Municipalities in focus: Evaluating the Local Authorities Guideline (LAG) within the National Climate Initiative (NCI) of Germany: challenges and findings

Germany has approximately 11,000 municipalities which can make a significant contribution towards achieving national climate targets. The Local Authorities Guideline (LAG) of the German National Climate Initiative (NCI) has been supporting municipalities in designing and implementing climate action since 2008. The aim of the LAG is to provide targeted support to municipalities in achieving GHG mitigation and in establishing a strategic framework for effective climate protection.

Over the years, the LAG has continuously been revised and improved. It was evaluated for the first time in 2011, followed by two further evaluation periods 2012-2014 and 2015-2017. A total of more than 8,500 projects were completed by more than 3,000 municipalities. These can be allocated to more than 40 different funding areas, which belong to 5 different funding priorities. The spectrum of funding priorities ranges from initial advice, climate action concepts and climate action management, to numerous investment measures.
Due to the complexity and diversity of the LAG, the evaluation faces a number of challenges. Investment as well as informative and strategic approaches must be adequately evaluated. At the time of the evaluation there was no experience available for the evaluation of climate action concepts and climate action management.

In our paper we describe the LAG, evaluation methodologies, challenges, and selected findings of the evaluation of the strategic funding priorities. In particular, we focus on the effects of the funding of climate action concepts and climate action managers. We discuss the methodology as well as the results.