As the Coal Platform for the Western Balkans and Ukraine kicks off with an inaugural meeting on Dec. 10-11, 18 NGOs active in the Western Balkans and Ukraine call for effective rules to be put in place from the start in order to ensure an inclusive transition away from all fossil fuels.
Based on their experience in coal regions in the Western Balkans and Ukraine, and with the EU’s Coal Regions in Transition Platform, the NGOs urge the platform to internalise early on the four principles outlined below to ensure the success of this initiative:
1. The Platform must have clearly defined, consistent and measurable goals, set up within a clear time frame.
2. The Platform must ensure that all relevant groups - local communities, NGOs, trade unions, educational institutions, local businesses, etc. - are involved, from participation in the Platform’s meetings, to the selection of pilot regions, to project selection and implementation. This principle must apply on all levels downstream of the Platform, so planning processes in the countries must take a bottom-up approach starting from the local level and engage communities in coal regions.
3. Any funding channeled by this initiative must be conditioned on local and participatory plans, exclude any kind of support for fossil fuels and incentivise reasonably fast coal phaseout dates.
4. The initiative should incentivise the adoption of territorial just transition plans, which should be consistent at least with National Energy and Climate Plans. If needed, to ensure consistency with achieving climate neutrality in the region by 2050, the just transition plans should go beyond the NECPs.
“This Initiative is starting in countries whose progress towards climate neutrality is uneven and where political reluctance to act on ending fossil fuel burning is still a reality. If it is to be successful, the new Platform must clearly incentivise early coal phaseout dates and planning for the transition, while educating decision-makers about the enormous opportunities brought about by engaging in these processes,” said Elena Nikolovska from Eko-svest, North Macedonia.
“The energy transition beyond coal and towards renewable energy is already underway, primarily driven by the accelerated economic failure of the coal industry and its inability to compete with buoyant renewables. This change needs to be managed so as to ensure that no one is left behind without a livelihood, without a piece of the clean and sustainable future that's now well on its way. The platform launched today, adds what has so far been the missing link to connecting energy transition in the region to the very people and communities who for decades have endured coal exploitation to power our societies. This now must be their space to envision their own future beyond coal.” adds Viktor Berishaj, energy policy coordinator for Southeast Europe at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.
Notes for editors:
Read the briefing prepared by the 18 NGOs for the kickoff of the Coal Platform for the Western Balkans and Ukraine here.
For more information, contact:
Viktor Berishaj, Energy Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe at CAN Europe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicolas Derobert, Head of Communications at CAN Europe, email@example.com