The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
The Civil Society Organisations' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in partnership with Irish Rural Link (IRL), the national network representing the interest of rural communities, are holding a joint conference on 'Just Transition' next Thursday, 9 June in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
The event will explore the topic of 'Just Transition' from multiple angles and speakers will debate the necessity for, as well as the opportunities emanating from 'Just transitions' in the following three panels:
Strengthening communities and building capacities through recreation and heritage;
Creating jobs and delivering renewable energy;
Investing in education and training.
The conference will also hear about the work to date of the‘Connecting Communities with Peatlands’ project by IRL and Community Wetlands Forum and funded under the National Just Transition Fund. The project aims to support community engagement with peatlands by providing capacity-building training and workshops to community groups to develop projects with peatlands that are beneficial to their local areas and the environment.
The conference will take place in the Bridge House Hotelfrom 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It will be opened by Minister Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, with guest speakers; Kieran Mulvey, Just Transition Commissioner; Cllr. Declan Harvey, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council and Séamus Boland, President of the Civil Society Organisations' Group of the EESC and CEO of Irish Rural Link.
Speaking about the conference, Séamus Boland, said: I am delighted to be able to bring the my EESC Group to Tullamore to see first-hand how Just Transition is being implemented in an area which has been impacted most by the measures needed to address climate change. It is also important to highlight the vital role communities play in a Just Transition and ensuring that they are involved and engaged with every step of the way.
Minister Pippa Hackett said: We stand in the doorway to transition – we can see the landscape ahead, some of us have dipped our toes in, but many of us are, understandably, reluctant to fully commit as to do so is to wave goodbye to what we know, what we understand. Civil Society Organisations have a tremendously important role to play as communicators, mediators and animators of both the people most impacted and those legislating, at national and EU level, for transition. I welcome this conference as one more important step along the road for the most impacted regions of the EU, including our own Midlands region of Ireland.
Kieran Mulvey, Just Transition Commissioner said: Over the last number of months I have engaged with community groups across the Midlands region and sought their feedback in relation to the just transition process to date including the national JTF. The overwhelming response was that they feel that most communities require assistance in the development of proposals and would favour a stronger emphasis on partnership in call for proposals which would see communities partner with local authorities, or other experienced bodies to access funding. I have signposted this in the Just Transition Fourth Progress report and recommend that these issues be addressed so that communities can engage meaningfully in the JT process.
More information about this conference is available on the event web page.
Irish Rural Link represents the interests of locally based rural groups in disadvantaged and marginalised rural areas by highlighting problems, advocating appropriate policies, sharing experiences and examples of good practice. It has a membership of nearly 600 rural community groups dedicated to sustainable rural development and represents rural communities at a national and international level.