Minister Černač attends opening ceremony of the Sotla nature conservation centre to mark the European Cooperation Day
The nature conservation centre has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund under the project Nature Ties. In his address, the minister underlined the importance of cross-border projects for tackling common challenges in border areas and of working across borders to find common solutions.
Slovenia’s Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) has been working with its cross-border cooperation (CBC) programme partners – Interreg V-A Slovenia-Austria, Interreg V-A Slovenia-Croatia and Interreg V-A Slovenia-Hungary to mark this year's edition of the European Cooperation Day by highlighting the impacts of cross-border projects. This year's celebration of the European Cooperation Day offers a series of events under the motto ''Celebrating 30 years together'' to mark the 30th anniversary of the European Territorial Cooperation programmes, also known as Interreg programmes. On the initiative of the European Commission and the Interact programme this year’s events put spotlight on green projects; to this end, each event will feature a symbolic tree planting.
The project Nature Ties was presented under Cooperatio Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia-Croatia 2014–2020. The event was carried out separately on both sides of the border and featured official opening of the Sotla Nature Conservation Centre in Nimno pri Rogaški Slatini in Slovenia and launch of an educational path called Zelenjak in Risvica pri Kumrovcu on the Croatian side of the border. Both events highlighted the common challenges people living in the border area face, including the planning and implementation of coordinated measures for the conservation of habitats and species in the cross-border area.
In his address delivered at the opening of the nature conservation centre, minister Černač stressed out that cross-border projects were an important element helping both Slovenians and Croatians address common challenges. ‘’The project Nature Ties and the newly opened nature conservation centre are an important contribution to our joint nature conservation efforts, helping raise awareness among the visitors of the role of nature and the importance of nature conservation, and shedding light on the need to do our best for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. The cross-border projects that we carry out under Interreg programmes show that, as we work together, we achieve better results and more sustainable impacts. We live in a time when unprecedented challenges and uncertainty have become our reality. However, as we work towards the recovery across the country and in the society and continue to build new, stronger foundations for the future of our health care, long-term care, infrastructure, and transition to a green and digital Europe, we must not lose focus on the objective of Smarter Europe. To this end, we must take on the development challenges that always come with opportunities,’’ said the minister. He underlined that we should look at the new situation rather as an opportunity that would allow us to grow as a society and become more advanced and smarter, while cherishing and building on what our ancestors had left us. ‘’That is why the ‘’Green’’ and the ‘’Smart’’ will be intertwined and interdependent in the future. What we wish is to keep nature clean and green, while working towards transition to an advanced and highly-developed society,’’ concluded minister Černač.
The opening ceremony was further attended by the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, Mayor of Rogaška Slatina, Branko Kidrič and Director of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, Teo Hrvoja Oršanič. The event also included a walk through the new nature conservation centre and a symbolic tree planting.