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Building public consensus among all stakeholders is key for Just Transition
Ranchi, 20 October, 2021 : For building public consensus on the initiative of Just Transition across party lines including all key stakeholders, Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) organised a dialogue today that was aimed to prepare the State for future ready pathways in the wake of resource depletion along with ensuring livelihood and economic security in the region. Since as an idea just transition facilitates a vision of a forward looking economy that essentially puts social justice, sustainability and a low carbon future at the center-stage with providing robust livelihood opportunities for the people, it was overwhelmingly supported by leading political parties including Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), All Jharkhand Student Union (AJSU) Party beyond ideological differences to enable the state to move towards the sustainable pathways. Along the same lines, CEED has also launched an initiative “Just Transition Resource Centre” which engages in research, knowledge sharing, networking and capacitation of diverse stakeholders at the subnational level.
As a transformative idea, just transition in resource rich economies has gained momentum due to imminent concern around resource curse and ill-effects of fossil fuel based economic model. The state of Jharkhand is also heading in this direction as the dominant development paradigm based on fossil fuels has led to economic loss and environment degradation impacting the subsistence livelihood options of millions of the people. Since all over the world key natural resources, like coal, are depleting fast, the potential implications on social equity and distributional benefits particularly in mining rich states like Jharkhand is very high and, hence, solicits for a transition that must be just and fair.
Elaborating the broader context and intent of the dialogue, Mr Ramapati Kumar, CEO of CEED said, “In order to facilitate Just transition, CEED has launched a ‘Resource Centre’ which will work as a common forum to facilitate research based discussion and help the state government to take informed decision in formulation of new policies and programs. it is high time that the state government must initiate a ‘Mission on Just Transition’ for bringing in enabling policy and financing framework with an implementation roadmap to ensure inclusive transition.” There has to be an interdepartmental and convergence approach since just transition is not confined only to energy and environment areas, which places the need of a multifaceted and inter-sectoral approach from key departments for effective planning and implementation, Mr Kumar further concluded.
Terming just transition a transformative idea for society, Shri Sanjay Seth, BJP MP said that we need to believe that social justice and development must go hand in hand; similarly just transition tries to achieve this in a sustainable manner. While endorsing the need of just transition, Shri Lobin Hembrom, JMM MLA said that we are aware of the challenges posed by the eventual depletion of the resources and are actively preparing ourselves by strongly looking towards the promising sectors of the economy for livelihood security. Echoing the same, Shri Pradeep Yadav, Congress MLA said that involving common people in the decision making process and public awareness is key, so we need to ensure that just transition will be a participatory process for bringing mutual benefits to all. Supporting the climate resilient economy in the state, Shri Lambodar Mahto, MLA, AJSU Party said that we need to safeguard our ecology and communities who are facing the burden of fossil fuel economy, therefore we need to support every measure to achieve the goals of sustainable transition.
Emphasising on the alternative way out, Prof SK Samdarshi, Director, Centre for Excellence in Green Energy & Efficient Technology (Central University of Jharkhand) told that to offset the challenges of loss of jobs in the eventual phase out of coal and other resources, there must be a clear identification of the alternative sectors and new skill development programs to capacitate people for the suitable employments. In fact, just energy transition complements it, where one of key components will be renewable energy. Therefore, infusion of cleaner energy and greener technology in every spheres of the economy will play a prominent role.
A technical session also deliberated on the current status and the way forward for the inclusive transition, where Prof Ramesh Sharan (former Vice Chancellor of Vinoba Bhave University) brought forward the economic rationale in favour of the transition, while Prof Tanushree Bhattacharya (Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra) and Prof Nitish Priyadarshi (Ranchi University) put forward the climate resilient related argument in the wake of rising pollution and economic loss due to the fossil fuel based model. The panel unanimously called for restructuring and diversification of the state economy, well-structured governance mechanism, proper financing and investment management, arranging alternative livelihood opportunities and building social and physical infrastructure to make transition more sustainable and climate resilient.
The event witnessed participation of various stakeholders from the government departments & agencies, research think-tanks, academic institutions, and prominent civil society organisations across the state to bring a new era of sustainability for achieving the larger goal of inclusive development in the state.