As part of the European Green Deal strategy and building on the experience of the Initiative for coal regions in transition (CRiT), a platform established in 2017 to help EU countries and coal regions address the economic and social challenges of structural change, the European Commission launched the Initiative for coal regions in transition in the Western Balkans and Ukraine in December 2020.
It aims to support coal regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine moving away from coal mining towards a carbon-neutral economy. The initiative, managed by the European Commission, the World Bank, the Energy Community Secretariat, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Polish National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the College of Europe in Natolin, provides a platform for the exchange of experience, knowledge and best practices on structural change issues, as well as support to affected coal regions in areas including governance, community engagement, environmental reclamation and land conversion.
A Brussels-based secretariat, established by the European Commission in February 2021, provides direct support to affected coal regions in implementing the initiative by ensuring exchange and cooperation between stakeholders in the coal regions. The secretariat is co-run by Ecorys, Climate Strategies, ICLEI Europe and the Wuppertal Institute. The role of the Wuppertal Institute is to provide scientific advice and support the planning and realisation of the exchange processes.