Community climate action and alphabet soup

There has been a considerable drive towards community-led climate action over the last couple of years. This has resulted in a good number of local groups being formed but also led to confusion and overlaps at the higher level where local and national governments want to support community initiatives. Within Edinburgh, we have been puzzling over the relationship between two organisations established by the council and by national government to help with community climate action.

The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) helped fund the creation of an organisation run by EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council) with a name that has varied a little over the last year, but which has now settled (I think) as Edinburgh Communities Climate Forum (ECCF). CEC’s interest was primarily to provide an interface and support to the community action aspects of its 2030 Climate Strategy.

In parallel, the Scottish Government has commissioned the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SSCAN) to set up a nationwide pool of community Climate Action Networks, intended as the first step towards Climate Action Hubs that will underpin a strategic, regional approach to climate action across Scotland. And so Edinburgh Climate Action Network (ECAN) has been born.

Initially, the existence of ECCF and ECAN in Edinburgh caused a fair amount of confusion: were they overlapping (and thus potentially competing) or complementary? Agreement has finally been reached and the coordinators of the two organisations are now working together. The following summary was recently put out by ECAN:

The Forum and Network share the goal of supporting community-led climate action, however the Forum’s remit is more specific than the Network’s. The Forum is primarily council-facing, and aims to support community groups to achieve the goals outlined in existing public policy strategies [e.g. the CEC 2030 Climate Strategy]. The Forum will hold events and offer resources, but will not have a membership. 

The Network aims to support community groups in whichever strategy and direction is the priority for Edinburgh communities — any community group can be part of the Network and influence the specific goals of the Network. Community groups can then also define how the Network will relate to the Forum, depending on how much the Network feels the Forum’s strategy aligns with communities’ priorities. To summarise, [ECAN] is a broad commons, into which [ECCF] will feed, and through which [ECCF] will be able to widen its reach.

OK?! We hope that we’re now entering a period of much more effective support for local groups such as BANZAI, and opportunities to influence both local and national government.

2 thoughts on “Community climate action and alphabet soup”

  1. David Somervell

    Jings why is there no mention of the fact that Scottish Government has allocated £4.3million to fund up to 20 regional Community Climate Action HUBS.

    The pathfinder Hub – North East Scotland Climate Action Network NESCAN – was established in 2021 with annual SG funding of around £250,000 and now employs EIGHT people!
    Applications for such a Hub in Edinburgh must be made by a community led process and that is where Sarah McArthur, ECAN Coordinator comes in. Her role is to help cohere such a community led process which identifies what would be most helpful in Edinburgh and what community climate activist and their independent democratic organisations wish for.

    Hope every organisation can get involved in ECAN and help develop the process of applying for Hub status and funding.

  2. Good point David. The simple answer is that the text of this post was written before the recent ScotGov announcement was made.
    BANZAI are members of ECAN and will strive to help in defining what an Edinburgh Hub should be; we also hope that every relevant organisation will also engage with this. We also look forward to the different roles of ECAN and ECCF becoming more naturally understood as time goes on and everyone becomes more familiar.

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