Two local level Dialogues on Just Green Transition

March 6, 2023

With the support by the Government of Japan, and in partnership with the Ministry of Mining and Energy and Ministry of Environmental protection, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has organized two dialogues on just green transition at the local level - in Obrenovac and Pozarevac, on 21 and 22 February 2023. The aim of these dialogues was to start a consultation process, in order to find a common response of all actors on how the two local governments can timely adapt their economies to the green transition process.

These local communities, situated in the coal mining and carbon-intensive industrialized regions of Kolubara, Kostolac and Resavica, are identified as potentially the most vulnerable to the effects of the green transition process.

That is why it is important that they take measures to diversify their economies and development of new economic and industrial branches that do not depend to a large extent on the use of fossil fuels.This lack of diversification can make it harder for these regions to attract investment and create new job opportunities.

The participants of the just transition dialogues in Obrenovac and Pozarevac included carefully identified local actors – representatives of the local self-governments, vocational and technical schools, PE Elektroprivreda Srbije, TPP Kostolac, PE UCE Resavica, TPP Morava, and civil society organizations, as well as international and national experts and representatives of Chamber of Commerce. 

They talked about how to further adjust their local economies, implement timely retraining of workers, improve/change education and social services. Also, they discussed how sources of income in cities and municipalities that rely on coal production can be diversified, and how to identify and invest in new strategic industries.

During the dialogues, international and national experts presented to the local actors how Just Transition was conducted successfully, like Genk in Belgium, which was once a mining town. Between the 1960s and the late 1980s, when the coal mines closed, the city turned to the automobile industry. Participants had an opportunity to propose (with the guidance of the national experts) a potential scenario/solution. Based on these inputs, UNDP will prepare the Just Transition Plan to a Low-Carbon Economy in Serbia.

The concept of Just Transition recognizes the risk of climate change mitigation processes resulting in deepened economic and social inequalities. In other words, greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.

This was the continuation of Dialogues on Just Green Transition, that started in October 2022, within the project “Just Green Transition and Decarbonisation in Serbia”, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Mining and Energy and Ministry of Environmental protection, and supported by the Government of Japan.