Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. The city population is around 776,000, and the urban agglomeration is at about 1.2 million. Zagreb is the seat of the central government and most government ministries, also playing host to the headquarters of nearly all of the largest Croatian companies and media.
From European targets to city level action
In response to the EU’s climate targets and following the EU’s policy and energy framework towards 2050, the city of Zagreb is coordinating efforts to promote a low carbon economy that is attractive for investment and that sustain a better quality of life for its residents.
The municipality of Zagreb has been successfully implementing an Energy Week each year (for the ninth time in 2018). The goal is to bring relevant actors together and to involve all generations and stakeholders in a series of international conferences, meetings, seminars, lectures and workshops, held during one week around the topics of energy and environmental protection. The ultimate goals are to generate answers to problems like global warming and climate change, by enabling an active cooperation of local, national and international representatives and to create awareness among them.
The city has used the Energy Week as an opportunity to promote action on the sustainable energy field with a focus on energy solutions that look into the creation of new green technologies, renewable sources, rational use of resources, considering its importance for economic development and job creation and its relevance for tackling climate change.
A unique program each year
It is important to present an interesting program every year to ensure that it remains interesting and useful for the participants, also to achieve the goals and to justify the necessary investment. In this regard, the municipality has to set budget aside to be able to fund speakers, promote the event among potential participants and inform the public of its importance, as well as to provide all the required logistics during before and after the event.
Working with the youth
A core stakeholder group for the Energy Week is the youth. As our future leaders, professionals and citizens, it is important to show children the need for climate action, the opportunities they can explore, and present innovative ideas to stimulate creative thinking. Not only pupils of primary and secondary schools are included. The City of Zagreb also works with principals of all kindergartens, for example by organizing a playroom on the topic of “Let’s talk about energy and preserve the environment” in 162 kindergartens, involving more than 7.000 children with their teachers in 2015. Here the youngest generation learned about energy, why it is important, and what they can contribute, and so reduce their impact on global warming. Through playing, discussions, drawing, coloring, and creating fun models of windmills, the kindergarten pupils learned by playing. To assist this, the City of Zagreb printed 7.000 coloring books, one for each child.
The city organizes all of the events’ logistics and promotion, also generating information to be shared, in cooperation with the media. In 2017, the Energy Week included participants from the Zagreb University, the Croatian Chambers of Architects, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Energy Institutes, private sector representatives, banks, and NGOs, among others. The topics presented and discussed in a robust program included the development and implementation of technological solutions on energy to support the transition to a sustainable energy future, looking at different sector’s perspectives.
Assessing the experience
The city has seen that the annual event plays a central role in its strategy for sustainable development. It has shown a high level of involvement of relevant stakeholders, with growing understanding and cooperation among the participants who look at real problems and jointly seek answers. Every year the number of participants has increased, proving that it is relevant, effective, and is of significance in stimulating sustainable development through the use of renewable energy and achieving energy savings. Leading to CO2 emission reductions.