Ukraine-Germany Forum on coal region transformation “Approaches to Economic Diversification and Cooperation Between Central and Local Authorities”. Knowledge exchange with German coal regions and towns’ representatives, coordination of future steps for cooperation. Arranged by NGOs Germanwatch, Ecodiya, and “Alternatyva” Lugansk Oblast Human Rights Centre.
Collaboration with coal towns and regions from the very beginning of any transformational process. Local needs, interests, and responsibility of the coal towns’ communities themselves and their regions must be on the first place.
Accurate planning and setting specific dates for closing down unprofitable coal mines and phasing out coal usage. Lack of clear understanding of one’s own coal-mining enterprises’ future creates an obstacle for planning transformation of particular towns and gradual re-orientation of local economies.
Realization of pilot projects in the localities and diversification of the local economy. Special programmes, funds, and conditions to facilitate small-to-medium business development in mining towns and regions should be created to diversify the economy.
Education development may include establishing new educational institutions, centres for research and innovations at regional and local levels, as well as changing curriculums and converting existing vocational technical educational institutions.
Job retraining and social protection of fired miners. Special employment and job retraining programmes will help to relax tension among local residents who fear losing their jobs, incomes, and social benefits.
Ecology security for the population is the responsibility of all entities. Operation and especially closure of mines induces and escalates a number of environmental issues connected with pollution of ground and underground water reservoirs, soils, shaft waters pumpdown, etc.