Kostadinov: We need a socially just energy transition as soon as possible, justice especially towards vulnerable groups of citizens in times of crisis is hope and a foundation for a new beginning 

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Socially just environmental transformation is the topic that progressive leaders, representatives of civil society, the academic community, trade unions, young people and journalists are debating this weekend in Skopje, as part of the Socio-ecological forum. 

The second panel on the topic “Reshaping our cities through climate positive development” was addressed by the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Kaja Shukova, as well as mayors from cities in North Macedonia, Albania, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The mayor of Valandovo Municipality, Pero Kostadinov, said that justice, as a universal value towards which we strive, especially towards vulnerable groups of citizens, in times of crisis represents hope and a foundation for a new beginning. 

“Social justice in times of crisis is the essential pillar through which society remains just and worth sustaining. Social democracy, as a political doctrine, is more than necessary today. Now is the time for bold social democratic policies and determined individuals who strongly believe in them. We need an energy transition as soon as possible, in which all groups of citizens will participate. Green energy available to every single person is a common goal. We continue forward, responsibly”, said Kostadinov. 

Marin Gregorović, mayor of Cres (Republic of Croatia), said that he expects that in 20-30 years, Cres to be an island with zero emissions of harmful particles, thanks to the waste management project. 

“We are starting a project with the production of hydrogen and the production of electricity from hydrogen. We will produce electricity from the bio-waste, for which we have obtained all the necessary permits,” said Gregorović. 

Minister Shukova emphasized that the Government and the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, as the responsible institution for climate change, are strongly committed to dealing with climate change and effective implementation of the Law on Climate Action, once it is adopted. 

“This, among other things, would mean that we are committed to continuous capacity building for climate activities, aimed at all stakeholders, government institutions and local governments, the public and private sectors, civil society organizations, youth, vulnerable groups, among which the strong cooperation is from essential meaning. We have proven partners in scientific institutions, whose knowledge will be further leveraged in meeting our ambitious climate goals. Our generation is witnessing the catastrophic impacts of climate change on a global level and on all sectors, from infrastructure to food security and health of the people”, Shukova said. 

The second panel was addressed by Emiriana Sako, mayor of the Albanian city of Durrës, Anja Margetić Stakić, deputy mayor of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Dean Kocić, a representative of the Ponikva Energy Cooperative from Krk, Republic of Croatia. 

They emphasized that in countries where citizens face energy poverty, ecological transformation is not only a technical, but also an economic and political issue. Addressing it properly requires changes in policies, businesses and in the entire community.