The annual assembly of Sunce, where the Work Report for the year 2022 was accepted, was held on March 30, 2023, on the premises of Sunce and via the Zoom platform, and 20 active members participated.
The executive director and head of the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Program, Gabrijela Medunić-Orlić, presented the summary of the Work Report for 2022, which was unanimously adopted.
Among the significant successes on the topic of waste management, we highlight the project: For Plastic-Free Croatian Islands, which has been successfully completed. Within this project, the first two-day interdisciplinary conference on priorities in waste management – reduce, reuse, and recycle, Beyond Plastic Croatia, was organized in September.
It should be mentioned that we also organized the educational-ecological regatta Cleaning Sailing Race. Also, during the year, we participated in several public consultations related to waste management at the local, national, and EU level.
In 2022, we included 213 children and young people in our educational programs, while we included 365 educational staff in educational programs intended for educational staff.
In total, we organized 20 public events (Eko Lastovo, Split Biking Tour, seven monthly swap fairs and a swap fair on the eve of the European Waste Reduction Week in Split, and three additional swap fairs in Dubrovnik, Trogir and Lake Vransko, four film events – Zavrti film u glavi, presentation of the student product A’la Pašticada in the Kiosk of the Marjan Society, Night of the Albatross Lastovo and Night of the Albatross Komiža). We also participated in the Luka i igara fair on Lake Vrana, where we presented ways to prevent waste, especially single-use plastics, and a public event organized by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, listen to the Voice of Nature, Protect Croatia’s Biodiversity. During the year, we also organized two Green trips. In all these events 1467 participants took part.
Cooperation continued with the University Department of Maritime Studies, the Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Law through teaching databases, and additionally with the Faculty of Economics in Split with the status of Sunce as a host organization for additional professional practice for students.
A total of 15 students were involved in programs of service-learning, professional practice, and activities of Sunce as a teaching base.
During the year, three advocacy campaigns, Together without Plastic, Stop Beach Filling, and Become a Posidonia Keeper, were carried out. The campaign Together Without Plastic was carried out within the framework of the aforementioned For Plastic-Free Croatian Islands project, and we successfully advocated the prevention of waste generation and the avoidance of single-use plastics.
The Stop Beach Filling campaign was carried out as part of the SEAS project and aimed to make the public aware that coastal management should be guided by the principles of environmental protection, primarily taking into account the precautionary principle. This means that every human activity in the environment must first be assessed as safe for the environment as part of the procedure provided for by law and with the participation of expert bodies.
The campaign Become a Posidonia Keeper started in 2021 and continued through intensive work on issues of the preservation of Posidonia meadows. In June, the final conference of the international Interreg SASPAS project Conference on Reducing the Impact of Anchoring on Marine Flowering Plants was organized in Split. At the conference, the results of the project were presented, experiences were exchanged between different stakeholders, and a series of recommendations for the preservation of Posidonia meadows were developed and communicated.
Seven information and communication campaigns were also carried out, the topics of which were related to the activities and projects that took place during 2022.
These are the campaigns: Live Green (waste reduction); Swap Fair; Cleaning Sailing Race; Split Biking Tour; Composting (SENSE); Seabirds, Marine Waste, and Education (Life Artina), and Sustainable Student Companies.
We continued to coordinate the development of eight management plans that include a total of 23 protected areas and 70 ecological network areas (36 marine and 34 terrestrial) in the area of the Krka estuary, the island of Hvar, Maloston Bay, Pelješac, Korčula, Sniježnica, Konavosko polje, and Mljet. During this process, we encouraged a better understanding of the value and pressure of protected areas and the ecological network and strengthened intersectoral cooperation in solving them. Area descriptions for eight management plans were developed and adopted.
Through the LIFE Artina project, we worked on testing fishing tools to reduce the seabird bycatch in cooperation with fishermen and the Institute for Oceanography and Fisheries. The study Report on the testing of modified fishing gear and measures to reduce the seabird bycatch in Croatia as part of the LIFE Artina project was prepared. In November, a panel discussion Experiences and recommendations for reducing the seabird bycatch was organized in Split, and a proposal for measures to reduce the seabird bycatch was drawn up.
You can read the complete Work Report for 2022 at the link.
Executive Director Medunić-Orlić used the opportunity to present the Law Office Krstulović-Tvrdić, opened on the initiative of former employees of Sunce, with the aim of focusing on environmental cases and contributing to the further development of environmental law in Croatia. We are planning cooperation with the office, and the first one is as part of the SEAS project.
It was pointed out that the restructuring process of Sunce, in which all Sunce employees and the Board of Directors are actively participating, has begun, and is expected to be completed in 2023.
Activities for members that await us this year were also mentioned, including the Diving Weekend, Cleaning Sailing Race, and the celebration of 25 years of Sunce. Find out more about these activities through our monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.