21. February 2023Powering the just transition through youth engagement – A Recap

This blog is in response to CINTRAN's fifth webinar in the Coal+ Regions in Transition event series. The webinar took place on 8 February 2023 and presented on “Powering the just transition through youth engagement.” The webinar recording and presentation can be found at the end of the blog.


Being the resource of the future, the youth’s voices are not always heard when it comes to planning and implementing the just transition in European coal, peat, oil shale and carbon-intensive (coal+) regions. Nevertheless, young people will be the ones ultimately shaping the world that we leave behind, and therefore should have a stronger say in how to make it a better place. Progress has already been made on this front, especially with 2022 having been the European Year of Youth, but what is the current status of youth’s role in these transformations? How can they be further engaged in the just transition process?

The fifth online event of the CINTRAN capacity-building programme for the coal+ regions brought together practitioners’ voices from several European coal regions to help us understand how decision-makers can effectively bring youth on board in planning and implementation, and thereby jointly addressing their needs and expectations of the just transition.

Within this interactive webinar, participants learned more about the importance of the oft-ignored youth perspective in coal+ regions. Speakers included: Lorenzo Manca (Generation Climate Europe), Julia Politševa (People With Purpose Liit, in Ida-Viru), Topaloglou Elefterio (Association of Local Governments of Western Macedonia), and Agata Kuźmińska (Green Future Institute, in Wielkopolska).

To give a glimpse of what this session covered, we asked all speakers to answer the question of the hour: What is one thing you want your region to improve regarding youth engagement? They then provided us their top recommendation for other regions to follow. Have a look at their responses below.

Lorenzo Manca (Generation Climate Europe)

Regarding Italy, the regions of Puglia and Sardinia urgently need to reach out to local youth and find a way (through schools, associations, NGOs, youth movements…) to have it represented in the management of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM). The in-transparency and exclusion of civil society that the JTM is experiencing in Italy cannot be tolerated.

Regarding all regions supported by the JTM, my recommendation is for them to facilitate and promote with their national governments the inclusion of at least one youth representative in the committees monitoring the implementation of the JTM. It is fundamental that the input of youth remains throughout the implementation of the JTM.

Julia Policheva (People With Purpose Liit, in Ida-Viru)

The main message, aimed to engage the youth, needs to include a list of benefits that the youth will get by engaging in the region’s development. If one can successfully convince the youth that their participation will bring them higher life quality and more opportunities, they will have the motivation to be involved. The list of benefits should be concrete like: more job and travelling opportunities, more places to take part in social events, etc. Popular social media such as Tik-Tok and Instagram should be the place, where the youth can learn more about the just transition.

My one recommendation: avoid vague messages. Deliver information in a fun and interactive ways. Involve popular social media influencers. Notice the active youth members and take their opinions into consideration.

Lefteris Topaloglou (Association of Local Governments of Western Macedonia)

It is necessary to pass a clear message that youth participation matters. Therefore the political system, as reflected at the national and local levels, ought to give young people the space to express their views regarding the just transition. It is also important the provision of the appropriate means (capacity building, knowledge platforms etc) to put their ideas and contributions into practice.

So for one recommendation: we should open up our ears to different stories and perspectives on how they will be affected by the upcoming transition.

Dive deeper into the discussion by watching the full webinar on “Powering the just transition through youth engagement” here.

Find the slides of keynote speaker, Lorenzo Manca (Generation Climate Europe) here.

Still wanting more? Don`t miss our next webinar! Look out for all the latest info on the event series here.