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Podravje region embarks on an ambitious journey toward sustainability and resilience through new circular bioeconomy strategy, which represents a transformative step forward at the revitalisation of its agricultural sector, and at addressing pressing environmental challenges, including water pollution and the negative impacts of intensive farming practices. By embracing the principles of the circular economy, Podravje aims to innovate across various fronts: improving topsoil health, advancing waste-to-energy solutions, advancing the use of bio-based materials in local value-chains and pioneering circular agricultural methodologies.

Central to this endeavor is the collaboration among a diverse coalition of 63 local stakeholders, encompassing farmers, businesses, academic institutions, and government entities. This broad alliance underscores the community's commitment to fostering a cohesive and sustainable regional economy. The strategy's foundation rests on three pivotal actions: developing systemic circular solutions, enhancing educational programs to nurture a new generation of eco-conscious citizens, and forging strong regional partnerships that propel forward the vision of a circular Podravje.

The region's strategic focus is on leveraging its agricultural heritage as a springboard for innovation. This includes exploring circular practices that enrich soil fertility, employing organic waste as a resource for bioenergy production, and promoting wastewater based irrigation techniques to mitigate scarcity issues. By doing so, Podravje aspires to not only bolster its food security and environmental sustainability but also to catalyse economic growth and social well-being. 

The strategy was developed in cooperation between RDA Podravje Maribor and E-institute and supported by the Regional Council of Podravje Region in December 2023. The initiative is bolstered by the support and guidance of the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI), a testament to the European commitment to fostering circular economy practices at the local and regional levels. This partnership facilitates knowledge exchange, access to best practices, and financial resources, empowering Podravje to navigate the complexities of transitioning towards a circular economy. The strategy is accessible here.

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