Alpine region ministers talk carbon neutrality efforts

Ljubljana – Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak discussed on Friday with his Alpine Convention counterparts the modal shift to rail and climate policy based on the premises prepared by the Swiss presidency of the convention. They agreed that cooperation between Alpine countries was essential.

On the basis of the ministers’ discussion during the online meeting, the Swiss presidency will now prepare a joint action plan to be unveiled during the conference of the Alpine region’s ministers responsible for environment and transport and the EU in early September, the Slovenian Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning said.

The Alpine Convention is at the forefront of climate action. “Slovenia expresses its support for the strengthening of cooperation on the pan-Alpine level in the field of environment and transport to support the vision of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest,” said Vizjak.

In the Slovenian transport sector, road transport accounts for almost 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. This is in part due to the country’s transit location and partly a result of the dispersed population. Sustainable mobility is therefore Slovenia’s key challenge in both urban and rural areas.

On top of efforts to reduce emissions, boost sustainable mobility and promote new technologies, attention must also be paid to efforts to cut down mobility and transport needs. Spatial planning has an important role to play in this, as it can make organisation of activities more prudent and step up sustainable connectivity.

“We believe that countries in the Alps area share many of these common challenges, which allows for the exchange of experience, knowledge or good practices based on the best available technology or on alternative models of sustainable mobility. We see the exchange of good practices as a potential benefit for further work in this field,” the minister noted.

He said it was important for Slovenia to strive to improve public transport in a way that provides more opportunities for affordable, efficient and sustainable active lifestyles.

“We are devoting a significant share of EU and state funds to the construction and development of rail and cycling networks. In doing so, we hope to encourage and enable a more sustainable mobility and a change in the behaviour of people and businesses,” he added.