From 26 November to 28 November 2018, 16 representatives of local self-governments, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, civil society organisations and journalists, dealing with environment and energy issues, had a chance to visit several Croatian towns and see examples of good practice in the field of environmental protection and energy financed through EU’s programmes and funds.

During the visit, they had a unique opportunity to talk to the representatives of local self-governments of Slavonski Brod, Krizevci, Koprivnica, Pozega, as well as representatives of the Odraz organisation. They also found out more about the Nature Park Papuk, which became a UNESCO Geopark in 2015.

The trip began with a visit to Slavonski Brod, where the group was hosted by Krunoslav Djurkovic and Danijela Blekic from the department of Integral territorial investments, with whom the participants discussed how the ITI mechanism, financed through EU’s cohesion fund, works. After the meeting in the town hall, the group headed to Facility of refinement of waste waters, an example of the project financed by the EU structural and investment funds.

The meeting was followed by another session, this time with Odraz organisation, engaged in the work of the CIVINET Secretariat. With Director Lidija Pavic Rogosic we discussed urban mobility and sustainable development of local communities.

On the second day, a meeting with the representatives of the city of Krizevci took place. Dijana Mijac Dretar, Chief of Environmental Protection Department, presented a waste management project (focused on primary separation) and educational activities (aimed primarily at a younger population) intended to change people’s habits when it comes to waste production and management. Afterwards, participants had a chance to visit the Development Centre and the Technology Park housed in renovated military barracks with the help of the EU Cohesion Fund. The participants also visited a solar power plant located on the roof of the Development Centre, the first crowdfunding investment in renewable energy in the Republic of Croatia.

In the municipality of Koprivnica, the participants first met with Nebojska Kalanj, senior specialist for European affairs and sustainable development, who presented the Low Carb project, financed by the European regional Development Fund. A tour of the renovated court building, university and the newly built green quartier followed, where the participants were hosted by Martina Alihodzic, director of the Agency for Subsidised Housing, who presented the energy efficient housing project, co-financed by the EU Cohesion Fund. In the end, a meeting at the University Sever took place, where we were greeted by Predrag Brlek. He presented future plans for the construction of a more energy efficient and responsible local community, devised jointly by the University and the municipality.

On the last day, the participants visited the National park Papuk where they had an opportunity to hear a presentation of projects concerning sustainable usage of natural resources of the national park aimed at improving the local socio-economic development and visit the project location, financed by the EU’s programme Competence and Cohesion.

A meeting in Pozega was held at the very end of the visit, where Dalibor Vranic from the Department of European Integration talked about projects funded by the EU, and how the preparations for the implementation of certain projects are moving forward. The participants, together with their hosts, visited a municipal recycle yard, whose construction was co-funded through the EU Cohesion Fund.

The visit was a part of an EU supported project titled Visits to EU institutions and Member States.