The green path to Just Transition in Western Macedonia

The online event about the green path towards Just Transition in Western Macedonia, was realized on Tuesday, 26th January 2021. The event was organized by the environmental think tank “The Green Tank” in collaboration with the Greek office of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

In the conversation participated Nikos Mantzaris- Co-founder and Policy Analyst at the Green Tank, Lazaros Tsikritzis, Professor at the Western Macedonia University and President of the Ecological Movement of Kozani, Lefteris Ioannidis, former Mayor of the city of Kozani (2014-2019), member of the Ecological Movement of Kozani and member of the City Council of Kozani and Dimitra Karagianni, Philologist, Writer, Publisher and Project Manager of the Paremvasi Magazine. The discussion was coordinated by the journalist at Ecovoice- Athens Voice, Vassiliki Grammatikogianni.

In their speeches the participants showed the various aspects of the transition process and the conditions that are necessary in order to ensure Just Transition in Western Macedonia.

Specifically, Nikos Mantzaris referred to the European policy that caused the declining role of fossil fuels in the European and Greek energy mix, the European Just Transition Mechanism, the challenges for Greece towards lignite phase-out and the role of NGOs in ensuring Just Transition.

Lazaros Tsikritzis mentioned the historical mistakes and the lost chances for a gradual lignite phase-out and the turn to a sustainable future. He presented the alternative ecological proposal and insisted that achieving consent and cohesive demands are crucial for a flourishing future for Western Macedonia.

Lefteris Ioannidis presented the initiatives of the Municipality of Kozani during the period 2014-2019 for Just Transition and the cooperation among the local authorities of the lignite regions and the results it brought (European Forum of Mayors, Greek and European Just Transition Fund, cooperation of local government with PPC employers etc). He insisted on the importance of local participation in order to ensure that a just transition plan will be successful and presented proposals for confronting the challenges of just transition from the local actors’ point of view.

Dimitra Karayanni, approached the transition issue through a broader angle: literary, cultural and societal. She highlighted the role of arts and culture in the process that transforms the identity of the whole region of Western Macedonia.

You can watch the video of the discussion (in Greek) here: