For climate neutrality of cities, it is necessary to work systematically on the transformation of the transport system and additional solutions

24.10.2023 | Featured, Featured, ODRAZ news, ODRAZ news

In the organization of ODRAZ, the Canton of Sarajevo and the City of Sarajevo, on October 12 and 13, 2023, the 8th CIVINET Forum was held with the central theme “On the way to climate neutral cities”. A special focus was placed on cities from the CIVINET regional network that take part in the EU Mission “100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.” The Forum gathered around 100 participants – members of the Network from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, students of the School of Economics and Business in Sarajevo and other interested parties.

A rich two-day program began with a tour of the beautiful area of the Sarajevo City Hall and the Sarajevo Information Centre. On the same day, participants continued with a field visit to examples of good practice of sustainable mobility in Sarajevo. The participants had the chance to ride the new suburban railway line Visoko – Sarajevo, visit the trolleybus depot and see the new trolleybuses, and look around the newly built cycling infrastructure.

They visited the “mobility island” which combines chargers for electric cars, safe parking places for bikes and scooters, and smart benches. The very launch of mobile islands represents an important step in the promotion of sustainable mobility in Sarajevo and beyond. Finally, the hosts organized a ride on the Sarajevo cable car to the city’s favourite picnic spot, Trebević.

On the second day, the conference part of the Forum was dedicated to climate neutral cities and exchange of experiences among the cities of the CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-SEE network, that take part in the EU Mission “100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.” In the area covered by the Network there are several cities from the list of Mission Cities – Sarajevo, Podgorica and Zagreb as well as the Slovenian cities of Ljubljana, Kranj and Velenje. In Croatia, two twin cities – Križevci and Slavonski Brod – are also active on the platform.

Nearly 100 people present were greeted by Nihad Uk, Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton, Luka Korlaet from the City of Zagreb (coordinator city of the Network) and Lidija Pavić-Rogošić from ODRAZ (Network Secretariat).

The introduction to the thematic presentations was given by Marko Stančec from the European network Polis, coordinator of the working group for climate neutral cities, which is focused on the transport component of climate plans and just transition strategies.

This was followed by a presentation about the host city. The implemented measures, plans and challenges were revealed by Dalila Zečić from the Office of the Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton and the chairperson of the Working Body for the Preparation and Implementation of Projects within the EU Mission. Some of the challenges she highlighted were better regional cooperation with the cities participating in the EU Mission, as well as the adaptation of all strategies and plans of the Government to the goals of the Mission (procurement of cars in accordance with higher environmental standards, energy saving, promotion of more environmentally friendly forms of transport etc.)

Matija Vuger presented the example of the City of Zagreb, which applied to the EU Mission primarily because it saw such a mechanism as a kind of a “superproject”, a framework that, considering that it is directly conducted by the European Commission, can and should push the decarbonization policy through various instruments at the local level.

Vita Kontić Bezjak from the Municipality of Ljubljana is a member of the narrower working group for “Mission 100” for the area of transport and actively participates in all activities of the group. In her presentation, she presented the steps that the City of Ljubljana is taking towards the goals of the Mission. The goal of the City of Ljubljana is to become a climate neutral city by 2030 and to sign the Climate City Contract. So far, a number of activities have been carried out – among other things, the Slovenian cities participating in the Mission (Ljubljana, Kranj, Velenje) have signed an agreement on the establishment of a Slovenian partnership within the Mission.

The last presentation was held by Julijana Šimić from The Municipality of Velenje. Julijana is the coordinator of all tasks related to the EU Mission activities that will be conducted in Velenje through the EU Green Leaf program, considering Velenje holds the “Green Leaf” title for 2024. Areas of action within the Mission are focused on energy, transport, waste and circular economy, the built environment and green infrastructure, and the transition from a coal city to a smart and green city.

The rich program of the Forum was ended with a pitch session in which members of the Network presented relevant projects in this area – projects from the Horizon Europe program – SPINE, SMCNetZero and Elaborator and a project of further expansion of the rounded system of electromobility in the communal sector of the City of Varaždin. This session provided an overview of the projects and solutions that cities are implementing on the road to climate neutrality. Some of them are not part of the EU Mission, but they recognized the importance of transforming their urban area and mobility.

Conference conclusions:

  • systemic and political support is needed
  • the emphasis is on the transition process itself and the multidisciplinary approach, where citizens who will be involved during the analysis, implementation and later evaluation must not be forgotten
  • the emphasis is on the space where people spend time, not just pass through it
  • in order for cities to become climate neutral, perhaps not necessarily in seven years, they should actively work on the transformation of the transport system and additional solutions

The gallery is accessible HERE.

Find out more about CIVINET network’s activities here:

#CIVINETForumSarajevo #OnTheWayToClimateNeutrality #ClimateNeutralCities

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