In late December 2019 mayors of 6 coal mining towns of Donetsk region (Eastern Ukraine), which are all a part of the Platform for Sustainable Development created earlier in the year, joined the Forum of Mayors on Just Transition and signed the Declaration of Mayors on Just Transition. Ukraine became the 11th signatory country.
The first unveiling of the initiative took place at the October’s meeting of the European Commission’s Coal Regions in Transition Platform in Brussels. With the support of WWF Germany mayors from Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Czechia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina made a joint statement and demonstrated to the EU leadership the political will to make decisive changes at the local level.
In the Declaration mayors:
- recognizing that Europe’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the European strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy by 2050 will entail the decarbonization of the European economy;
- express their distress that coal and lignite mining regions across Europe will face unprecedented social and economic challenges as a result Europe’s transition towards a net zero emissions economy;
- encourage national governments to engage in transparent and inclusive dialogue with all regional stakeholders in lignite/mining regions in order to prepare transition plans and include them in energy, climate and sustainable development strategies;
- recognize that local communities have to be included in all transition processes from the beginning;
- urge that appropriate mechanisms are made available at the national and European levels for capacity building and to ensure direct access and scaled-up financial support for the implementation of just transition.
“We see a living example of how, in the face of an unambitious national policies, municipalities of the mining regions take up climate leadership in European countries. The involvement of Ukrainian cities in this initiative once again signals an understanding of the need and possible problems of just transition at the local level.
In my opinion, this is something completely new, such a discourse was completely absent just 5 years ago, and should attract the attention of Ukrainian government”, – comments Kostiantyn Krynytskyi, Just Transition Campaign Coordinator at Ecoaction.
The full text of the Declaration of Mayors on Just Transition can be found here. Currently, there are 49 signatures from mayors of 12 coal regions.