With sustainable development at the forefront of global initiatives for positive change, countries around the world have stepped up to the plate through local and global initiatives in support of worldwide sustainability & impact.
While you may have seen coverage highlighting a number of countries leading the pathway for sustainable development, there are more than 140 nations around the world that have taken the 2015 pledge for a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future, according to the UN.
Let’s take a look at a nation that is making (plastic-free) waves in the sustianability industry: Croatia
Meet the newest member of the EU: Croatia
Known for its beautiful coasts, many islands (more than 1000!), the country has also made an appearance in one of our favorite series: Game of Thrones. Yes, you heard that right! Many of the scenes in King’s Landing were actually filmed in the old town of Dubrovnik, one of Croatia’s most popular travel destinations! In fact, other places throughout Croatia were also used for various filming spots in the popular series .
We’ll let Peter Dinklage’s eyebrows do the sutainability talking…
As the newest member of the European Union, the beautiful country has been planning and implementing various growth and sustainable development practices since joining the EU in 2013. You could even say, sustainability is coming. To Croatia.
Let’s talk: Energy sector
The Croatian Smart Specialisation Strategy 2016-2020 is an EU initiative, detailing the country’s points of focus for economic growth and competitiveness . The section for ‘Energy and Sustainable Development’ of the strategy presents positive goals for sustainable development mainly from an energy point of view, also including plans from various other incentives. The goals present high potential of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), raising the sustainability of the energy sector.
Croatia already had a strong focus on energy sustainability, having drafted the Energy Strategy of the Republic of Croatia (by the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship) back in 2009. This document outlines the country’s energy goals for 2020, and it includes reducing GHGs by 20%, having 20% renewable energy in final energy consumption and more, while still developing and growing the industry, which is necessary for economic and social development .
The EU has also recently made available over 1 billion Kuna (equivalent to over 134 million Euros) for energy renewals projects intended for schools, healthcare, and other public services .
Let’s talk: (Sustainable) tourism
Croatia is well-known for its stunning landscapes, occupying the largest part of the East coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the Mediterranean . While the beaches are fantastic, Croatia has much more to offer, such as great hiking trails, unique museums, and beautiful cities , all of these attractions being relatively easy to reach. Not surprisingly, the country is a very popular destination for tourists, the travel industry gradually growing in the past few years.
Although the growth of the tourism industry has brought significant economic benefits to Croatia, it’s important to remember that over tourism can eventually bring more harm than good. Locals can be negatively impacted overcrowding, rising rent prices etc. It is therefore important to take steps towards the development of sustainable tourism, in order to protect the natural and cultural resources.
Thankfully, Croatia’s Minister of Tourism, Gary Cappelli is optimistic, and determined to create sustainable growth in the travel industry. He highlights the country’s gastronomic tourism, cycling tourism, health tourism and nautical tourism, as well as the innovations encouraged and financially supported by the government in these sectors .
Let’s talk: Involvement
A small Croatian island named Zlarin is implementing a environmentally friendly project to eliminate all disposable plastic from the island, replacing it with more eco-friendly options. The innovative project is supported not only by the island’s tourist board, but also by the local population .
Preserving the beauty of the beaches and reducing sea pollution is also something that Croatia is very active in. Beach and sea clean-ups are being organized regularly, with the Ivica Poljičak, state secretary at the Croatian Ministry of Culture recently engaging in the activity .
The construction and real-estate market are also on their way to becoming more sustainable, thanks to Croatia Green Building Council (CGBC), a non-profit organization dedicated to working with the public and private sector, offering information, contacts, knowledge and support regarding green economy, sustainable development and green building .
Croatia stands ready to support purposeful partnerships
While we are Hvar from reaching these sustainability goals, with ongoing changes and improvement for supporting the 2030 Agenda, Croatia is stepping up to the UN’s SDG plate, as the President feels that it is important we all come together to make change happen.