On 15 February, the European Commission launched the Secretariat of a new initiative to help coal regions in the Western Balkans and Ukraine to transition away from coal towards a carbon-neutral economy.
The new initiative builds on the experiences of the EU Initiative for coal regions in transition and aims at connecting EU coal regions and their counterparts in the Western Balkans and Ukraine through twinnings, as a way to foster exchange and to transfer knowledge, experience and best practices on transition-related issues. The initiative’s secretariat will provide direct support for its implementation and ensure collaboration across the institutions and actors that the initiative will engage.
“We recognise that not all regions and countries have the same starting point on the path to climate neutrality, and that is why the European Green Deal includes a ‘just transition’ chapter, which provides for specific support to the regions and people most affected by the transition. This includes regions with ongoing coal mining activity and people currently active in the coal sector,” said Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director-General for Energy in the European Commission.
A further ambition is to establish a coal academy, providing relevant stakeholders with dedicated trainings on governance, community engagement, environmental reclamation, and repurposing of land and assets. Selected pilot regions will receive technical assistance in order to develop transition roadmaps for relevant public authorities. Finally, the initiative’s partners will help coal regions in the Western Balkans and Ukraine to access financing for transition projects or programmes, based on various available sources, including from the European Commission, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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