In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainable development in all areas. The strategic orientations and documents clearly identify the need for change, which is wide-ranging and crucial. This is also the case for the development of protected natural areas, which are part of everyday life and part of the global environment.

The interests of residents and visitors are intertwined, putting nature under pressure. The key question is how to change human attitudes towards the environment at the level of society, groups and individuals, without going to extremes, but through a persistent and gradual approach.

New, modern ways of sustainable coexistence need to be found, taking into account the experiences and beliefs of each individual, and involving privileged leaders and change agents.

2024 Conference

The content of this year’s consultation, part of the International Wildflower Festival, will focus on an overview of the challenges in shaping development policies at the EU and national level, a review of the current state of nature, agriculture and tourism in these areas, and the implementation of the objectives of the Green Deal in practice.

On Friday 24 May, the 2nd Sustainable Development of Protected Nature Areas and How to Put Them into Practice Panel was held in Bohinj as part of the 18th International Wild Flower Festival.

The presentations, which impressed the participants, presented different aspects of the necessary future actions to maintain food production, preserved nature and resources and to involve visitors who know how to appreciate this through tourism. Experts in the fields of agriculture, nature and tourism presented current activities and their intentions to continue to develop policies that can contribute to this. During the discussion, participants stressed the importance of taking action on the problems they face. The panel discussion with excellent panellists also brought out the different policy perspectives in putting these objectives into practice.


Among the many challenges faced in protected areas, the management of carnivores, especially wolves, was highlighted as playing a key role in the conservation of pastoralism in the high mountain pastures, and appropriate solutions will need to be found as soon as possible.

We invite you to watch individual contributions by distinguished guests, who gave excellent presentations on the issues they are shaping at European policy level:

  • Dr. Wolfgang Burtsher, Director-General, Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission. How to maintain food security, farmers’ incomes and conserve nature and resources in the face of many challenges, including climate change and biodiversity loss. How to balance the pace and scale of change are questions that can only be answered through dialogue.
  • Franc Bogovič MEP. Highlighted the importance of dialogue between different minds, which is essentially what this consultation is about, and through confronting different opinions we can develop common ideas. In his contribution, he touched upon the process of implementing the Green Deal objectives in the field of food production and energy, the dilemmas of implementation, the challenges of agriculture in the EU and the necessary measures for future development.
  • Peter Schmidt, President of the NAT Section, European Economic and Social Committee. He stressed the need to establish food policy as a key development model. Power imbalances in the food chain are a key factor in farmers’ incomes being unfair, and addressing the whole chain is crucial, as there is currently an imbalance between stakeholders. It is therefore essential to establish a comprehensive food policy. Short food chains are key to future development.

The next section focused on the implementation of national policies, the state of play in the different sectors and the challenges for future development. We invite you to take a look at the contributions:

  • Maša Kociper, State Secretary, President’s Office
  • Roman Žveglič, President, Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Dubravka Kalin, Director General, Directorate for Tourism, Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport
  • Simona Vrevc, Speaker, Special Committee on Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food
  • Dr. Ida Jelenko Turinek, Biodiversity Sector, Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning
  • Mateja Žvikart, Nature Conservation Adviser, Nature Conservation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia
  • Barbara Zmrzlikar, Head of Research and Development, Slovenian Tourist Board

In a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Emil Erjavec, an interesting and lively debate took place on the state of play and the response to the challenges of developing sensitive nature areas.

More than 100 experts, farmers and representatives of various institutions and organisations highlighted important issues to be addressed in the future in an active debate.

You are invited to watch and share.


Different sectors have very different perceptions of their role and priorities in the same space. The actions of individual stakeholders in the same space are particularly important in special areas such as nature conservation areas. We have identified 3 sectors that are highly interdependent and where cooperation and mutual understanding is particularly important: agriculture, nature conservation and tourism. Therefore, the main purpose of the consultation was to bring together stakeholders from all three sectors in one place and to engage in a dialogue that is not always easy. This was confirmed by the speakers and participants in their contributions.
When different policies are involved in development activities, it is of utmost importance for such sensitive areas that they are coordinated and sufficiently targeted. Therefore, this also needs to be given a great deal of attention, which is what we have also addressed. As an example, we can look at the issue of agricultural development in these areas, which are specific in terms of their natural features and very diverse in terms of their structure. It is therefore important to adapt policies to the development needs of individual areas. What they all have in common, however, is that we need structural diversity and we need to encourage all types of farms, large, medium-sized and small.
Large, specialised, technologically modern farms have emerged as a result of incentive policies. They produce large quantities of cheap but quality food for widespread consumption. They are urgently needed to achieve food security objectives. Then there is the structure of medium-sized farms, which, because of their smaller scale, cannot keep up with the global market in terms of costs. They therefore build on the added value of their production, processing primary agricultural products in the traditional way and ensuring tradition, high quality and direct links with customers. Their production is usually certified, as this also ensures consumer confidence. They are a key building block of local supply chains.
The third group are small, self-sustaining farms, which represent the fabric of the past, ensure the mosaic character of the landscape and, by ensuring their own supply, have a significant impact on reducing environmental pressures and ensuring biodiversity. What all three groups have in common is that they cannot survive on the fruits of their labour. They also face climate change, consumer expectations, uncertain market conditions, demands to change practices and adapt technologies, administrative requirements and many other challenges.
Landscapes where biodiversity is preserved are an increasingly important product for tourism, as modern holidaymakers increasingly demand green and nature-based experiences. This is also evident in the data on tourism recovery after the pandemic, where green destinations have shown the fastest recovery. At the same time, high tourist arrivals can also damage the environment and nature. This makes the management of tourist destinations extremely important. This starts with a clear strategy and serious implementation of its objectives. The nature conservation sector has long warned of unsustainable spatial practices and biodiversity losses that will have negative consequences in the long term.
It has a growing number of powerful tools to halt these negative processes, but also recognises that they are not working effectively enough. The fact is that nature cannot be restored, we can only put in place actions that will prevent further decline in the short term and, in cooperation with other stakeholders, find development solutions that will reverse the process in the long term. This is why dialogue and the search for common solutions is so important. We invite you to watch the recordings of the speakers at the consultation, each of whom has made an important contribution to this dialogue in their own field.

The panel will feature speakers we consider to be the most relevant at the moment. We asked them to outline the key challenges to the sustainable development of sensitive areas and how they think they should be addressed.

The first part of the panel “What is the way forward to achieve the Green Deal?” will be presented by policy makers at EU level:

The Common Agricultural Policy is facing major challenges and we are very honoured to have the Director-General, Dr Wolfgang Burtscher, who with his exceptional knowledge, experience and clear vision is leading the implementation of the EU’s key orientations through the Common Agricultural Policy. He is a great conversationalist and without doubt the person who knows and understands the challenges of the future best and has the knowledge of how to address them.

The European Parliament is directly involved in implementing the objectives of the Green Deal and MEP Franc Bogovič has been extremely involved in the adoption of legislation in this area. A passionate defender of agriculture, with an exceptional knowledge of the situation and the state of play, he has always been very critical of the (over)ambition of the scope and the timeframe envisaged. We are delighted that he will share with us his experience and vision of the way forward.

The European Economic and Social Committee, an institution of organised civil society at EU level, plays a consultative role in the adoption of European legislation. Peter Schmidt is chair of the Expert Group on Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT), which is responsible for a wide range of issues such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), sustainable food supply, environmental protection, the circular economy, the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change. He is an excellent expert in these fields who enjoys a high reputation on the European stage and his presentation on the need to focus on sustainable food systems was a very important contribution to the consultation.

The World Tourism Organisation (UN Tourism) is the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As a leading international tourism organisation, it promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. Until recently, the European Office was headed by Prof Alessandra Priante, who currently heads the Italian Tourism Organisation (ENIT). She will bring her wealth of experience and wide-ranging knowledge to the topic of the way forward to achieve the goals of the Green Deal.

The policy design for this Financial Perspective has set high targets and an ambitious timetable. The extent to which we have already succeeded in putting them into practice and how the process will continue are important questions, as well as whether there has been any change in the way these principles are being put into practice.

The legislative process has been hotly debated, and we have been confronted with warnings that such radical changes as are being planned risk food security and the uncompetitiveness of the food sector. The farmers’ protests of last year and this year have made it clear that these are extremely complex processes that urgently require a comprehensive food policy, fair relations in the agri-food chain that guarantee farmers a fair income for their food production and a more balanced and sustainable rural development. This is in recognition of the fact that the direction of the Green Deal is the right one, and that the path needs to be defined in consensus with stakeholders.

At the same time, we are facing the challenge of farm abandonment in areas less suitable for farming, a decline in the number of small farms, a low proportion of young farmers and low incomes from farming.

The objectives of the Green Deal are embedded in all development documents. To what extent are they already being felt in policy implementation, what is the response of stakeholders, will they deliver the expected results and what are the next steps in translating the objectives into implementation documents.

But change also affects the way individuals and groups act when making development decisions. How they are affected is also reflected in the situation and trends in specific sectors and areas. The consultation also aims to shed light on the state of agriculture, nature conservation and tourism, recent trends and future prospects.


Sustainable development is a process that requires clear direction and sustained action. Through our activities, we want to raise awareness of the need for this process and prove as an example of good practice. This was one of the reasons for organising the first consultation. The consultation and the subsequent meeting produced useful content, which you can find below.

The 17th International Wildflower Festival, a traditional event aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the fragile Alpine region, was organised in Bohinj from 19 May to 4 June 2023. This year’s event included a live and webcast conference. The aim was to address challenges in terms of food production, tourism and nature conservation in protected areas.

The conference brought together 80 experts who prepare, manage, steer or advise on specific development projects on the ground, development policy makers, representatives of civil society from various fields, and experts working in the scientific field on sustainable development issues.

Contributions on the theme of the event were made by the Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, members of the European Economic and Social Committee, MEP Franc Bogovič, Ministers Uroš Brežan and Matjaž Han, State Secretary Dr Darij Krajčič, President of the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia Roman Žveglič, Director of the Chamber of Tourism and Catering of Slovenia, Director of the Slovenian Nature Conservation Institute Fedja Pobegajlo, Director of the Slovenian Nature Conservation Institute, mag. Teo Hrvoje Oršanič, Dr Tanja Šumrada, researcher at the Faculty of Biotechnics, Klemen Langus, Director of Tourism Bohinj, and Aleš Zdešar, Head of the Spatial Planning Department at the Triglav National Park.

In moderated workshops, participants prepared answers to 2 questions on how to strengthen institutional cooperation between the agriculture, tourism and nature conservation sectors and what actions they would recommend LAS to include in their strategies for the new programming period. They stressed the need for integration, cooperation and dialogue to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in these important areas. It is a process that such panels also help to guide.

An important outcome of the conference is the initiative to set up a national platform to promote good practices in cooperation between different stakeholders in protected areas. At Tourism Bohinj, we take this initiative as a challenge and will take an active approach to its implementation.

In recent years, we have been talking more than ever about the need for sustainable development in all areas and regions. The strategic orientations adopted in the last period and the strategic documents that address them operationally address this quite clearly. But the fact is that these policies are bringing about change. And they are very big. Whether we are ready for them, whether we are ready to accept them and whether we are ready to implement them are key questions that need to be answered all the time.

Natural area insurances are no exception. In our country, they are usually part of the normal environment, which means that they are lived in by people who are engaged in economic activities and they are a place where visitors come to visit. Notwithstanding our recognition of their social importance and the special treatment given to them, they are not isolated and remain part of the global landscape, socially, economically and environmentally. Here, too, different interests meet. Residents expect to be provided with the economic and social conditions to achieve an adequate standard of living. Visitors want to fully enjoy the special features and beauty that characterise these areas, while enjoying all the comforts they expect. Nature and the environment are therefore under great pressure, and the changes that are taking place are a fact that cannot be escaped.

The main question is therefore solely how to change people’s attitudes towards the environment around them and the way they manage it. And this at the level of society as a whole, of individual groups and of each individual. And extremes are not acceptable. The process must be slow and steady. In the past, when people were fully interdependent with their environment and were part of a place, relationships and interactions were established which, from today’s perspective, we describe as sustainable. They can no longer be fully reimbursed. A new, modern way must be found. The experience and beliefs of each individual are important in this respect. Those who have the privilege of directing change are just as important as those who bring it about and those who implement it.


Every year, Bohinj hosts the International Wiled Flower Festival, a traditional event aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the fragile Alpine region. The festival is a bouquet of botanical tours, events and culinary experiences dedicated to wild plants, Bohinj’s floral wealth and local offerings, especially those certified under the Bohinjsko/From Bohinj Collective Brand.