The course of Just Transition in Western Macedonia- Digital Consultation Workshops: Conclusions and Recommendations

Aiming to contribute to the public debate at the crucial period of Just Transition planning in Greece and intending to make the voice of the local community heard, the Green Tank carried out and coordinated two digital consultation workshops, attended by representatives of many different bodies, as well as citizens of Western Macedonia.

The new report “The course of Just Transition in Western Macedonia- Digital Consultation Workshops: Conclusions and Recommendations” reflects the rich dialog and the views of the local community, as they were presented in the workshops, and it also results in specific policy recommendations based on the analysis of all the data collected and the submitted proposals.

Today Greece is at the last stage of preparation of the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) and the first draft of the Just Development Transition Program (PDAM) 2021- 2027 is on public consultation. It acquires special meaning at this moment to assess the progress of the transition to date by the local community and highlight policy recommendations that are absent or not sufficiently included in the public debate.

The Just Transition Digital Consultation Workshops highlighted the local community’s intense concern regarding the course of the transition. They also indicated that local bodies are vigilant and willing to contribute to the effort, in order to ensure a sustainable future for the region. Two crucial aspects of Just Transition were discussed: the content of the planning and the governance scheme. Positive and negative criticism came out, but also specific policy recommendations were featured.

Regarding the planning content:

  • With regard to the current period, it is necessary to immediately and effectively address the social effects of the first period of the lignite phase-out; in this aspect, the existing plan was deemed insufficient.
  • The youth of the area constitutes a critical link for a successful Just Transition to the post-lignite period. A particular and timely effort is needed to keep the region’s youth, as well as to integrate it into development planning.
  • The local factor must be an integral part of planning.
  • It is important to maintain the energy character of the region, with an emphasis on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and energy storage.
  • Moreover, the restoration of lignite fields is a critical parameter for the region and land uses must be defined without delay and through extensive consultation.
  • The state’s role in the post-lignite period as a pilot-investor is crucial in order to ensure the transition’s success and to secure necessary investments that the private sector cannot or does not intend to realize.
  • Finally, the resources already planned to be allocated to the transition need to be supplemented by additional national resources.

Regarding the governance system of the transition, the workshops highlighted the need for:

  • a governance system that is more participatory and inclusive than the existing one.
  • a governance system with a long-term time frame. The transition process is long, as it is not limited to the duration of a program or a programming period; moreover, it includes many actors and levels of operation and mobilizes not only financial but also social resources.
  • a strengthened role of local authorities, as it is up to the local government to ensure the connection with the local community and to make a decisive contribution to the successful implementation of the transition.

Notes: You can read the whole report (in English): “The course of Just Transition in Western Macedonia- Digital Consultation Workshops: Conclusions and Recommendations”