Relying on experience with supporting the transition of coal regions in seven countries across central and eastern Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network launches today a checklist meant to help experts, national authorities and local communities get Territorial Plans right.
“Countries in central and eastern Europe are currently embarking in the process of writing up Territorial Plans for their coal regions, which would enable them to access the billion of euros made available by the EU via the Just Transition Fund,” explains Alexandru Mustață, the Bankwatch Just Transition coordinator. “But not every Territorial Plan is a good one. So, looking back at our experience working with coal communities in countries in the region, we came up with a checklist of what would make a good Territorial Plan.”
The European Council decided on Monday to reduce the Just Transition Fund for the period 2021-2027 from EUR 40 billion to 17.5 billion. This might discourage some regional governments, which began seeing the transition as an opportunity, not only a challenge. It is now even more important that the Fund only supports projects leading to climate neutrality. Investments must create quality jobs as quickly as possible, but they shouldn’t rely on the Just Transition Fund alone – the Cohesion Policy has many instruments to support the transition of coal regions.
The checklist comprises, among others: concrete indicators that the Territorial Plans should include, for example when it comes to emissions and jobs; criteria on how to make sure the Plans do not support polluting or dated industries in the regions; specific advice on how to make participation work.
“The Upper Nitra region in Slovakia is a bit of an outlier in central and eastern Europe, in that our Territorial Plan was prepared by engaged local community members gathering in working groups,” says Lenka Ilcikova, a Bankwatch Just Transition campaigner in Slovakia and one of the authors of the checklist. “So, based on our experience with turning citizens’ inputs into local strategies, based on what worked for us and what didn’t, we can now offer some guidelines to those only starting out in neighbouring countries.”
For additional information please contact:
Just Transition coordinator, CEE Bankwatch Network