Saturday, 18. 12. 2021

EPSA recognitions for three of Ljubljana's projects

At the competition EPSA 2021 (European Public Sector Awards), which aims to promote innovative, digital and green public administration, three projects of the City of Ljubljana received awards.

Award for the APPLAUSE project

The European project Applause, the processing of invasive alien plants into usable products and raw materials for industry, won 3rd place in the Green Public Administration category.

The APPLAUSE project, which ended on 31.12.2020, addressed unresolved issues regarding the management of invasive alien plants following a zero-waste approach and circular economy principles. In most countries IAPS are composted or incinerated, but the City of Ljubljana decided to address the issue in an innovative way. Instead of incinerating or composting IAPS, we have introduced a citizen involvement participative model, based on 3 levels of engagement adapted to citizens’ interests and motivations. Today, the IAPS management system in the City of Ljubljana is based on education and cooperation with the citizens of Ljubljana and three principles of operation:
1. ”Do it yourself”,
2. “Let's do it together” and
3. “Hand over”.
The citizens of Ljubljana, are encouraged to recognise and process IAPS by their own (1) or they can come to 5 locations where they get educated and trained how to do it (2) or they can simply hand over the biomass at the collection points (3).

Main results:
• 65 ways of processing IAPS into useful products and input materials for industry were developed.
• 3 organized Festivals of IAPS reuse in the city center had 1,300 visitors.
• 44 videos on IAPS issues published on YouTube, including DIY videos.
• 60 m3 of wood was primary processed and 339 wood products manufactured.
• 7,5 tons of herbaceous IAPS were dried and grinded, which was sufficient for production of more than 6 tons of paper from Japanese knotweed, black locust and Canadian goldenrod in different grammage.
• 3,274 citizens attended the educational workshops or voluntary harvesting actions and learned how to identify, remove and process the IAPS.
• Platform for the identification and life-long monitoring of IAPS was developed and introduced. The Platform consists of back-office applications and public application that both work upon the same, unified database. Platform is deployed to IT platform of the City of Ljubljana and combined with other spatial data of City of Ljubljana (aerial photos, parcel plan). Unified IAPS Database with lifelong activities registry was finalized by adding software module to export open data. We have gained 30,000 data for 121 plant species on 20,000 growing sites. The Platform for the identification and life-long monitoring of IAPS was one of the finalists for the best improvement in Slovenian public administration (initiative Korak naprej 2020).
• Protocol of mapping and map of Japanese knotweed made with remote sensing using aerial orthophotos and satellite data from the EU Copernicus program, e.g. Sentinel-2 imagery was prepared.
• 92 researchers and 375 undergraduate and postgraduate students participated in project’s activities.
• 8 new materials, 33 new recipes, 5 new methods and 2 new processes were developed.
• 1 patent was gained (Russia), 4 are still in the process of verification.
• 5 separate stand-alone circular business models were implemented.


Good Practice Certificate: Chivalry in Ljubljana

In the City of Ljubljana, we also responded to the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 by organizing assistance to the most vulnerable groups of citizens, as we wanted to help those most in need in the spirit of solidarity and compassion.

We titled the program of aiding those in need "Chivalry". Among other things, we distributed 30,250 warm meals to the socially vulnerable, over 1,400 employees in health and nursing institutions were offered assistance with transport and we provided about 2,000 free overnight stays for 200 employees in hospital intensive care departments living outside Ljubljana, we distributed more than 1,600 computers to students and pupils for remote learning, offered telephone consultations to hundreds of people, etc.

The program is based on the on-call service of the public company LPP, which with the help of electric vehicles Kavalir (Cavalier, hence the name Chivalry) driving in the city center, the Žale cemetery and in the area of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana and the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana offers free transport to those who find it difficult to walk long distances on foot.

Good Practice Certificate: youth awareness-raising program on sustainable development

Since 2018, we have been conducting a program for awareness-raising on sustainable development for children and the youth.

The program is innovative in several aspects. It is a good example of how the local community can contribute to raising awareness on sustainable development and thus enrich the curriculum in kindergartens and primary schools with practical content. It is carried out by non-governmental organizations selected in annual tenders, ensuring that the promoters of sustainable development among children are experts in the field who can provide children with the most current knowledge and findings. The model of financing the program is also innovative since it is funded entirely from the savings deriving from energy renovations of buildings.

From 2018 to 2020, 645 pre-school children and over 5600 primary school pupils were included in the program, with the program also continuing during the epidemic.

About the award

The EPSA is presented by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), which supports the efforts of organizations to promote innovative, digital and green public administration. Public sector organizations at all levels, as well as public companies and agencies from the EU Member States, can apply for the award. In doing so, the proposed projects are expected to contain innovative solutions that are effectively planned and implemented to meet the highest priority needs of stakeholders and give verified and concrete results.