The meeting in Dubrovnik, which took place on 13 and 14 March, didn’t only serve as another meeting dedicated to impact assessment, but also as the last one before the Final Conference in Brussels and could therefore be considered as the final rehearsal for the grand finale planned for 7 May.
Hosted by DUNEA, the Dubrovnik – Neretva County’s Development Agency, this two-day meeting brought together the 11 pilot cities and regions and other technical project partners in order to assess the economic, social and environmental impact different eco-innovative strategies made in these 11 pilots. Together with BOKU University, ORDIF and University of Copenhagen, using various indicators and comparing the baseline scenario with the one achieved through the implementation measures, the project could come to a conclusion on the most successful measure which will be brought forward to the general audience in May in Brussels. Susan Buckingham, the project’s gender auditor also made a reflection on how gender was mainstreamed throughout the project’s lifetime and what conclusions and suggestion she could share in less than two months’ time in Brussels, too.
One of the sessions was reserved for the Mutual Learning event, a traditional part of each URBAN-WASTE meeting where the pilots learn from each other, but also from external guests, invited to enrich the different topic. This time, together with the hosts from Croatia, the topic was decided to reflect the specificity and characteristics UNESCO heritage cities have and how to adjust and adapt waste management to such setting. The reason why this topic was chosen is simply – Dubrovnik itself is a UNESCO heritage city. Apart from the county’s spatial planning office, who presented in details the geographic, topographic and spatial characteristics of the county including limitations, opportunities and challenges, the meeting also welcomed two guests from Porto and Ibiza. These two heritage cities are exploring various waste management options in heritage areas through another European project – INTHERWASTE and therefore were perfect contributors to the URBAN-WASTE’s Mutual Learning event. Carolina Lucas of the Municipality of Porto explained the services the city offers to producers of large quantities of waste (especially cafes and restaurants along the river) which include separate waste collection twice a day. As for the local population, Carolina reflected on the fact that Porto’s river banks, being quite steep and narrow, pose numerous limitations to waste collection from the locals. This is why one of the solutions presented were waste tunnels which allow waste to travel thanks to gravity from the highest points of Porto’s river bank to the lowest where it can be easily collected by the waste management company. Sandra Romero, coming from Ibiza on the other side, presented the new project the municipality of Ibiza wants to implement. The idea is to set up waste rooms, dedicated storage areas in abandoned buildings or buildings built for this purpose where waste containers could be stored instead of being exposed on the streets. These buildings, looking exactly the same like the surrounding ones, would in fact be located in the very centre of the heritage area and thus avoiding any damage to the aesthetic or cultural value of this heritage city. Sandra also made a referral to the communication tools they use for communicating information and other messages considering waste and environment in general to foreign tourists.
The hosts were incredibly prepared and attentive to every detail, as they wanted to make sure that their guests see and experience as much of the county as possible. Apart from the city of Dubrovnik itself, the participants had the opportunity to experience a bit of the rural lifestyle, away from mass tourism, where local entrepreneurs and families can still use locally provided good for creating a unique touristic offer. Konavoski Dvori, a restaurant situated in a very unique surrounding, historically important for the region is soon to become Croatia’s first Green Restaurant, as it would see many modifications, not only in its supplies but also the way the building would obtain electricity, heat and more. The restaurant will perfectly fit into the local setting using only what it needs and what is available locally, bringing its environmental footprint to as low as possible.
Dubrovnik-Neretva couny was the last pilot to host an URBAN-WASTE meeting, as we are reaching the project’s end. There is one last opportunity to meet, but even more importantly – present the results and achievements to a wider public will be in Brussels on 7 May. See the event, agenda and register here.