportunities at both the competitiveness and sustainability and efficiency of resources sectors. In this regard, the government of Catalonia can support a set of highly competitive and innovative companies making our country a leader in the field of green economy.

An action plan is currently being drafted to collect concrete programs and actions aimed at developing the set of opportunities identified as key in the previous phase. To carry it out, the Plan of Action has been taken as a reference point for the policies currently being promoted by the Government (from ACC10, Economics and Knowledge, Business and occupation, Planning and Sustainability, Catalan Institute of Energy, Employment Service of Catalonia, Agriculture, Livestock , Fishing, Food …) and can facilitate the adaptation of both administration and companies to the emerging green economy. Although it will also be a target of the Plan to extend the set of actions that are taking place with key innovative activities that can maximize the development opportunities identified, and ensure the necessary catalyst for overcoming barriers and effectively transform the model. To do this, the Government’s vision is to ensure that the Plan becomes a comprehensive policy framework as a reference across sectors, than can thus ensure coordinated and effective agents, companies and Government departments that would give the desired short and long term results.

As stated in the 2011-2014 Government Plan, a task force was created by the departments of Economics and Knowledge, Enterprise and Employment and Planning and Sustainability in order to work closely with the Catalan Strategy 2020 (ECAT2020).

Green Schools Programme

The Green Schools programme is a commitment to support all schools in Catalonia who want to innovate, include, move forward, systematize and organize educational activities which are intended to address, from education, new challenges and values ​​of sustainability and has three major objectives:

Assist schools to incorporate the values ​​of education for sustainability in all areas of school life (curriculum, management, relationships with the environment, etc..).
Promote the participation and active involvement of the educational community in improving their environment.
Encourage the exchange between schools that share the same goals. Create Network.

Currently more than 414 schools in Catalonia have the distinctive Green School and more than 1,000 institutions belonging to the network of schools. More information here.

The Energy and Climate Change Plan (PECAC) 2012-2020

This plan aims to complement the EU’s 2020 strategy: a 20% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels, 20% of energy from renewable resources and 20% energy savings by 2020. The Plan establishes the lines of work priorities to achieve the objective in 2020 20-20-20: reducing energy consumption by 20.2%, 20.1% increase to the share of renewable energies in primary energy consumption to reduce i 25.3% of CO2 emissions. The main actions will be taken in the transportation, construction and industry sectors. The plan also focuses on renewables, especially wind and biomass.

Regarding renewable energy, the Plan identifies the potential of different technologies or actions necessary to achieve effective implementation. Sets the desire to reach 5,136 MW installed wind power, 570 MW of which will detract from offshore. There will be a new definition of a wind map, the upgrading of existing parks to reach a lifespan of 15 years and implementation of small wind energy and microeólica. As for the agricultural and forest biomass, the intention is to reach 160MW of installation capacity. Another objective of this plan is to get 14.5% of final energy consumption in the transport sector from renewable sources so that there is a commitment to encourage the use of biofuels. The measures established that will contribute to improving the welfare of society and the competitiveness of the economy will have a direct socio-economic impact. Energy efficiency measures through renewables will facilitate a cumulative savings of 33,850 million for consumers. There will also be a positive impact on the trade balance by reducing 20.145 million euros of fossil fuels imports. The implementation of the plan will induce investments of 24,600 million euros, 1,790 of which correspond to the Government. There will also be the creation of 70,000 jobs (38,000 related to saving and energy efficiency and 32,000 in the sector of renewable energies).

Catalan Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change 2013-2020 (ESCACC)

The first objective of the Catalan Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ESCACC) is determined with as much detail as possible on the specific impacts and global climate change that is occurring in various natural systems (coasts, deltas, seas, fresh water, forests, mountains, glaciers) and socio-economic sectors of Catalonia (agriculture, tourism, energy, forestry, civil protection, water management, health, fisheries), according to the best state of knowledge available.

The second objective is the ESCACC identification, promotion and implementation of these adaptation measures that reduce the vulnerability of natural systems and the various sectors. There are more than 100 measures to influence systems and sectors to ensure the provision of long-term quality and reduce the vulnerability of systems. The Catalan Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change promotes the progressive implementation of:

Decentralized institutional structures, which encourage social participation
Flexibility of water supply systems, power generation and infrastructure
Cross-cutting and integrated policies between different areas and sectors
Savings and efficiency improvements to the progressive comprehensive restoration of ecosystems, rather than aim at creating new demands.

On 30 August 2011, the Government of the Generalitat approved the Savings Plan for Energy Efficiency in buildings and public facilities from 2011 to 2014 with the goal of reducing energy consumption, increase energy efficiency and reduce energy bills of the Catalan Government . The programme, which affects all government facilities and public sector, hopes to achieve in 2014 a 12% reduction in energy consumption and 4.4% of energy bills. The savings is multiplied by four in the horizon 2020-2026. The Government’s energy expenditure is approximately 1,000 GWh per year, representing a bill of about 100 million euros. Its reduction is part of both the current context of budget austerity and the new Energy Plan and Climate Change 2012-2020, which will be one of the main economies and energy efficiency.

Plan to support the environmental sector in Catalonia (2011-2014)

The Department of Planning and Sustainability promotes, strengthens and consolidates the environmental sector. To effectively achieve this goal, it has been provided with a tool to set challenges, work areas, and a series of guidelines, measures and actions. This tool is the Third Plan to Support the Environment Sector in Catalonia (2011-2014). The Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation and the Department of Planning and Sustainability, 2007 contributes financially to projects on integrated management of water resources, waste management and institutional strengthening to the Ministry of Water and Environment of Bolivia

Voluntary Agreements Programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)

The Catalan Office for Climate Change promotes and supports the establishment of voluntary agreements with organizations, entities and collectives in Catalonia to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Framework Plan for Mitigation of Climate Change in Catalonia 2008-2012 set out actions for the promotion of voluntary mitigation agreements, and for the creation of a register of member organizations. Under the plan, these actions can contribute to the annual reduction of 590,000 tons of CO2e. Through the Voluntary Agreements Program, all enterprises, institutions, governments, associations and foundations that want to adhere voluntarily commit to track their emissions and to establish measures that contribute to its reduction, beyond which forces the regulations. For its part, the Catalan stimulates these efforts and at the same time, establishes mechanisms for public recognition. In less than a year and a half of the launch of the 59 organizations have joined, most of these have opted for reducing energy consumption and the total of the actions implemented have reduced by 20% and 33% emissions CO2.

TACC project

The cooperation project of the United Nations Program for Development “Towards local fewer emissions of greenhouse gases and more resilient” – TACC aims to achieve a low carbon economy which is less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through the training and establishment of development strategies. The Catalan government pledged in December 2008 to participate in this initiative to support the Fatick region (Senegal), with a financial contribution from the Department of Environment and Housing and the Catalan Cooperation Agency of € 134,000 for 2010.

More info:

Implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment

Legal Instruments: Law 6/2009 of 28 April, the environmental assessment of plans and programs. Regulations of the Town Planning Act (Decree 305/2006 of 18 July).
Methodological tools: methodological guidelines for environmental assessment, development of technical and scientific knowledge
Administrative organization: territorial offices of environmental assessment (Decree 125/2005 of 14 June), Directorate General for Environmental Assessment (Decree 289/2006 of 4 July)
Participation: Public consultation with interested and affected government. Participation open telematics to the public.
Specific support, training, training courses and conferences, publications, information, environmental mapping, database of environmental assessment, telematic access to reference documents and the resolutions of environmental assessment.

The second report on climate change in Catalonia has been prepared by the Expert Group on Climate Change in Catalonia and follows the first report was produced in 2005 being a pioneering initiative in the Spanish State. The report is divided into 4 main sections: scientific basis of climate change: climate in Catalonia, carbon budgets and projections of future impacts and vulnerability of the biophysical environment: water resources, natural systems and the associated risks, sector analysis, manage, mitigation and adaptation: institutional and regulatory framework, management tools, economic sectors and the social dimension of climate change research in Catalonia. This work represents a good benchmark for the vision of the issue of global warming and its consequences in Catalonia.

The Department of Planning and Sustainability, calls for the Environment Award of the Catalan government to publicly acknowledge the work of individuals and legal entities for the environment. The Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology aims to recognize those people around the world who have distinguished themselves in the field of ecological and environmental sciences. The award is annually and a workforce of 80,000 euros, making it the highest award granted by the Generalitat and the most important internationally in this field.

Contact Information
Contact Name:
Susanna Rivero Baughman, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Advisor

+34 934 445 050


Catalonia, Spain Website


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