Between 15 and 17 November around 700 delegates, including decision makers and politicians, gathered in Ljubljana. Eurocities is a network of major European cities, which was founded in 1986. They were greeted by Mayor Zoran Janković who highlighted the importance of cities in ensuring the quality of life for citizens also for future generations and pointed out two main challenges we are currently facing: climate change on one side, wars and terrorism on the other. He added that these challenges can be fought against only through cooperation.
Daniël Termont, President of EUROCITIES and Mayor of Gent, accentuated in his introductory speech the future significance of the transition to circular economy and emphasised that cities show more ambition in this field than countries. He added that in future cities will have to reorganise themselves and cooperate with each other to attain the set sustainable goals. »Cooperation is key,« Termont stressed and added that cities are willing to learn from each other and mutually adopt good practises to help their citizens.
Further on, Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for Environment, presented the role of circular economy in the resource story and the cities - the sustainable future goes hand in hand with sustainable cities.
The event continued with round tables where participants were discussing society, partnerships, economy and further growth according to circular principles. The discussions focused on transitioning jobs and skills, breaking silos and creating communities, the power of public procurement and developing the urban model.
Study visits followed during which the participants were able to see good practice cases in the field of circular economy in Ljubljana. They visited the Reuse Centre, Hostel Celica, Hotel Park, RCERO Ljubljana (waste management facilities) and an apartment designed in line with the zero-waste principle.
Within the framework of the EUROCITIES conference the official award ceremony for best practices in circular economy was held on Thursday night. Munich’s Halle 2 won in the Cooperation category; in the Innovation Category, Brussels with the ‘Be Circular, Be Brussels’ innovative won; the Participation Category’s award went to Gothenburg for its »smart map« project.
In the end the participants were addressed by European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, who concluded with the idea that real power always lies in the hands of the consumers.
Next year the Eurocities conference will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland.