As I explained in previous articles, Slovenia is a land of extraordinary biodiversity. Among the richest fauna and flora in Europe (given its tiny size), it is home to roughly 22500 animals and plant species as well as rivers, lakes, caves and forests that make it a country that is proud of its immense biological and landscape diversity.
Yet heavy pollution in some areas principally due to road traffic, contaminated water resources, growing urbanization and municipal waste have been putting the country’s environment under pressure.
Well known for being a paradise for hikers of every level, Slovenia is making an important business out of its environment and thus has rapidly understood the urgency of maintaining a clean and healthy nature.
For this reason, action has been taken over the past years to foster sustainable development and ensure wellbeing.
has been named European Green Capital 2016:
- Sixty-three per cent of separated waste collected speaks for an agglomeration that ranks amongst the cleanest across the EU and the first one to be included in the “zerowaste” program.
The Ljubljana Regional Waste Management Centre is the largest cohesion and environmental project in the country and processes the waste from a third of Slovenia, prioritizing separation over incineration and keeping costs among the lowest in Europe.
- Once an agglomeration of cars and traffic, the city center is now mostly open to pedestrians and cyclists, only user-friendly city buses that are economically accessible for households and run on natural gas are allowed for a cleaner, more sustainable Ljubljana.
- 74 per cent of housing in Ljubljana is already heated by district heating and natural gas distribution.
- 542 square meters of public green space have been measured per resident and 80 hectares of newly maintained green spaces feature the capital’s expansion while further green parcels are being created from degraded land for a healthy expansion of the territory.
Technological innovations and efficient actions from government and NGOs have turned Slovenia to become a flagship also in sustainable development applied to the agriculture and tourism industries.
A survey measuring the international tourism competitiveness that included 145 countries ranked Slovenia as the 20th most advanced nation in terms of environmental sustainability development factors.
Through the “Slovenia Green” project, the country is encouraging the tourism industry and destinations to not only observe environmental protection regulations but also develop environmental standards and management.
Under the brand “I feel sLOVEnia”, the project focuses on reducing negative impacts of waste and material flows on the environment; decreasing operating costs of energy consumption; preserving clean waters; fostering the use of public transport and bicycles; and educating both customers and employees on environmentally- friendly behaviors.
with, and in parallel with environmental action, Slovenia is also confronting socio-economic
issues of sustainability, in particular working on abolishing poverty and
guaranteeing social security, justice and the general improvement of its
citizens’ quality of life.
Since its inclusion in the EU’s integration processes, Slovenia is rapidly catching up with the level of the continent’s most developed economies. Inventive in its search for opportunities of socio-economic development, the country is fostering all its very diverse regions’ competitiveness within the existing environmental limitations.