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University of Western Macedonia and Just Transition Institute Greece: Visit to Ireland for the #ExchangeEU program

The Midlands Region of Ireland hosted for 2 days a Greek delegation consisting of the Rector of the University of Western Macedonia of Macedonia Theodoros Theodoulidis and officials of the Just Transition Institute Greece for the European Commission #ExchangeEU program, which facilitates cooperation and exchange between EU coal, lignite, peat and oil shale regions to foster a just energy transition.

The aim of the visit was to create strong foundations for cooperation between the two regions that will allow the support and promotion of a just energy transition towards local communities. 
During the two-day visit, the Greek delegation was informed by workshops and seminars about the project implemented by the Regional Transition Team of the Midlands Region within the framework of the National Just Transition Fund. In parallel, site visits were made to major projects delivered through the National Just Transition Fund, including Ferbane Business and Technology Park, Lough Boora Discovery Park, Kilcormac Development Association, Lough Ree Access For All, Lanesboro Food Hub and Co:worx

The main conclusions drawn concern the ways in which the Irish Region, which is still in the planning phase of the Just Transition Program for the resources coming from the European Union, has used the available National Resources of the last 5 years in a number of projects and actions with economic and strong social impact. Among them, the unemployed, the underemployed, the disabled, immigrants and special population groups have the opportunity either to be employed in projects – actions of the Transition or to utilize them as users of services and products.

This strategy shows that it is a successful practice that mobilizes citizens and at the same time makes them aware of Transition and Climate Change issues, going beyond the tactics of a simple information on developments.

The Irish participants on the two-day visit were members of the Regional Enterprise Program Team, the Midlands Regional Transition Team, Technological University of the Shannon , Trinity College Dublin, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board, MidlandsRegional Skills Forum, , Eastern & Midlands Regional Assembly, Offaly Local Development Company, and Offaly Comhairle na nOg
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