International Conference “Cities for Climate Neutrality” in Ljubljana with more than 150 participants from 12 countries

The international conference with an emphasis on the exchange of regional experiences and good practices of sustainable urban mobility, held in Ljubljana from 22 to 24 March 2023, gathered over 150 participants from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Greece, Belgium, Germany and Hungary. It was organised as part of the CLIMASUM project.

by Magdalena Makar, ODRAZ- Sustainable Community Development, CLIMASUM

Published: 18 April 2023
conference room seen from the back

The event was an opportunity to gather CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-South East Europe Network members, cooperate with the partners of the ProSUMP project within the framework of the regional exchange of knowledge and good practices on comprehensive transport strategies in the countries of the Western Balkans, and to network with representatives of five Greek cities, members of the CIVINET Greece-Cyprus network, who were on a four-day study visit to Zagreb and Ljubljana.

group sitting around a table seen from the ceiling
Group work, pitch session, Photo: ©ODRAZ

The rich and varied programme of the conference began on Wednesday, 22 March, with the sustainable urban mobility workshop ProSUMP. The workshop covered the topic of institutionalisation of urban mobility in the local self-government units of the Western Balkans, with proposals for new or improved organisational structures. The possibility of technical support and pilot projects were also presented. The workshop was co-organised by the Open Regional Fund for Southeast Europe – Energy, Transport and Climate Protection (ORF-ETC), which acts on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), co-financed by the European Union and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The main part of the programme took place on Thursday, 23 March, and it started with welcome speeches. In addition to Mayor Zoran Janković and Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb Luka Korlaet, the director of ODRAZ / Network Secretariat Lidija Pavić-Rogošić addressed those present, then Sibylle Strahl from the Open Regional Fund for Southeast Europe – Energy, Transport, Climate Protection (ORF ETC), Lilijana Madjar, director of the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RRA LUR) and Kosmas Anagnostopoulos, coordinator of the CIVINET Greece-Cyprus network followed.

Thematic presentations and panel discussions

Presentations at the conference covered a wide range of topics, from the description of the process and results of the study of the organisation and integration of public transport in the city of Šibenik, the challenges of future urban mobility and the key prerequisites for the successful implementation of smart mobility solutions in the Republic of Croatia, the transformation of the Greek city of Heraklion into a sustainable, accessible and truly a smart city in terms of mobility to Slovenian examples of how to approach sustainable mobility in small (semi)urban areas based on the example of the municipality of Borovnica and the challenges and ambitious measures for climate neutrality faced by Ljubljana in the field of mobility planning. The presentations were accompanied by a moderated panel discussion led by Goran Lampelj from ODRAZ.

Conference panel discussion, Photo: ©ODRAZ

Pitch sessions

As part of the pitch session, short presentations presented business ideas/projects such as hydrogen in city transport, innovative parking lots for bicycles and e-scooters with an improved degree of safety on the example of the startup BPARCO, the free application Bikademy, eMobility Hub, new approaches and solutions in public transport , a mobility plan for large employers and the REAL Mayors Program – a unique education program in the field of mobility in Croatia. The session was moderated by Magdalena Makar from ODRAZ.

Visits to examples of good practice

At the end of the programe the host, City of Ljubljana, prepared guided tours of the city and a visit to examples of good practice of sustainable mobility in Ljubljana – a walk in the pedestrian zone, a bicycle and bus tour of Ljubljana, and a boat tour of Ljubljanica.

Participants of the conference, Photo: ©ODRAZ
Cycling tour Ljubljana, Photo: ©ODRAZ

“Why we cycle?”-Session

On Friday, 24 March , a screening of the film “Why we cycle?” and a panel discussion about bicycle traffic and cycling were held. The programme was organised by the initiative of the bicycle mayor of Ljubljana, Matej Praprotnik, in cooperation with the Ljubljana Bicycle Network and with the support of the City of Ljubljana, Kinodvor cinema and RRALUR.

The conference “Cities for Climate Neutrality” was organised by ODRAZ – Sustainable Community Development from Zagreb (Network Secretariat) in cooperation with the City of Ljubljana and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) within the framework of the Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy, Transport and Climate Protection (ORF-ETC) within the framework of the CLIMASUM project and the CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-SEE network. This event took place as part of the traditional campaign “For a Beautiful Ljubljana”, because by implementing sustainable mobility we contribute to a better quality of life in the city.

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