News & Events

Comparative public policy researcher Dr Tamara Krawchenko visits UCD

Published: Wednesday, 01 February, 2023

Dr Tamara Krawchenko is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration and member of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria, Canada. She will be visiting UCD in February, hosted by Professor Niamh Moore Cherry and Dr Alma Clavin from the School of Geography with whom Dr Krawchenko has previously collaborated. Tamara will give a seminar on 23 February entitled 'How can we manage a just transition'. The seminar will be co-hosted by Geography and the Earth Institute. Tamara's visit is funded by the HEA through the Climate Seed Fund coordinated by UCD Research and UCD Earth Institute.

Dr Krawchenko is an expert in comparative public policy and territorial development and has led international programs of research on regional and rural development, the governance of land use and sustainability transitions. She grew up Canada and partly in Ukraine and is convinced of the importance of good governance and effective public administration as foundational to wellbeing. Explaining her interests, she says, "My work tends to focus on particular places, their assets, challenges, and opportunities and how public policy can help them flourish. Before taking up my current position at the University of Victoria, I worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and led projects on regional and local development in diverse countries. I’ve always seen the value of comparative policy learning while at the same time, focussing on the unique features and capacities of diverse communities."

One definition of just transition is the transition to a climate-neutral economy while securing the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities (source: Eurofound). Dr Krawchenko elaborates, "the concept of a ‘just transition’ is at once an agenda for sociotechnical transformation, a call for social, economic and environmental justice, and a political imperative to manage the decarbonisation of economies in a way that is acceptable to those who may be impacted. It is not a new concept. It emerged from the American labour movement in the 1970s and gained global prominence at the UNFCCC in 2015. There have long been different industrial and energy transitions, but the scale and scope of transformation required to respond to climate change makes this moment in time unique."

She continues, "There is no one transition. There are multiple sustainability transitions that impact different places in different ways. A place-based view on transitions helps us to understand how communities are impacted and to identify their assets, challenges, and opportunities for the future. In my research, I wanted to understand how countries and regions have managed past industrial transitions—the set of policy responses they employed—in order to see how this concept of a ‘just transition’ has been applied in practice and the gaps in these approaches. I’m also interested in the features of specific types of transitions, such as the oil and gas regions, and how these processes are being managed in place."

Dr Krawchenko has already engaged with sustainability transitions in an Irish context, working with Professor Niamh Moore Cherry and Dr Alma Clavin together with Professor John Tomaney of University College London to write a report for the National Economic and Social Council. She says "With the support of the National Economic and Social Council of Ireland, we explored place-based approaches to just transition in Ireland and the potential for adopting co-creation methodologies to identifying and implementing pathways to change in three study areas: Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal, North Leitrim and Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath. One piece of this work was to operationalise what a ‘just transition’ means to people. Based on interviews and our community co-creation process, we identified a set of common conversion factors - individual, social, environmental or economic factors that are important for a just transition across different sectors."

She adds, "It’s been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with the team and I’m grateful for the support of UCD to be able to convene and continue these conversations and build more research connections."

Flyer for Tamara Krawchenko event