Published on December 7, 2018

Local communities prepare for a post-coal future (Bankwatch side event at the COP24)

On Dec. 5, during the COP24 in Katowice, Bankwatch together with partners WWF Poland and Climate Reality Project, organised the side event ‘Local communities prepare for a post-coal future’. The discussion was focused on solutions found by citizens and local authorities from communities that are at the frontline of building futures without coal.

Speakers at the event were:

Alexandru Mustata (CEE Bankwatch)

Marta Anczewska (WWF Poland)

Elsa Velichkova (mayor of Bobov Dol, Bulgaria)

Alojz Vlcko (Prievidza municipality)

Patryk Bialas (Katowice city council, Climate Reality leader)

You can see a recording of the event here.

During the event, Mrs. Elsa Velichkova, mayor of Bobov Dol municipality in Bulgaria, where the largest underground mine in the country closed this year, said her community desperately needed help to implement a just transition. Mrs. Velichkova worried that central authorities are not supporting enough such efforts and expressed her willingness to cooperate with partners across central and eastern Europe and beyond to exchange experiences about just transition.

Alojz Vlcko, representing the Prievidza municipality, in Upper Nitra, Slovakia’s coal region, presented the Slovak example of creating an action plan for Prievidza and the Upper Nitra region through a bottom up participatory process that involved the local community and was driven by local authorities.

‘In central and eastern Europe, it is still an extraordinary act of courage to speak about the inevitable end of coal, as we have done in Prievidza,’ said Vlcko. ‘But in the recent elections people have shown that they prefer honesty and being prepared for the future – even if the transition may not be easy.’

Bankwatch launched its publication ‘Heroes of Just Transition. Stories of communities on the frontlines of post-coal futures in central and eastern Europe’ during the event.