Published on April 2, 2020

Zelenskyi says Ukrainian coal regions need a just transition

The just transition of coal mining towns must become state policy, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, declared during the national meeting of Coal Workers of Ukraine held on February 25th in Kyiv.

Volodymyr Zelenskyi has publicly announced the creation of the Coal Transition Coordinating Center, which will be headed by the Deputy Prime Minister and include representatives of coal enterprises, local authorities and heads of regional state administrations.

“People are our priority #1. Therefore, the transformation of coal regions must be a just one. It is (…) a long process, during which coal will be needed and we need to gradually create socio-economic opportunities for the development of the regions. To this end, the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development will develop a national program for a just – I want to emphasise just – transition of coal regions. Its main principle is that no mine can be closed until workers get a new job. Safe and with decent pay,” Volodymyr Zelenskyi said.

The aforementioned program should also address the issue of social security for miners and pensioners, the development of modern infrastructure and services in coal mining towns, the creation of a mechanism for access to education for miners’ children through the creation of a special scholarship fund, and others.

In June 2019, Ecoaction and Germanwatch presented a study on “Transformation Experiences of Coal Regions: Recommendations for Ukraine and other European countries“. After analysing the processes of coal enterprises’ closures in Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic and some towns in Ukraine, the researchers developed a list of specific recommendations for the government at the national and local levels on how to manage coal mines’ shutdowns with less negative social and economic consequences.

We would like to remind that on May 21st, 2019, representatives of local authorities and civil society of Vuhledar, Dobropillia, Myrnohrad, Novohrodivka, Pokrovsk and Selidove signed a Memorandum of Partnership and created a Platform for Sustainable Development of Coal Towns of Donetsk Region. Such cooperation will help to implement the principles of sustainable development; strengthen partnership through social and economic development of the communities; transform the image of territories; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise the level of well-being of the population.

This blog post was first published on the website of Eco-action Ukraine.