As part of a newly published toolkit for youth participation in the Just Transition Fund, the European Commission recognized our TBI project: Youth, City and Heritage as a good practice. The project was implemented in 2015-2017 by Idrija Youth Centre and Idrija 2020 Association. The toolkit will be important in the implementation of the new EU programme where young people are identified as one of the fundamental target groups to which decision-makers will need to pay particular attention.
In January 2020, the European Commission proposed an establishment of a Just Transition Fund, which will provide financial assistance to regions and sectors that are expected to be the most affected by the transition to a climate-neutral economy in accordance with the European Green Deal. In Slovenia, two regions are already eligible for the fund - Zasavska and Savinjska, while Goriška (which also includes the Municipality of Idrija), Gorenjska and Koroška regions are still pending for eligibility.
The fund is intended for regions that were economically highly dependent on heavy industry in the past. Therefore, the European Commission paid special attention to the unique story of Idrija – once the second-largest producer of mercury in the world - with a special focus on the TBI: Youth, City and Heritage project.
TBI: Youth, City and Heritage took place in the UNESCO Heritage town of Idrija in 2015-2017, organized by the members of the Idrija 200 Association under the governance of the Idrija Youth Centre. As part of an interdisciplinary urban planning workshop, young people from several European countries met and formulated 60 proposals for the development of Idrija in the 21st century. In doing so, they paid more attention to the involvement of young people and cultural heritage in the city's future development. From the very beginning, the project had the support of local authorities, which certainly contributed to the quality of the proposals and the subsequent implementation of ideas. At the end of the project, the proposals were presented as part of a pop-up exhibition in the former entrance building of the Kajzer shaft in Idrija and at the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana.
In the toolkit for youth participation in the Just Transition Fund, the TBI project is selected as one of 30 good practices from across the European Union. It will help decision-makers in pursuing strategic and fruitful conversations with young people. The authors of the toolkit highlighted many positive aspects of the project - involving a wider local population in the method process, connecting young people and local decision-makers, and encouraging young people to pursue their interests in the future development of their local community.
The Future Depends on Young People
In the introduction to the toolkit, Marc Lemaître, Director-General of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, stressed that young people need to be actively involved in the Just Transition Fund's governance. History shows that lack of involvement of young people negatively affected the development of the local community, environment, and consequentially economy of these areas.
By recognizing the mentioned issues, we are developing with partners a new strategy for youth in the Municipality of Idrija in 2021. Recently, we’ve published a booklet A step towards a better rural youth work with a focus on the rural youth policies.
Youth for a just transition - A toolkit for youth participation in the Just Transition Fund: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/guides/2021/youth-for-a-just-transition-a-toolkit-for-youth-participation-in-the-just-transition-fund