CIVITAS CATALIST responded to Call FP6-2005-TREN-4 of the 6th Framework Programme, which called for a CIVITAS Dissemination and Best Practice Transfer Action. CIVITAS CATALIST was a newcomer in the CIVITAS family, with the aim of validating, exploiting and disseminating the results of the CIVITAS Initiative and, more importantly, of stimulating new cities in the adoption of sustainable, clean and energy efficient urban transport.
The project, which ran between 2007 and 2011, intended to accelerate and facilitate the CIVITAS multiplier effect, a key factor if we are to ensure that the effects of the CIVITAS Initiative are sizeable and durable at the local, national and European level.
The objective of CIVITAS CATALIST is to ensure that the experiences of the CIVITAS Initiative are exploited maximally. In concrete terms, this means deploying actions aiming at reaching manifold objectives, a synthesis of which can be presented as follows:
- consolidate, validate and deepen the knowledge of the wider impacts of CIVITAS through an integrated assessment of the CIVITAS measures;
- promote the results of CIVITAS through a continuing knowledge transfer process;
- increase the visibility of the CIVITAS policies to the external world of target groups, primarily citizens, institutions, scientists and industry, using innovative means for dissemination and easy to grasp language;
- maintain and expand the networks for information exchange, extensively resorting to the vast net of alliances available to the project, facilitating and building new alliances, with the ambition to extend the possibility of concrete policy uptake.
Ultimately, it was the intention of CIVITAS CATALIST to accelerate and facilitate the CIVITAS multiplier effect, which is the key factor to ensure that the effects of the CIVITAS initiative are sizeable and durable, at local, national and EU level.
The project endeavoured to meet these objectives with a wide ranging mix of studies and actions. Just to name a few, CIVITAS CATALIST prepared publications such as best practice manuals, topic-based guides and scientific articles, established and facilitated interactive partnerships between cities, organised study tours and staff exchanges, organised thematic workshops and conferences, conducted international, national and local networking, performeed impact studies, and built a recognisable image for CIVITAS-like policies.
The project offered an umbrella for a number of activities, which were mobilised according to the following straightforward work plan:
- WP1 - Project Management;
- WP2 - Interactive Partnerships;
- WP3 - Networking and Exploitation;
- WP4 - Communication and Dissemination;
- WP5 - CIVITAS Impact Assessment;
- WP6 - Policy Dimension.
In imagining and detailing the actions contained in this project, the partners recognised that an initiative of this nature required a considerable degree of flexibility, which was driven by the opportunities arising during the course of the project lifetime and by the inputs resulting from the continuous interactions with the new cities (and their local actors). The latter are considered by CIVITAS CATALIST as the prime reference point and the ultimate source for appraising the success rate of the project.
CIVITAS CATALIST brings together ambitious cities that have gained much experience in the CIVITAS Initiative, being composed in an integrative way of the eight 'Thematic Groups' of CIVITAS. And as a further tool to up-take the CIVITAS approach for interested cities, specific funding opportunities have been established.
Thematic Groups and their Contact Points
The Thematic Contact Points are front runners and well-experienced cities in specific areas of sustainable transport strategies, which can be seen as a source of inspiration for other cities. Their mission is to capture interest, trigger reflection and to support an interactive process that will hopefully lead to potential joint implementations. Furthermore they also can be seen as fact providers. Because of that they can be 'living examples' with the highest potential for convincing politicians, decision-makers and stakeholders in other cities. An overview of the thematic groups and full list of the related contact point is published at CIVITAS web site (http://www.civitas-initiative.org).
CIVITAS Activity Fund
The CIVITAS Activity Fund:
- Ensured participation to the activities designed, organised and handled by the project partners (e.g. technical workshops, study tours, etc.);
- Co-financed activities promoted by the take-up cities, through dedicated Calls for Applications.
The Activity Types that have been funded:
- Small Initial Interactions (e.g. site visits) between take-up cities and CIVITAS CATALIST project partners. 10% of the total budget of the CIVITAS Activity Fund is dedicated to these kinds of activities;
- Inspirational and supporting take-up activities organised by the partners of CIVITAS CATALIST in order to involve take-up cities in the activities of the project and to stimulate them to apply to the Calls for Applications. 30% of the total budget of the CIVITAS Activity Fund is dedicated to these activities.
- Take-up activities proper (e.g. studies, plans, small projects, as well as visit to a Thematic Coordinator, CIVITAS CATALIST partners and/or Ambassador City, or on-the-job training) proposed by the take-up cities via the Calls for Applications. 60% of the total budget is dedicated to this kind of activities.
This latest activity was carried out by opening dedicated Calls for Application with an expected six-monthly sequence.