Editorial - Towards a Just Green Economy Transition

Concluding year one of our GreenFORCE endeavor, we find ourselves in a stage where we dive deep in the concept and research of the green and just transition in the Western Balkans while developing our internal capacities. Many of our processes have kicked off along with numerous activities and various events which have showcased our intentions for achieving the goals initially set with the expectation of positive feedback and support.

On the just green transition journey of the Western Balkan region, in line with the EU ambition to become climate-neutral by 2050, the WB region has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and to aligning with the European Green Deal’s key elements by endorsing the Green Agenda for the Western Balkan (GAWB) and the GAWB Action Plan and inevitably join the global transition journey.

Like any transformation, the green transition on the scale necessary to hold down climate change also implies: job losses, altered livelihoods, lost public and private revenues and not necessarily immediate and direct benefits that instantly accrue. The transition will entail changes on how energy and food needs are met, how natural resources are used, etc. causing both social and economic stirrings. Thus, a strong political support at all levels is needed, demanding policy consensus not only on a local or national level but with much wider scope to take into account the well-being of affected communities.

The journey of transition to an environmentally sustainable future entails justice in itself, as the way how it is implemented matters. People, countries and future generations can be placed in vulnerable situations affected from climate change and the process that governs these. As governments seek to find ways to handle the ever-growing convolution of crises one-on-top of another, namely climate change, pandemics, energy, development challenges, etc. the concept of a green economy transition where ‘no one is left behind’ has been gaining momentum among the WB countries as well. Anticipating the impacts of green transition, guaranteeing institutional support and ensuring a fair process throughout implementation are key elements, particularly for a developing region such as the WB.

The WB countries face challenges on the question of ‘how’ the transition will be done. The WB countries are still lacking integrated systemic governance structures and policies that will horizontally tackle the issue of just transition at national and even more at regional levels, which encompass clear implementation plans, formal governance structures, and have a monitoring and reporting system in place to support a just transition within existing and new supporting legislation. With the GreenFORCE project activities we aim to assist in answering this question and contribute towards the just green transition journey of the Western Balkans.


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