Status report

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The Status Report on Community-Led Action on Sustainability and Climate Change in Europe aims to make visible the state of the art of knowledge and understanding about community-led action on sustainability and climate change across Europe. Methodologically, it seeks to pioneer inclusive and open source methods, by facilitating collaborative effort in the compilation and synthesis of relevant information on the part of a transdisciplinary community of creators, users and communicators of knowledge. The first (2019) edition piloted these processes. The second edition, scheduled for September 2021 release, will integrate them within the new Communities for Future strategic framework.

History and Background

The Status Report was initiated within the ECOLISE Knowledge and Learning pillar during 2017. It built on two earlier efforts: the Europe in Transition report created by AEIDL as part of preparatory work for founding ECOLISE in 2013, and the report A Community-led Transition to a Sustainable Europe, released to coincide with the first European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDaySC). Production of the second EDaySC brochure, Local, community-led: a new future unfolding in 2018 prototyped use of material compiled for the Status Report as draft content for other publications.

Rationale and Aims

The Status Report was initially conceived in response to the partial and fragmented nature of the evidence base on community-led initiatives, and absence of coordination among research efforts.

In the assessment of the ECOLISE Knowledge and Learning group, although an increasing volume of research is undertaken, findings feed back into practice and policy haphazardly at best, often not at all. Findings are scattered in diverse places and formats, many of them not visible or easily accessible to community initiatives themselves. In the absence of any systematic overview, new research is often initiated without a full understanding of what already exists and of priorities for further research.

The Status Report thus aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the evidence base on the status, prospects and limitations of community-led initiatives
  • Ground recommendations for policy and practice more systematically in existing evidence and analysis
  • Make gaps in the current evidence base more visible
  • Highlight how further research can best contribute to strengthening practical and strategic action, and inform the policy measures necessary to support such action

2019 Edition

Production of the first Status Report took place during 2018 and 2019, leading to release of the report in May 2019. It was a pilot process that, with hindsight, provided a proof of concept and allowed testing and refinement of the working processes involved. Learning from this experience, along with the ongoing development of ECOLISE as a network, led to a substantial revision of aims and working procedures for the second iteration.

2021 Edition

Planning for the second Status Report took place within the context of development and agreement of the Communities for Future strategic framework by ECOLISE members and staff during 2019. It was consequently reframed as the Communities for Future Status Report, with a focus on the potential contributions of community initiatives to the rapid escalation of ambition and achievement relating to decarbonisation and climate resilience, and the action steps and policy pathways necessary to realise these.

Planning for Status Report 2021 began in late 2019, leading to development of a project coordination framework, recruitment of a core editorial circle, and agreement of an overall concept and outline content. Information-gathering will take place during 2020, and the report itself written during the first months of 2021. Release is scheduled for September 2021, to coincide with the European Day of Sustainable Communities.