Based on its cultural and historic heritage, Rijeka is an open city and this fact is supported by many activities promoted by the City of Rijeka, in particular those tied to cooperation with cities – friends and membership and cooperation with international associations.
Friendship and cooperation agreements between sister cities
Friendship and cooperation agreements between sister cities enable them to start a number of common initiatives with the aim of encouraging economic cooperation and cooperation in the field of culture, tourism, education, port and port activities development, public and private investments to the benefit of its citizens. Elementary schools, institutions and citizens’ associations in Rijeka cooperate with related institutions in its sister cities. Economic operators established in the territory of Rijeka and in its wider neighbourhood in the territory of the Primorje – Gorski Kotar County have opportunity to widen their business and approach other markets. With some cities like, for instance, Kawasakij and Rostock, the City of Rijeka has been fostering friendly relationships for more than a decade.
Membership of International Associations
Membership and cooperation with international associations in strategic development projects enable the City of Rijeka as well as institutions, companies and partners of city administration to take part in projects funded by the EU that are implemented by the city administrations of the sister cities.
An example of such cooperation is cooperation between Genoa and Rijeka relating to the development and application of new information and communication technology aiming to improve services provided to citizens and entrepreneurs through the project titled GE.RI.T. and the website of the City of Rijeka. The project builds on the project E-MuniS owing to which then City of Rijeka improved the working processes of its administration, thus enabling faster integration into the city network of the EU.
A number of European projects co-financed by the European Union in which the City of Rijeka takes part or has taken part are tied to the application of new technology, with the aim of reducing social exclusion by using information and communication technology, through education and by increasing Internet accessibility, e-services and IT equipment. Many projects involving international cooperation are aimed at enhancing the manner in which public is informed about the services provided by the City and its utility companies, institutions, by using new, digital channels, placed in accessible public places, new tourism programmes, products and services intended for children and youth and disabled people.
Some international associations have clearly defined goals, laid down by their programmes, like for instance the European Healthy Cities Network which goal is to encourage and commit local authorities to enhancing health through its sustainable development, enhancing child and youth health, providing support to disabled people and improving the quality of life of its senior citizens. The City of Rijeka has an exceptional Social Programme whereby protecting the most socially disadvantaged citizen groups, where certain provisions enable the users of some rights to state social welfare that are above the standards imposed by the competent Ministry. Through its activity in the European Healthy Cities Network, the City of Rijeka has developed its own application – project E-adviser, the so called “social calculator” for which it received recognition on the basis of the competition “The European Public Sector Award” tackling the topic “The Public Sector as Partner for a Better Society” in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in 2015.
By signing the Covenant of Mayors, the City of Rijeka has committed itself to respecting a number of protocols and to taking additional measures with the aim of increasing energy efficiency and sustainable development and thus also climate conservation, namely reducing climate changes to the least possible measure. Since 2008, the City of Rijeka, has been a signatory of the EU Initiative Covenant of Mayors, launched by the European Commission, that gathers European cities and coordinates and directs efforts towards achieving the so called “3×20“ goals by 2020 as a response to modern climate and energy challenges. In other words, this means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, reducing energy consumption by 20% and increasing consumption from renewable energy sources in total consumption by 20%. In 2015, an annex to the Covenant of Mayors (The New Integrated Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy) was signed, initiated by the European Commission, with support from the Committee of the Regions of the EU, whereby the cities signatories committed themselves to taking additional measures of environmental protection, in view of the fact that climate changes are already taking place, and this requires immediate action. In accordance with the new agreement, it is necessary to cut CO2 emissions in the atmosphere by 40 % by 2030 and implement current European protocols aimed at climate protection.
The City of Rijeka has implemented so far a number of measures on the basis of the Covenant signed in 2008. Thus, for instance, 30 new buses were bought for public, city transport that run on compressed natural gas and they emit less CO2 gas into the atmosphere which causes climate changes, i.e. global warming. A new gas filling station has been put in operation for vehicles that run on this fuel, new buildings are built that respect energy efficiency, while making efforts to adapt the existing ones so that they comply with ecological regulations. On several buildings owned by the City of Rijeka solar panels were installed for energy production, and significant savings were made in public lighting by installing ecologically acceptable public lights.