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Bridging Organizations and Marginalised Communities for Local Sustainability Transitions in EuRope - BOLSTER

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The BOLSTER project (Bridging Organizations and marginalised communities for Local Sustainability Transitions in EuRope).

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme, BOLSTER is a 36-month project, with a total budget of nearly 3.8 million Euros, that is designed to understand how marginalized communities are affected by the European Green Deal (EGD)-related policies and to see if involving these communities in decision-making processes increases the support for transition plans. The project has 13 partners from 12 different countries that are working together on seven Work Packages (WPs) in order to make the BOLSTER project achieve its objectives, to actually succeed in helping marginalised communities and to become an example to other Horizon Europe related projects to come.

BOLSTER will deliver new scientific evidence on decarbonization transition strategies and how they intersect with various dimensions of inequality, such as gender, race, age and class. It will conceptualize the principle of leaving no one behind by developing participatory governance models and transition guidelines based on climate justice and gender equality. BOLSTER will launch action research in ten European regions. Seven of those regions are at high risk of being affected by the EGD, as they have a high concentration of carbon-intensive industries. The other three regions have already undergone an economic transition and will be studied in order to learn from the past.

Research shows that transition policies predominantly benefit already privileged citizens and often tend to reproduce social inequalities. Moreover, there is a growing polarization vis-à-vis transition plans.

The overall aim of this project is to understand how marginalized communities are affected by EGD-related policies and to see whether involving them in decision-making processes increases the support for transition plans. To achieve this goal, BOLSTER will use novel qualitative research methods with participatory approaches to improve the understanding of the experiences and needs of marginalized communities. Next, it will organize multi-actor forums with key actors in the regions. In order to enable balanced participation from all social groups, special attention will be paid to enhancing the capacities of organizations that represent marginalized groups. Moreover, BOLSTER will actively contribute to addressing procedural justice aspects in the transition process. The goal of the multi-actor forums is to increase support for the transition plans by better accommodating the needs of marginalized groups. We believe that BOLSTER’s activities will foster a more just transition.

The project has officially started at the beginning of September with the successful kick-off meeting (KO) that took place on 7, 8 and 9 September in Tilburg, southern Netherlands, hosted by the project coordinator, Tilburg University.

3-year Grant Agreement (2022 – 2025)

  • ECAS leads the planning and organization of two types of policy dialogues – three EU-focused policy dialogues and min 10 regional policy dialogues hosted in target regions. The policy dialogues will have three goals: stimulate cross-regional policy learning, validate the Transition Guidelines and participatory governance models that our project develops and transfer our findings to other policy areas.
  • ECAS will participate in the development of a capacity building program and engagement via “Re-activate campaign”.
  • ECAS will participate in the development of a framework for monitoring of local Just Transition processes and impacts that will later be translated and presented as a toolbox for JT monitoring and assessment.