ODRAZ marked European Sustainable Development Week with roundtable on the topic "Sustainable cities and communities"

We marked the last day of the European Sustainable Development Week and World Environment Day on the 5th of June with the roundtable on which the roles of the cities in the attainment of sustainable development goals were discussed. The roundtable, organized within the project "Dialog on mobility in Zagreb" and in cooperation with the Association of Cities of the Republic of Croatia gathered around 50 representatives of NGOs, cities, faculties, public institutions and private companies.

"Sustainable cities and communities presents a goal aiming to make cities and settlements inclusive, secure and adaptive, since they are the incubator of ideas, centers of trade, culture, science, productivity and social development, and they enable social and economic progress of people", said Nives Kopajtich-Šrklec from the Association of Cities of the Republic of Croatia in her welcome address.

Following the roundtable a number of interesting presentations were held, as an introduction to the discussion. The topic of sustainable development and global Sustainable Development Goals (the presentation in Croatian) were presented by Lidija Pavić-Rogošić from ODRAZ, who was also a moderator of this gathering. Sustainable development consists of three dimensions - economic, social and environmental, and its principles should be included in the strategy of the development of Croatia. The concept implies the process of achieving balance between social, economic and environmental demands, while at the same time satisfying the needs of today's generation without endangering the opportunities of future generations, emphasized Pavić-Rogošić.

Further, a short movie Post carbon cities of tomorrow - Building an urban long term vision together, made within the European project POCACITO - Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow, was presented by Sandra Vlašić from the TERRA Hub as an introduction to the following presentations. Before her, Ana-Maria Boromisa from the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) spoke about economic aspects of sustainable development in cities (the presentation in Croatian), with the emphasis on the Goal number 11 - sustainable cities and communities. By 2030 almost 60% of world population will be living in cities, and it will be two-thirds by 2050. World cities occupy only three percent of Earth's surface, but they consume 60 to 80% of energy and produce 75% of carbon dioxide emissions.

This was followed by an interesting presentation of Sandra Vlašić about the environmental aspects of sustainable development in cities. She presented the European project POCACITO, which was conducted from 2014 to 2016 in 10 European cities, and within which vision for a post-carbon Zagreb was made - Healthy city of circular economy and neutral environmental footprint. She also presented some good practice examples from Zagreb, such as initiatives City Acupuncture, Urban gardens, Transition groups, Crowdfunding academy and the activites of the NGO "Sindikat biciklista" in the field of sustainable development in cities.

The last presentation on the topic of planning of sustainable mobility in cities with the inclusion of the citizens was held by Marko Stančec from CEDRA. Participants were acquainted with the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, strategic plan which takes into account principles of integration, participation and evaluation in order to satisfy the mobility needs of residents and to ensure better quality of life in cities and their surroundings.

Some key points from the roundtable:

  • Cities in future must be sustainable or they will cease to exist
  • Local self-government is a key actor which should understand the processes, which is why it is very important that mayors and leaders are acquainted with new trends
  • Technical measures are easy to implement, "soft measures" such as inclusion of citizens are much harder to implement

European Sustainable Development Week is held every year in the period from 30th May to 5th of June with the aim of fostering and better visibility of activities, projects and events promoting sustainable development and Global Sustainable Development Goals. This year there were over 3800 events from 29 countries registered on the online platform ETOR, of which 27 events were from Croatia. More about ETOR is available on http://www.esdw.eu/

Global Sustainable Development Goals - on the conference of the United Nations about the sustainable development, held in New York on 25th of September 2015 the program of global development until 2030 called "Agenda 2030" and 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals were adopted. Those goals are universal and have to be applicable to all of the countries and communities, and to all people. In their implementation specific opportunities, conditions and possibilities on different parts of the planet should be taken into account. Key focus areas should be recognized and one's own possibilities of contribution to sustainable development should be examined.

Goal 11. Sustainable cities and communities - make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. More about the goals (in Croatian) can be found out HERE.

*Photo gallery from the event is available HERE.

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