All of Ireland’s local authorities are to take part in climate leadership training in a bid to further equip their leadership capacity in tackling climate change.
The training has been developed by the Climate Action team at Limerick Institute of Technology’s (LIT) Development Unit, who are now halfway through delivering the specially commissioned programme to both senior management and elected officials from 31 local authorities.
The Championing Leadership training, which is funded by Local Authority Climate Action Regional Offices (CARO) and coordinated by the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASNTG), aims to encourage local authorities to champion and drive interdepartmental climate leaders within their county and build capacity within the sector, to further reinforce the delivery of climate action.
In 2020, LIT was successful in a competitive call from CARO to devise a unique program that would build on local authorities’ understanding of climate change and climate action.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest report on Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, significant changes in pace and scale are needed to achieve the targets set out in the 2019 Climate Action Plan, while the extent of change required to meet the plan and European Climate Law targets, is unprecedented.
Speaking about the programme, LIT’s Climate Action Senior Project Officer, Dr. Darren Barry, who leads the training said, “We are extremely proud here at LIT to lead the Championing Leadership initiative. This is one of six climate action training programmes for local authorities supported by CARO. This programme is unique, being the only kind of training for both senior management and local representatives, to ensure they are equipped with a knowledge base regarding climate action, policy development and community leadership.
"This is key to guaranteeing that we are focused on meeting the needs of the present without jeopardising future generations. We can no longer work in a silo effect and if we are to meet the targets set out by national policy, then we all must learn and grow together, and this course offers that opportunity at each local level.” he added.
Through four specifically focused modules, the Championing Leadership programme has been designed to address Action 150 of the Climate Action Plan - Support the development of Local Authority climate action leadership and capacities. The training encourages local representatives and senior management to leverage their roles to embed climate action across all functions and activities of the council. It also outlines how to support and effect positive climate action within the community.
Chairman of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) Climate Action, Transport & Networks committee, Paddy Mahon said, “This unique and bespoke climate action leadership training for senior local authority staff and elected members, which is so ably designed and delivered by Limerick IT, is key to the local government sector addressing the challenges and advancing the opportunities arising from climate change, particularly through our work with and on behalf of communities across the country.”
The training programme which commenced in December 2020 is due to finish in early 2022, with 15 local authorities having completed training to date. The local authorities that have completed the programme so far are: Clare, Cork City, Cork County, Galway City, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath and Wicklow.