At present, many initiatives are being developed in the field of the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable society, both at home and abroad, by many actors ranging from citizens/communities (e.g. through the ‘Transition Towns’ initiative) to economic sectors, including a number of industries and various interest groups.

In view of the vast amount and diversity of these initiatives, it was decided to limit the scope of this mapping exercise in a first phase to initiatives led by public authorities with a long-term perspective, that have set explicit climate targets. In a subsequent phase, it can be considered to use a broader approach in the selection of transition initiatives.

General criteria

Three criteria are used to include initiatives in the overview:

A. The initiatives must contain explicit long-term or at least medium-term targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, in which a public authority has taken the initiative or is closely involved;

B. This target must apply to the emissions throughout the territory of the public authority concerned;

C. There must be a clear approach and specific plans, aiming at achieving this target.

Four levels

For practical reasons, the initiatives have been divided into four levels: the local policy level, the provincial policy level, the Regions and the Federal Government, and finally the European level, each shown on a customised map.

In order to be able to draw a distinction between initiatives with medium-term targets and those with long-term targets, two colours are used in the maps (yellow and green respectively).

1. Local level

At local level, both medium-term and long-term initiatives are included.

A few local authorities have already committed to long-term climate targets and are striving for climate neutrality.

Moreover, all cities and municipalities which have signed the Covenant of Mayors have been included in the overview. By joining this European Commission initiative (click here to consult the website), these local authorities committed to climate targets in the medium term, i.e. 2020, and to drawing up concrete plans for achieving these targets.

On the municipal map, the size of the place tags reflects the number of inhabitants in the town or municipality concerned. The municipalities were divided into 4 categories for this purpose:

  • Up to a maximum of 15,000 inhabitants
  • Between 15,001 and 30,000 inhabitants
  • Between 30,001 and 75,000 inhabitants
  • Over 75,000 inhabitants

2. Provincial level

The provincial authorities which have adopted targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction throughout their territory have been included in the overview. Some provinces, although taking progressive initiatives regarding climate policy, have not (for the time being) been included in this overview because they have not yet adopted any reduction targets for their entire territory.

3. The Federal Government and the Regions

This section provides an overview of the climate targets adopted by the Federal Government and the three Regions for the medium and long term, as well as the plans and initiatives taken to achieve these targets.

4. European level

In this part, several European Member States are highlighted, having already drawn up far-reaching climate targets and accompanying plans for the long term and are therefore assuming a pioneering role in the transition to a low-carbon society.

All figures and descriptions collected for and included in this ‘mapping’ were submitted for review to the respective promoters.



The information in the ‘mapping’ is continuously updated and complemented. All comments, suggestions and additions from parties involved and interested citizens are therefore more than welcome! For this purpose, please contact the Climate Change Service via