Balkan conference on 16th of April (Feb 24)

One year after the huge success of the one-day clean-up action on April 17th 2010 in Slovenia, Ecologists without borders are now amidst intense preparations for their first international event – Let’s Clean the Balkans in One Day! is the title of the conference, taking place in Rimske toplice from 15th to 17th April this year. It is organized with the aim to support the efforts of the global clean-up action team, focusing on Slovenia’s closest neighbours.

In the picture: Slovenian organizing team, joyful at the after-cleanup press conference in 2010

The main goal of the conference is to bring together representatives from each country of
the Balkans peninsula in one place and provide a platform for the transfer of knowledge
and experience gained by the organizers in the course of last year’s event, so that next year
and in future more international environmental actions will be carried out successfully. Since
September 2010, the team has placed extra attention to prepare the conference programme
as comprehensive and informative for the participants as possible. Discussions and workshops will be held by various experts in fundraising, project organization, communications, logistics, cleaning and identification of illegal dumpsites, and environmental issues. The event will be accompanied by a rich social programme, including team yoga.

Renowned experts as well as politicians have already confirmed their presence at the event:
EU Commissioner for the Environment dr. Janez Potočnik, Minister for the Environment and
Spatial Planning of Slovenia dr. Roko Žarnić, climate change expert dr. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj,
a representative of the European Commission, one of Slovenia’s top managers Sandi Češko,
pioneer in Slovenian public relations Nada Serajnik Sraka, and many more. The organizers of
the 2010 action will also share their “blunts and stunts” with the participants.

The interest for the conference has been excellent in all invited countries. So far, people
are coming from Albania (5), Bosnia and Herzegovina (5), Bulgaria (2), Greece (2), Kosovo
(5), Macedonia (5), Monte Negro, (5), Serbia, (5), Croatia, (2), Romania, (3), Slovenia (10),
Italy (1), Estonia (5), Latvia (3). Due to the limited space capacities, a limit of 5 activists per
country (note: Slovenia excluded) has been set.

The preparations for the Let’s Clean the Balkans in One Day! started in September 2010,
when the Ecologists without Borders were awarded the Order of Merit by the President of
the Republic of Slovenia, who organized a round table with all key partners of the clean-up
action. The regional conference and plans for the global clean-up in 2012 were presented,
and all attendants immediately offered their support in the 2012 preparations (i.e. the
majority of Slovenian NGO’s, Ministry of Defence, Ministry for the Environment and Spatial
Planning). The organization of the conference was further facilitated when the support
from the European Commission was confirmed in October 2010.

We asked few questions from one of the conference organizers, head of communications, Polonca Štritof:

How big is the conference team and what are you working on right now?
It consists of 15 people. We have just sent out invites to the selected participants and all information regarding the conference, including programme.
What has been the most challenging part in the preparations?
To get in touch with the suitable experts and managers. And to acquire sufficient financing to cover the costs, of course.
What do you personally expect and hope from the conference?
We expect that teams with immense amounts of energy, enthusiasm and willpower will be formed for each participating country. And also that the participants will feel confident to have acquired enough organizational skills to carry out the Let's Clean the Balkans in one Day! in 2012 successfully.