In order to be considered “just” and “inclusive”, energy transition processes need to ensure fairness via equal distribution, full recognition of rights and labour contributions, equal participation in decision-making procedures, and equal capabilities in renewable energy outcomes1.
This is why it is crucial to conceive a “just energy transition” NOT as a fixed set of rules, but rather as a vision, a process based on dialogue and an agenda for a participatory framework that prioritizes the needs and concerns of local residents, particularly vulnerable stakeholders. Engaging communities, bottom-up, is also critical to realizing the full potential of renewable energy sources and prioritize the feedback from local people on the suitability of certain project developments, as well as establishing an inclusive and just supply chain process2.
Against this backdrop, also in the Energy Community concrete steps are needed to ensure that a move away from fossil fuels in the Contracting Parties, instead of replicating inequalities, is socially just, in the interest of women, workers and entire communities. The objectives of the Energy Community Just Transition Initiative are to:
- Enhance institutional arrangements that support just processes in the energy sector to deliver more equitable outcomes;
- Support an inclusive, bottom-up engagement, where policy-makers prioritize the feedback from local communities on the suitability of energy project developments; and
- Promote cross-sectoral projects (coal regions in transitions, energy poverty, gender equality, clean air) between the energy sector (industry, coal mines, utilities) and other departments (such as the public sector, academia, innovation hubs, IFIs) to develop inclusive energy policies, programs, or financing schemes.
- Encourage regular communication and exchange of best practices in the fields of energy poverty, gender equality, coal regions in transition and clean air.
The Energy Community Secretariat manages four interlinked projects, which together represent the key dimensions of the Just Transition Initiative.