On 13 October 2021, Smart Citizens for Decarbonisation, an online webinar was successfully held. Aiming at reflecting on the social effects of decarbonisation policies, several interesting experiences from mature European carbon-intensive territories were shared in the event.
On 13 October 2021, Smart Citizens for Decarbonisation, an online webinar was successfully held. Aiming at reflecting on the social effects of decarbonisation policies, several interesting experiences from mature European carbon-intensive territories were shared in the event. Participants made presentations about the role of regional and local government in promoting inclusiveness and citizen’s engagement when combatting the undesired effects of decarbonisation.
Professor Garcia-Mira from University of A Coruña was the keynote speaker of the event. In his presentation, Professor Garcia-Mira showed us a conceptual approach to integrate the socio-economic-psychological change of the energy transition into the regional innovation planning process by introducing the concept of engaging citizens. He gave answers to several questions in his speech such as what engaging citizens are and what incentives the governments and society could provide to booster citizen engagement. A change in the governance of the system which requires informed and responsible citizens alongside laws that regulate citizens’ participation, are, from his view, what is needed in order to engage citizens. One specific project called ENTRANCES can be a perfect example of how to involve citizens. It is a project that requires a set of co-creation scenarios to achieve the transition of clean energy in the social aspects. The project has different objectives in many aspects of society hence, it requires a multidimensional and interdisciplinary perspective to resolve the problem. He elaborated on how they will bring together different members involved in the project across regions. In the end, he presented an interesting case about coal mining regions and carbon-intensive regions, illustrating how different countries, regions, industries and organizations can work together to cope with challenges.
Through this, people got to know more about the real experience of conducting projects. One story was presented by Jan Sienkiewicz who has been working for the Regional Development Agency in Bielsko-Biała for 17 years. In his sharing, he introduced his tasks and initiatives in relation to sustainable development and low emissions that have been carried out in the agency. Furthermore, he showed us how the city cooperates with different regions and agencies by joining the Covenant of Mayors. Several interesting environment-related projects that local governments and citizens are currently taking part of were presented as well by Jan Sienkiewicz.
What cannot be ignored when we analyse regional economy and innovation is the power of the youth. In this section, Mr Kostas Karamarkos, co-founder of Just Transition Institute Greece, made a presentation about views on decarbonization. The context is that by 2028, all ignite power plants will cease to operate in Greece resulting in the loss of many jobs in this industry as well as adverse impact on regional economy. He expanded this issue to the role that the youth may play. He said that despite the financial crisis and the fact that many young people are leaving their hometown, young people are still the main driver for innovation and thus should be the target of actions and funds. The society should invest on the youth via universities. He explained how Just Transition Funds can help and support the youth to overcome the structural changes that are happening now.
Another story shared to participants is about decarbonization and employment in which Ms Émeline Beaume encouraged the audience to live a green life and governments to offer citizens more carbonized services. She also introduced a training course that has been set up since last July named “Biogas Maintenance Technician,” which is about ecological transition aimed at giving people job opportunities. It is of great importance for everyone in their own territory as she emphasizes, to take actions about employment in the context of ecological transition. Ms Natasa Djordjevic, the Assistant Director of the Regional Agency for economic development of Sumadija in Serbia, also addressed and expanded the topics of skills and employment and talked about resolutions of her agency in dealing with the issue.
The event ended with a question-and-answer portion with the panelists.
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