We are all aware that we are at a pivotal moment in our history, when a profound paradigm shift is taking place in all areas. A moment which requires a change in dimension to strengthen the attractiveness and resilience of our territories in terms of energy and environment
– Jean-François Dubost, Vice-Mayor of Aix-en-Provence in charge of Economy and Digital.

On May 30, 2023 the authorities of the French Aix-en-Provence and the capital of Upper Silesia met in Katowice to talk and share their experiences from the climate transformation carried out in their regions.

Thinking about sustainable development, in order to achieve change, we must be in an open and constructive dialogue with all stakeholders – said Jean-François Dubost, Vice-Mayor of Aix-en-Provence. – To create a dynamic territorial development we have managed to work out a method of communication between the city and its partners. It revolves around 4 pillars: more fluid mutual information on the needs and projects, dedicated communication on the strategic priorities, measuring of the progress made at regular intervals and finally – we need to strengthen citizen dialogue and make issues related to energy and ecological transition an opportunity for democratic renewal – he stressed.

– It may come as a surprise but French CAPA region and Polish Upper Silesia, despite several differences, share a number of similarities in the field of energy and environmental transition. Hence, I am especially happy we had the opportunity to discuss just transition in Aix-en-Provence earlier this year and continue this vital conversation here in Katowice, just a few hundred meters away from the COP24 venue – said Micha Kurtyka.

The meeting in Katowice was a continuation of the conference that took place on 23rd March in Aix-en-Provence. Its guest of honor and main speaker was Michal Kurtyka, former Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland and President of COP24, which took place in 2018 in Katowice.

We spoke about this event with Gérard Roth, member of Rotary Club in Aix-en-Provence and former Senior Ex VP EDF for Continental Europe, who was the initiator of the conference.

Gérard Roth: I wanted to help my City to boost the climate transition strategy. I thought that a conference, bringing together everybody engaged in the business, politics, NGO stakeholders, etc. would give a clear signal in which direction the development of the region had to go. The Mayor, Sophie Joissains and the Vice-Mayor Jean-François Dubost, shared this way of thinking. I introduced them to Michał Kurtyka, who is a good friend of mine, and they immediately agreed that Michał should become the keynote speaker and a star-guest on this event. I knew of course that Michał Kurtyka was currently working on his 5P project and I am happy to see that Aix-en-Provence is becoming one of the pillars of this initiative.
This event has been organized by the City together with 330 companies and officials. It was divided into two parts. In the morning we had an event with business and public officials. The opening speech was delivered by Sophie Joissains and the keynote speech by Michał Kurtyka. Then two round tables took place. The first one focused on technical solutions in energy transition with the participation of the CEOs of the main companies in the region. The second round table evolved around financing the transitions. This meeting was attended by representatives of major banks, European founds, public aids, etc.
The meeting was followed by a press conference. The Mayor made a public statement that from now the ecological and just transition will be in the core of the city’s strategy for the future.
The second part of the event took place in the evening and it was a conference organized in partnership with the 14 regional Rotary Clubs and we hosted 440 people. We assumed that if you want to talk about ecological transition you have to involve not only politicians, city representatives and business but also the associations working with environment and invite them to a public debate. Michal Kurtyka was our keynote speaker and Jean-François Dubost delivered the ambition of the City regarding the ecology transition.

An additional benefit of our meeting was the collection of 25,000 euros for the reforestation in our region, South of France. In the fall, when the tree planting season begins, we will be able to start working. We will also involve schools and local organizations in this program through which we will promote education on biodiversity.
We had an opportunity to meet again with Michal Kurtyka – this time he invited us to Katowice. His 5P project is based on the idea of a network of cities working together and exchanging their experiences in terms of ecology transition. In this spirit Jean François Dubost had a chance to present the achievements form Aix-en-Provence. This meeting helped to bring together people and ideas and creates the basis for further cooperation with Upper Silesia region.

Just Transition Magazine
Photos: Valérie Hage https://www.valeriehagecreation.fr