Policy Brief: Enhancing Territorial Justice through the Territorial Just Transition Plans

The acceleration of extreme weather events highlights more than ever the need for a transition towards a carbon-neutral economy and society. Yet, such a transition, which is needed within a span of just a few decades, is not without risks. Such upheavals could mean that workers in sectors undergoing rapid change could find their jobs threatened if nothing is done. As the IPCC points out, prioritising equity, social, and climate justice is key in enabling a climate-resilient society.  

In 2020, the EU adopted the European Green Deal as its strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. It established the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM), mobilising €55 billion between 2021 and 2027 to be distributed to Member States to support their transition efforts. To access these funds, Member States are required to identify the territories in need of support and submit Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) for them.  

The Territorial Just Transition Plans could become pioneer examples of a well-conducted socially just transition. However, the latest policy brief published by the European Foundation for Progressive Studies (FEPS) in partnership with SOLIDAR, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the CEE Bankwatch Network shows that their implementation leaves much room for improvement in terms of procedural and distributive justice.  

This policy brief points out that the TJTPs tend to focus on economic diversification, whilst side-lining the environmental and social components of the transition. It recommends increasing transparency, inclusiveness and capacity-building, and maps strategy pathways such as the development of a decentralised administrative capacity to improve the just transition process. This way, the TJTPs can ensure effective procedural and distributive justice in the transition process to carbon neutrality.