MOVEMENT FOR POSITIVE URBAN CHANGES. Opening of the European Project Desire Exhibition

Slovenian partners in the Desire project, CER - Sustainable Business Network and BTC d.d., successfully opened the exhibition “Desire: A movement for positive urban changes” in the city centre of Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. The exhibition was officially opened on May 22, 2024, at the new information point called "Ljubljana on the way to carbon neutrality", where citizens and other visitors will receive diverse information about the decarbonization of the city. The exhibition will be open until June 10, showcasing the contents of the Desire project and inviting visitors to contribute their suggestions and ideas for improving the quality of life in Ljubljana.

Published on 23 May 2024. Text by CER - Sustainable Business Network

The official opening was performed by Jerneja Jug Jerše, Head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia.

In her opening speech, she said: "In Slovenia, we have finally realised that climate change is not a myth but a challenging process of transformation. The European Union responded to the challenges of climate change with the European Green Deal, and our goal is to become the first climate-neutral economy and society by 2050."

She added that the key principles of the green transformation are competitiveness and fairness, and to achieve them, broad alliances are needed.

On this occasion, she congratulated Desire partners, CER and BTC for their involvement in such an important project and for closely collaborating with the local community. She particularly emphasized the involvement of young people through the project.

"Young people must be part of the solution for a just green transition and they must be heard," she emphasized.

A unique aspect of the project is that it helps companies in cross-sector collaboration and their development of sustainable business practices. 

As Ana Struna Bregar, Executive Director of CER, said, the Desire project has involved more than fifty business, educational, cultural, and non-governmental partners through various activities. The project has focused significantly on encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices, particularly through the Green Star certification.

"An important part of this experimental European project is precisely the collaboration between cities, companies, and the public. We are pleased that our efforts and the results of the project can significantly influence the development of more sustainable solutions in various European cities," said Ana Struna Bregar in her speech.

BTC, on the other hand, uses the project to addresses its most important issue – overheating of the area due to rising summer temperatures – which they are already addressing by building a 12,000 m² green park. In the future, they aim to adapt an entirely new, green identity: 

"We want to build a new green identity through various short-term and long-term measures, which will also be beneficial from the perspective of the EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. Ljubljana signed to become one of 100 climate-neutral European cities and BTC is a proud signatory of support," said Miha Mermal, Executive Director for Marketing and Sustainable Development of BTC d.d., admitting that their involvement in the project has pushed them to make a significant step forward.

"Because of Desire, where BTC City Ljubljana represents one of eight test areas for creating sustainable synergies among different stakeholders, we became even more ambitious, responsible, and innovative in the sustainable transformation of existing urban spaces," he added. 

On the International Biodiversity Day on 22 May, Nataša Jazbinšek, Head of the Environmental Protection Department at the City Municipality of Ljubljana, also welcomed the participants. 

She stated that they are extremely proud to be part of the mission of 100 climate-neutral cities and that the mission has encouraged them to raise their ambitions in the field of decarbonization. 

She emphasized that projects like Desire play a crucial role in making the mission recognizable. "Only together can we reach the final goal, so I am pleased that the exhibition is here, at our info point, as this is a significant contribution to achieving carbon neutrality," she said and invited all participants to contribute ideas for decarbonizing and improving the urban spaces of Ljubljana.