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Coal-reliant regions in Ukraine are expected to transition away from fossil fuel and adopt new low-carbon energy resources using lessons learned by and measures adopted by Poland.

The Polish National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFEP&WM), the World Bank and the European Commission have launched an initiative to facilitate a knowledge exchange between coal regions in Poland and Ukraine.

The aim is to help both countries prepare for an energy transformation in the coming years, as well as assist countries in developing and implementing inclusive strategies for transitioning to low-carbon energy systems.

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The NFEP&WM will support study visits, conferences, and meetings organised by the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas and the Central Mining Institute.

The World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) and Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund and the European Commission will support Ukraine’s participation in the knowledge exchange.

Representatives from Ukraine’s public and private sectors will visit numerous Polish cities, including several in Silesia – Poland’s main coal region.

They will meet with counterparts to share their experiences addressing the transformation challenges specific to the coal mining regions, including regulatory, organisational, economic, social, spatial, and environmental issues.

Although Poland is still the largest hard coal producer in the European Union, the country has made impressive achievements in decoupling energy growth from economic growth. The lessons learned throughout this process will assist the Government of Ukraine, as it works on a transition plan for its coal mining regions.

The project falls within the framework of the Platform Initiative for Coal Regions in the Western Balkans and Ukraine, created in September 2019.

By providing advice, developing scientific ma,terials, and promoting cooperation between regions, the Platform aims to facilitate the process of the energy transition as well as the economic transformation of coal regions towards a low-carbon economy.

Artur Lorkowski, deputy president at the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, said: “For 31 years, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management has been a big promoter and sponsor of many successful environmental projects in Poland, including those aimed at improving economic prospects in regions dominated by coal mining.

“This enables us to share extensive experience gained in the ‘just transition’ process in Poland. Many cities and regions can boast about considerable achievements in this respect. We are glad that the experience of Polish cities and regions may be inspiring for our partners in Ukraine.”

Marcus Heinz, resident representative of the World Bank for Poland and the Baltic States, adds:  “Our new cooperation with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in the area of ‘just transition’ is a reflection of two basic objectives of the World Bank’s current program in Poland – supporting green growth and generating knowledge for the benefit of other countries.

“Our current flood protection projects on the Odra and Vistula rivers, or those carried out in cooperation with NFEP&WM, confirm that sustainable growth in Poland is of key importance to us.”