UNDP proposes cooperation to Mayor of Zagreb
Topics include Roma inclusion, climate change, disaster preparedness, and EU funding
Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić and UNDP Croatia Resident Representative Louisa Vinton met in the City of Zagreb premises to discuss projects they cooperate on or will cooperate in the future. Discussion focused both on good examples of sustainable development from Zagreb that might be shared elsewhere through UNDP networks, and potential new areas for cooperation, particularly in accessing funding from the European Union.
Roma inclusion project was highlighted as a successful example. „Social inclusion is one of UNDP's main targets. For us, the relation between the City of Zagreb and the Roma is a true example of social inclusion of a minority group into the community“ – stressed Vinton. „We are here to assist you in getting all these excellent projects acknowledged and financially supported by the EU funds“. Vinton encouraged Bandić to engage in the network of European mayors supporting Roma inclusion in order to share good practices.
„We have done a lot in this area, thanks to your support. But, as you are aware, these are the topics that could never be absorbed completely. I am convinced that working together certain things could be resolved even better” – said Mayor Bandić.
Acknowledging Zagreb's many successes, Vinton offered UNDP's partnership in areas where the organization's support might still be helpful. Mentioning that UNDP had just signed an agreement with the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds to help generate project ideas in Croatia's less-development counties, Vinton offered UNDP's assistance to the City in preparing projects for EU structural funds. Vinton also thanked the Mayor for his commitment to provide greater support and appropriate community facilities for persons with disabilities, noting that UNDP is one of many partners supporting a the de-institutionalization of the Zagreb-based Center for Autism.
Representatives of the city's Office of Emergency Management expressed appreciation for UNDP's support in providing lifejackets and other emergency equipment to Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Vukovar during heavy flooding in June 2013. Vinton noted that UNDP had been discussing with the City its possible participation in a “platform“ for disaster risk reduction among Croatian cities and counties. This effort is designed to improve coordination at the local level in preventing and responding to disasters.
Noting UNDP's long history of work in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy, Vinton thanked the Mayor for engaging in an EU-funded UNDP project to prepare a “low-emission development strategy“ for Zagreb, as part of a Europe-wide consortium of low-carbon cities that also includes Barcelona, Copenhagen/Malmo, Istanbul, Lisbon, Litomerice, Milan/Turin, Offenburg and Zurich. The idea behind the project is to develop plans that would enable participating cities to become “post-carbon cities” by the year 2050.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to pursue more specific discussions on cooperation at the working level.