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News IREAS

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June 23, 2022

Prof. Jiřina Jílková passed away

We regret to announce that economist Prof. Ing. Jiřina Jílková, CSc., departed from her great academic family on 21 June 2022. IREAS had the privilege to belong to that family for many years. She adopted many of us, showed us the way and supported us in major moments of our work and private lives. She knew how to motivate us, connect us in interesting ways, and dispatch us towards more independence at the key moment. We will never stop being grateful to her for that.

It was hard to earn her respect. Once you got it, though, you could be sure of her continuous support and, to a certain extent, even protection. That empowered us to enter shaky ground and ultimately led to better results and strengthening of the whole team.

As Svatopluk Čech wrote in his poem Dosti nás, “A low aimer will aim low”. Those who knew Jiřina understand that this was not her case. Throughout her life, she aimed high, showing the way for many of us, although it was sometimes difficult to follow that path. However, it was always a path forward, promising something new, original, often controversial, but always forward. Treading water, absence of a vision, or even reactionism irritated Jiřina.

Jiřina was uncomfortably frequently right. She was a visionary and was excellent at sizing up people, their qualities and limits. Her words often sounded improbable at first, sometimes everything spoke against them, but they came true sooner or later. All the same, she never had the urge to emphasize “I told you”, even if people around her would have deserved it.

She died suddenly during a business trip in Austria, doing what she did with enthusiasm all her life: educating a new generation of young, internationally successful people, many of whom now rank among important figures of scientific and social life.

Jiřina, we will all miss you much!

IREAS team

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June 1, 2022

IREAS evaluated the Czech-Polish Interreg Programme 2021-2027 in the context of mainstreaming climate change

In April 2022, IREAS experts evaluated the forthcoming Interreg Czechia-Poland Programme 2021-2027 in terms of its setting and reflection of climate action. The evaluation is being carried out for the European Commission (DG Clima) in a framework evaluation contract coordinated by the evaluation companies COWI A/S (Denmark) and M&E Factory GmbH (Austria). IREAS centrum, Ltd. is fulfilling partial activities of this project for the Czech Republic in the form of subcontracting. 

The Operational Programme (Interreg VI-A) Czech-Poland identifies the key development challenges and policy needs of cross-border cooperation, with attention given at the beginning of the document to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for key sectors of the economy of the cross-border regions. It then specifies new issues related to the European Green Deal strategy and relevant needs for further development. The programme foresees that scenarios may recur in the reduction of socio-economic life in society due to further pandemic waves of Covid-19 disease variants. One of the affected sectors is tourism, which has been affected by the temporary border closures in 2020 and 2021 and the anti-epidemic measures in both countries. This has resulted in an increase in unemployment and structural problems in the Czech and Polish economies. Therefore, it will be necessary to diversify the economy of the border areas (i.e. support small and medium-sized enterprises), further develop the service sector, especially in the hard-hit tourism sector. The programme's background further emphasises the potential for economic transformation within the framework of the above-mentioned European strategy. The contribution of the evaluated border regions to the ambitious objectives will mainly be to promote biodiversity, combat pollution and move towards a circular economy. Climate change poses new challenges for cross-border crisis management measures. Overcoming historical stereotypes between the Czech and Polish communities remains a long-term priority of the programme.

The evaluation provided a number of partial recommendations for refining or even complementing the intervention areas, as the individual specific objectives describe the measures with varying degrees of detail. Despite the clear specificities of the programme in its focus, it was recommended to reinforce some climate expenditure, e.g. to support climate-neutral tourism models in the context of climate action options (e.g. eco-innovations, environmentally friendly technologies in tourism, or activities focusing on forms of digitisation of transport linked to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions). 

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Jan. 18, 2022

IREAS evaluated the Croatian Competitiveness and Cohesion Programme 2021-2027 in the context of mainstreaming climate change

IREAS experts evaluated the forthcoming Competitiveness and Cohesion Programme 2021-2027 at the end of November and beginning of December 2021 in terms of its setting and reflection of climate action. The main reason for this evaluation by the Czech experts was the workload of the national evaluators in Croatia in evaluating other programmes for the new period. IREAS experts agreed to provide exceptional assistance in this evaluation, which is being carried out for the European Commission (DG Clima) in a framework evaluation contract coordinated by the evaluation companies COWI A/S (Denmark) and Metis GmbH (Austria). IREAS centrum, s.r.o. is fulfilling partial activities of this project for the Czech Republic in the form of subcontracting, however, it can also assist other EU Member States with its evaluation capacities. 

The main objective of the programme is to strengthen the economy through digital and green transition, digitise public administration, improve connectivity and mobility throughout the Republic of Croatia and enhance the quality of life of the population. Socio-economic development and environmental protection in Croatia are significantly addressed by EU funds. The COVID-19 pandemic and two devastating earthquakes have significantly changed the pace of economic recovery after the Great Depression and led to a recession in 2020. The pandemic has clearly shown the lack of diversification of the economy and the predominance of low-productivity sectors, making the economy particularly vulnerable to external shocks. The structure of the economy is characterised by a significant share of services and a dependence on tourism, which have suffered heavily from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the relatively weak public finances and the need to tackle public debt, there is great potential for the use of EU funds.

The programme is very complex and consists of a total of 19 specific objectives, 9 of which have clearly defined climate spending. The programme as a whole is well aligned in its specific objectives and is also balanced in terms of the financial allocations set. However, the evaluation made a number of partial recommendations for the addition of intervention areas, as the individual specific objectives describe a number of measures with varying degrees of detail, but some of them are not sufficiently covered by climate relevant intervention areas.

Mainstreaming of climate change mitigation and adaptation in European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund Programmes 2021-2027 Lot 1 (Contract number: CLIMA.A.3/C.3.C.1/SER/2019/0014)
Contracting authority: European Commission
Implementer: COWI A / S (Denmark); Metis GmbH (Austria), IREAS centrum, s. r. o. fulfills partial activities of this project for the Czech Republic in the form of subcontracting.
Contact: Assoc. Prof. Martin Pelucha (pelucha@ireas.cz)

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IREAS will start a two-year international evaluation project funded by Norway Grants on the topic of Lost Millennials

IREAS, in collaboration with 13 other partners from EEA countries, has succeeded in a call for Norway Grants with a new project on "Lost Millennials", which will focus analysis and research on the regularly neglected group of millennials. In the literature and in strategic documents at national level, they are referred to by the acronym NEET ("Not in Education, Employment or Training"). These are young people aged 25-29 who are not in education, employment or training and are mainly supported by their parents. IREAS will guarantee analysis and evaluation activities in this project.

The main objective of the project will be to contribute to the successful integration of 25+ NEETs into the labour market by increasing knowledge on the effects of employment initiatives on 25+ NEETs, building the capacity of stakeholders to carry out impact studies and thus improving the quality of labour market interventions. This will be achieved through the creation of a transnational research network to share know-how and best practices, the evaluation of government and community initiatives targeting 25+ NEETs, and the involvement of stakeholders to increase the policy relevance of the project results. The primary target group is researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders, while the target beneficiaries are 25+ NEETs with a focus on disadvantaged groups.


Evaluation project baseline annotation:
Project title: Lost Millennials - Transnational research network for the evaluation of initiatives targeting 25+ NEETs
Duration: 11/2021 - 01/2024
Contractor: EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment
Implementer: Leader - HETFA Research Institute Ltd. 
IREAS is one of the 13 entities from EU countries that will implement the sub-activities of this project.
Contact: Petr Fanta, Ph.D. (fanta@ireas.cz) and Assoc. Ing. Martin Pělucha, Ph.D. (pelucha@ireas.cz) 

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IREAS evaluated five operational programs in the context of climate change mainstreaming

In the first half of April, IREAS experts evaluated the five prepared operational programs (hereinafter referred to as OPs) for the new programming period 2021 - 2027 in terms of their setting and reflection of climate measures. Specifically, these were the OP Transport, the Integrated Regional Operational Program, the OP Environment, the OP Technology and Applications for Competitiveness and the OP Technical Assistance.In the newly prepared programming period 2021 - 2027, the horizontal priorities are proposed, through which a comprehensive approach in financing from the EU structural funds should be achieved. These are:

(1) adaptation to climate change

(2) society 4.0

(3) the territorial dimension

The purpose of the evaluation was therefore to determine the extent to which the relevant climate change adaptation measures (i.e. the first horizontal priority) have been (or will be) able to be incorporated into the operational programs to be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund.
The evaluation was carried out for the European Commission (DG Clima) in a framework evaluation contract coordinated by the evaluation companies COWI A / S (Denmark) and Metis GmbH (Austria), which also prepared a detailed methodology for the evaluation approach. The IREAS centrum, Ltd. fulfills the partial activities of this project for the Czech Republic in the form of subcontracting. Associate Professor Martin Pělucha (IREAS) works as a lead expert in the Czech Republic.

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Beskydy

The IREAS team has successfully completed the cross-border Czech-Slovak project BESKYDY. Over the past years, we were working on the restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Beskydy forests, which are threatened by climate change. In the project, we investigated not only the perception of risks associated with climate change by local governments, residents, entrepreneurs and other organizations, but also the perception of individual benefits of forest stands. Based on these findings, we proposed the most appropriate adaptation measures and steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change. These actions were directed not only towards sustainable forest management and water management in forests, but also towards the support of biodiversity and ways to protect valuable natural sites. Designing institutional arrangements for cooperation among key actors was also an integral part of this. In the project, together with our partners from CzechGlob and NLZ Zvolen, we also developed a web-map application which, through interactive simulations, enables plotting expected climate development in the Beskydy area in the coming decades and its impacts on forests in this transboundary area. The application Beskydy Forests and Climate Change provides forecasts of future development of climate, biodiversity, forests and ecosystem services for the period 2020-2080. The application can also simulate the estimated impacts of climate change on species composition, carbon accumulation, biodiversity, aesthetic and economic value of the forest for four alternative ways of forest management and two different climate development scenarios considered. 
The NLC colleagues also developed a pilot project for the transformation of the same-aged spruce forest to a different-aged quasi-natural forest at the Velký Polom project. The aim of the pilot project is to practically demonstrate the most progressive ways of forest adaptation to climate change. You can find more about the cross-border project funded by INTERREG V-A SK-CZ 2014-2020 on our project website at this link. 

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