4th International Integral Economy Conference in Slovenia: Exploring Collaboration between Europe, Africa and the Middle East

13 to 14 September 2018: This two-days highly interactive conference turned out to be a very productive event, with about 60 local and global integral development thinkers and practitioners learning from each other and exploring concrete collaboration potential across continents

The guiding theme of the conference was “Integrating Local and Global Perspectives on Burning Issues and Looking for Integral Green Solutions”. The event followed similar international conferences on the Integral Green Economy in 2013, 2014 and 2017 in Slovenia.

Infact, since 2013, in a unique process of co-construction, Trans4m and the Citizens’ Initiative for an Integral Green Slovenia have applied the Integral Economics framework within the innovation ecosystem of the European Union, on the level of individual sustainable enterprises and local communities, but also on national level, and depicted this multidimensional and multi-layered process in the Routledge volume Integral Green Slovenia (Piciga, Schieffer and Lessem, 2016). Among other contributions, a new concept of “smart integration of European Union policies for sustainable development” had been proposed.

Taking this journey forward, this fourth International Conference pursued successfully the following objectives:

Continue and build on the Integral Worlds paradigm for addressing global challenges and as promising theoretical background for the 2030 Agenda as well, particularly building on Ubuntu philosophy (“I am because we are”) originating from Africa.

  • Proposing the Integral Green Economy and Society theoretical model, illustrated with practice cases, as the conceptual framework for developing sustainable local and regional policies and practices.
  • Explore the possibility of using combined SD metrics, i.e. EF and HDI, to plan and monitor integral green development on various levels.
  • Showing potentials and expected benefits of integral green economy and society approach – illustrated with promising practice cases – for resolving challenges to SD in Africa that can also be promoted through Europe – Africa cooperation.
  • Present and strengthen Slovenia as a Pilot Country for an Integral Green Economy and Society, particularly as a possible Learning Region for SD. Creating a powerful co-learning, research and networking opportunity for Slovenian and international participants (from the global Trans4m network, as well as others) of the conference, with a view to future cooperation.

Hosted in the inspiring venue of award-winning Kindergarden Group Slovenska Bistrica in Poljcane, the conference was co-convened by the Citizens’ Initiative for an Integral Green Slovenia, Trans4m, the University of Maribor, the Development Agency of the Savinjska Region (RaSr), the Slovenska Bistrica Kindergarden, and the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.

Trans4m joined with altogether 14 of its international fellows, representing South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, UK, Switzerland and France.

While the first conference day was dedicated to sharing best integral practices from Slovenia and from the Trans4m Community, the second day was held in workshop style, focussing on concrete co-learning and collaboration potential. Three concrete projects have been proposed:

The conference ended with participants sharing the huge value that this event, building on previous conferences, has generated, as a growing field of integral collaboration – strengthening the Slovenian and international integral community simultaneously.