On June 3, 2021 close to 150 participants from the Mediterranean region, gathered around the idea of circular economy and green growth in the Balkans. Within the Interreg Mediterranean Green Growth project, the webinar „Let’s get concrete about Green Growth and Circular economy in the Balkans!“ was hosted by Center for Energy, Environment and Resources – CENER 21. The gathering was attended by representatives of regional, national and local public authorities, representatives of SMEs, NGOs and universities from Mediterranean region.

The welcome speeches were addressed by Ms Mersiha Delić from Directorate for European Integration of BiH – National Contact Point for Interreg MED programme, Mr Senad Oprašić from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH – Department for Environmental Protection and Mr Mehmed Cero, Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Participants had the opportunity to gain knowledge on how to make the circular economy in the Balkans a reality by connecting key players in a circular transition from Ms Ladeja Godina Košir, founder and CEO of Circular Change & and Chair of Coordination Group of European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform.

The overview of current situation of circular economy in the Balkans was given by professor Sanda Midžić Kurtagić, the CEO of National Cleaner Production Center for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The event was moderated by Ms Nadira Berbić from CENER 21 who presented the Green Growth Community’s scope of work, their objectives and achievements. Participants from Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Italy and Albania got a chance to find out about concrete solutions developed within 7 modular Green Growth projects.

The webinar consisted of 4 sessions:

  • Session 1 – About the Interreg Med Green Growth Community
  • Session 2 – Innovative Tools to Support Green Growth and Circular Economy in SMEs
  1. EMBRACECircular Business Model Toolkit – instrument addressed to SMEs, clusters and policymakers in the agricultural sectors and wine production, interested in transforming their businesses towards a circular economy approach;
  2. PEFMEDProduct Environmental Footprint tool – designed for assessing the product life cycle hotspots and improvement potentials for olive oil, bottled water and wine sectors;
  3. ARISTOILInnovative methods and tools that could support olive oil production – a better understanding of how agricultural processes and practices impact the quality of the final product;
  4. CreaINNOVATIONHandbook for CreaInnovation LABs design and Sustainability Evaluation Tool (CISET) – learning about creative techniques to generate new innovative ideas in SMEs.
  • Session 3 – Waste management
  1. REINWASTESolutions tested in agri-food value chains for the reduction of inorganic waste;
  2. RE-LIVE WASTEWaste as a resource – utilization of livestock waste to produce high-value bio-fertilisers by recovering nutrients from heavily polluted streams.
  • Session 4 – Green Growth Financing and Procurement
  1. finMEDMechanisms and solutions for financing of innovation in green sectors – public and private sector.

A fruitful discussion answered many issues raised and resulted with interconnections between different stakeholders. The gathering has opened the floor for new ideas and projects within Green Growth Community.

“We are facing two crises at once – from one side there is still the issue of climate change consequences, and from the other side, there is COVID-19. If we seek deeper, we can observe it is actually a historical possibility to place focus on circular economy transition.“– highlighted Ms Godina Košir.

Mr Mehmed Cero, the representative of Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, emphasized that the circular economy, as one of the main pillars of Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, is the key for achieving sustainability in all sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the waste management sector.

To download the webinar presentations in English click here.

To download the webinar presentations in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian click here.

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Green Growth is a thematic community promoting sustainable development in the Mediterranean, based on the sound management of natural resources by enhancing cross-sectoral innovation practices through an integrated and territorially-based cooperation approach. The community consists of 14 projects connecting 165 partners from 13 countries in the Mediterranean, with a total budget of around €30M. These projects tackle topics from agri-food, eco-innovation, smart cities, waste management to green growth financing.

This activity is a part of the Green Growth project, implemented within the Interreg Mediterranean Programme.


Photo credit: Pixabay