Youth today shaping Cohesion Policy for tomorrow - Episode 3

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As part of the European Commission’s Junior Professionals Programme, this initiative involved young staff members from various EC Directorates working together for youth. On behalf of DG REGIO, their main mission was to invite young people to get involved in the Just Transition Fund .

This new fund was created within the ambition of the European Green Deal to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The JTF is dedicated to carbon-intensive and fossil-fuel-dependent regions which will face the greatest challenges of the upcoming socio-economic transition. Young people’s future will be directly affected by this transition, and their needs, opinions, fears and hopes are an important part of the dialogue.

In this context, the project team prepared the ‘Toolkit for youth participation in the Just Transition Fund’. It aims to encourage more ambitious, meaningful and numerous participation opportunities for youth in the regions targeted by the JTF, and to ensure that the effects of such processes will lead to better-quality strategies and interventions addressing the challenges of the transition. The toolkit is accompanied by an Annex detailing examples of 30 best practices of youth participation from across Europe referenced throughout the guide.

As Marc Lemaître, Director-General, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, explains in the introduction to the toolkit: ‘The Youth for a just transition toolkit offers vital support for your work to involve young people in the implementation of the Just Transition Fund in your region, whether you are a region with well-established experiences of involving youth in policy process, or a region doing this for the first time […] Our collective task is to seize the opportunity offered by the transition to a cleaner, more efficient economy: the opportunity to give new life to our regions for decades to come. We will only succeed if we share this journey with Europe’s youth.’


Inspiration on the ground

The toolkit builds on extensive deskwork, literature review, and interviews with experts and stakeholders in the field of youth engagement and/or climate transition. Moreover, the project sought to directly involve young people, policymakers, youth organisations and academics in shaping the main design elements of the package to ensure it is as useful and as close as possible to the actual needs and challenges of both young people and the authorities working on the JTF. Most notably, a virtual participatory co-creation workshop was held for the target audiences during DG REGIO’s 2020 European Week of Regions and Cities on many of the themes covered by the initiative.

It is addressed in particular to those regional and local policymakers responsible for the implementation of the JFT, as well as other stakeholders involved in the transition. In this context, a special group of stakeholders includes young people living in the transition regions who have been inspired by the initiative to actively advocate for their involvement in JTF implementation. The toolkit may also be useful for other policies addressing a just transition.

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