Just Transition Platform conference: Conclusions on assisting stakeholders in using the support provided by the Just Transition Mechanism

The 8th conference of the Just Transition Platform took place from 23 to 25 October in Brussels, Belgium. JUSTEM attended the conference and presented a poster at the exhibition booth. This enabled the JUSTEM project to receive and share insights on the challenges and opportunities of just transitions in different European regions. 

The event started with a multi-level dialogue on just transitions. The discussion with Jakub Chelstowski (PL/EPP), Governor of the Silesian Region, Poland, Alternate Member of the CoR, Miloslawa Stepien, CEE Bankwatch Network, Wolfgang Munch – Deputy Head of Unit at DG REGIO, European Commission, Frank Siebern-Thomas – Head of Unit at DG EMPL, European Commission, focused on the opportunities and challenges of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM). 

Much was emphasised that the JTM is a great achievement, not least because it focuses on the territories, their needs and challenges. Projects funded under the JTM can have lasting impacts, such as reducing emissions, creating jobs and providing clean and affordable energy. Multi-level governance was seen as a key component of just transition, ensuring that people can participate. Employment, re-skilling and training were also central to the debate, as many jobs will be affected, and new skills will be needed for the transition to climate neutrality. However, the quality of jobs, job stability and changes in mobility need more attention in the debate. Another “blind spot” discussed was the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are crucial for just transition regions but (often) not eligible for funding because they are too small to apply for large projects funded by the JTM. 

On the 24th and the 25th the conference of the Just Transition Platform took place. JUSTEM coordinator Diana Süsser presented a poster at the exhibition stand, which allowed her to engage with other actors and initiatives in the field. The conference consisted of several panels, including the panel on the Just Transition Implementation for practitioners, and the communication of the just transition process. 

Some conclusions from the great discussions: 

#Speed. Just transition plans need to be implemented quickly, although the timing of funding and spending is a challenge. 

#Employment. New jobs need to be created and this requires planning. It is important to know how many people need to be attracted to the regions, how many need to be retrained and how many need to be upskilled. 

#Socialcohesion. A survey of conference participants showed that most expect the transition to have a negative impact on social cohesion in the short term, but a positive impact in the long term. For this to happen, projects that support social exchange, identity and social infrastructure need to be funded. 

#Stakeholderengagement. Meaningful engagement and collaboration between different stakeholders is key. We need to be creative in how we do this. 

#Youth. Young people should be empowered in the just transition process, concretely now in the implementation phase of the plans, to enable youth to shape the future they want to live in. An example was given of how this could be done through the format of Citizens’ Assemblies. In 2024, the Commission plans to launch a Youth Task Force. 

#Education. Education on climate and just transition needs to be improved to fill the gap in basic understanding of these issues. Language should also be adapted to be more appealing to young people. 

#Narratives. New narratives are needed to change mindsets and facilitate positive perceptions of just transitions. This can be done by creating a movement around the JTF and its opportunities. 

A highlight of the event was Commissioner Elisa Ferreira sharing her experiences of the different situations in just transition regions from her visits to regions across Europe. She stressed the need to stay true to our projects and to create “beautiful projects”. Commissioner Elisa Ferreira also called for broad and inclusive participation across sectors and levels of governance. This call is very much appreciated by the JUSTEM project as we aim to improve citizen participation in the just transition process. 


Acting for just energy transitions where coal is king

It’s a critical time for energy transitions: on one side, “code red” lights up for net-zero targets; on the other side, some EU member states call for a smoother phase-out of coal to compensate for the shortage of fossil gas and high energy prices caused by the Russian war on Ukraine.

'Just Transition - from Needs and Concerns to a New Vision through Projects'

The SOCIAL INSTITUTE JIU VALLEY (AISVJ) – the Romanian partner in the JUSTEM consortium will organize an interactive workshop, which will take place on October 12, 2023, Petroșani, Jiu Valley, Romania”

Workshop agenda



The reception of the guests

Sabina Irimie, AISVJ



Welcome speech

The representative of the University of Petroșani, the academic partner of the event.



Transition in the Jiu Valley

Adina Vințan,

Valea Jiului Society



Involvement of the Integrated Territorial Development Association of the Jiu Valley in the transition of the Jiu Valley

Alexandru Kelemen – Executive Director ADTIVJ



Coffee break




Transition in the Jiu Valley – Practical activity




Presentation of the JUSTEM project in the context of the Jiu Valley transition

Sabina Irimie, AISVJ




Project selection criteria and questionnaire application

Adrian Pal, AISVJ





"Transition, Energy Poverty, and Projects" Invitation to WORKSHOP

The SOCIAL INSTITUTE JIU VALLEY (AISVJ) – the Romanian partner in the JUSTEM consortium will organize an interactive workshop, which will take place today, September 20, 2023, at 5 PM in the University Library of Petroșani.

Workshop agenda

WORKSHOP Conference Room at the University Library of PETROȘANI

  • 16:30 – 17:00 Welcome of Guests – Sabina Irimie, AISVJ
  • 17:00 – 17:20 Welcome Address on behalf of the University of Petroșani, the academic partner of the event – Prof. Dr. Eng. Maria Lazăr – Vice-Rector for Scientific Research and International Relations
  • 17:20 – 17:45 Presentation of the JUSTEM project in the context of the transition – Sabina Irimie, AISVJ
  • 17:45 – 18:00 Energy Poverty – Adrian Pal, AISVJ
  • 18:00 – 18:15 Integrated Territorial Development Association Jiu Valley – Presentation, Responsibilities, Projects – Alexandru Kelemen – Executive Director of ADTIVJ
  • 18:15 – 18:30 Jiu Valley Attractive: Opportunities for All-Season Integrated Tourism – Architect Mihai Danciu – Urban Lab Jiu Valley Association
  • 18:30 – 19:30 Debates and Conclusions – Sabina Irimie, AISVJ Moderator

Leaving no one behind

Just energy transitions must put people and communities at the center of the transformation. Regional plans must address the drivers of energy poverty and observe the needs and fears of coal workers, the youth, and overall population, so that they won’t be cast aside by a greener economy.

The JUSTEM project will address a wide range of transition-related issues that go beyond the purely technical aspects and include health, structural development, re-training of workers, and new economic opportunities.


Following a double-sided approach, JUSTEM will help regional authorities to develop plans that are sensitive to local impacts, while engaging citizens in capacity building activities tailored to increase acceptance and build confidence on a coal-free economy.

We need everyone on board to make Europe climate-neutral. Let’s make room for successful transition plans and empowered citizens.

JUSTEM Region to Region learning workshop: 4 Key Challenges across Coal Regions

By Anna Mazur and Joanna Ogrodniczuk, KAPE

On 25 April, JUSTEM held its first cross-regional learning workshop with around 50 participants. The workshop had the aim to bring together different experts from the national level and the European Union to reflect and enable a mutual learning about ways to involve citizens in the development of territorial just transition plans (TJTP). 

The central themes of the workshop were just transitions from coal and the role of citizens within. We asked our workshop participants what a just transition means to them. Participants associated different aspects with just transitions, from the process itself to the solutions that need to be implemented. Anna Sobczak (DG ENER, Just Transitions and EUI Florance School of Regulation), highlighted the essence of Just Transition in the EU context. She referred to the 3 key elements of the definition quoted in the Paris Agreement: justice; inclusiveness understood as partnership, dialogue; engagement and creating decent work opportunities – ensuring that no one is left behind. 

Myriam Boveda (DG REGIO, Unit G1 “Smart and Sustainable Growth”) outlined that 67 TJTP have been prepared for 93 territories. Key priority areas for the planned investments from the Just Transition Fun are economic diversification and support to small and medium size companies, as well as sills and job-search assistance.

At the event, representatives from JUSTEM’s mining regions, Rumyana Grozeva, Patrica Bosich, Maria Belarmina Diaz Aguado, Dariusz Stankiewcz and Anastasios Sidiropoulos, shared their perspectives, experiences and good practices in a discussion. Four key common challenges in just transition processes were identified in the discussion.

At the event, representatives from JUSTEM’s mining regions, Rumyana Grozeva, Patrica Bosich, Maria Belarmina Diaz Aguado, Dariusz Stankiewcz and Anastasios Sidiropoulos, shared their perspectives, experiences and good practices in a discussion. Four key common challenges in just transition processes were identified in the discussion.


  • Just Transition communication

All discussants stressed the need to change the way of communication about the reasons and impacts of the process. Negative communication that focuses on problems such as job losses and costs for local companies results in negative thinking among citizens in coal mining regions. More emphasis should be placed on building people’s trust, communicating the benefits of the transition, and the new opportunities for citizens and their children.


It is necessary to communicate the topic in simple, easy-to-understand language. The use of technical jargon makes it very difficult to involve citizens in co-decision-making.

New visions for the region should be developed together with citizens and communicated in a positive and attractive way.

  • Level of governance

Another barrier to the smooth implementation of the just transition process is often the centralised approach to its management. In some cases, regional authorities have been invited to participate in the preparation of the just transition plan quite late, or not at all. This, in turn, implied that the element of involving citizens in the creation of TJTPs was often ignored. Citizens in these regions often did not have the opportunity to express their needs and concerns about significant changes in their region.

Participants were consistent in pointing to the need to decentralise the management of the process  to fulfil the definition of a just transition in terms of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘justice’. Plans cannot be separated from the real needs and expectations of regional citizens.

Moreover, centralised decision-making creates the risk of bypassing important regional stakeholders, not only local citizens. In some coal-mining regions, communication between the central and regional levels was also a problem, often leading to the confusion about the division of tasks and the extent of involvement of local stakeholders.

This underlined the importance of regional and local decision-making powers to ensure that transition processes are embedded in broader socio-economic and energy policy transformations.

  • Stakeholder engagement

To ensure that the plans are tailored to the needs of all those living in coal regions, the consultation process must be universal and include the voices of those who will be directly affected by the energy transition.

In different regions, the level of citizen involvement varied and took different forms. Often it was through public consultations and social dialogue.

A great example is the Silesia Region in Poland, where three series of consultations were held with 2,000 people.


Unfortunately, in most regions, the preparation of the plans took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and the process was partly carried out online, which was a major challenge for the regions.

The participants emphasised the importance to engage different actors, also “smaller players” such as citizens and small and medium size companies in the TJTP implementation phase. People must be empowered and entrepreneurial spirits used.

  • Long-lasting transition process

Transitions are a challenge of the times and there will be winners and losers. Depending on their age, citizens have different needs, expectations and desires for change.

Some participants stressed the importance of focusing on the future. However, visions for the future are often lacking. Therefore, it is important to develop common visions and goals for a greener future and to involve citizens in this process.