1.8.2014 12:00

Presentation of Slovenia at the Expo Milan 2015 World Exposition

Ljubljana, 1 August - Slovenia will be among 142 countries (which accounts for 88 per cent of the world's population) being presented at the Expo Milan 2015 World Exposition (www.expo2015.org), which will be open from 1 May to 31 October 2015. The coordinator of Slovenia's presentation in Milan is the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology together with the SPIRIT Slovenia public agency.

World expositions take place every five years in order to present countries through highly educational content on a specific current topic; the Paris exposition in 1889, which left behind the magnificent world-famous monument, the Eiffel Tower, as a milestone in the industrial period is one of the most famous.

The world exposition in Milan is all the more significant for Slovenia, since it is the first such event to happen in Slovenia's immediate neighbourhood. Also, the highest number of foreign tourists visiting Slovenia come from Italywhich is Slovenia's second most important foreign trading partner and the third largest investor in Slovenia. According to the organiser's forecast, the Milan exposition will be seen by 20 million people, a quarter of them Italian, and the events and presentations of the countries will also be virtually watched by a billion people around the globe.

Slovenia's objectives at the exposition are to strengthen exports, economic cooperation and business partnerships, enhance the recognisability of the I feel SLOVEnia national brand and Slovenia's reputation, and boost the recognisability of Slovenia as a green sustainable tourism-oriented tourist destination.

The theme in Milan is food, and the slogan is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

Since world expositions are primarily business and marketing events, large-scale promotional activities and target-oriented business conferences and meetings will be held in cooperation with the agro-industrial, agricultural and tourist sectors.

Slovenia is characterised by very diverse cuisine in a relatively small geographical area. Sustainable nutrition is an important element in Slovenian cuisine, and several special agricultural products or feedstuffs are protected with geographical indications or designation of origin, or are guaranteed traditional specialities.

At the world exposition, Slovenia will be presented in its own pavilion under the slogan I feel SLOVEnia, Green.Active.Healthy.

Slovenia's story at the world exposition will be a story of love of nature:

Green. Slovenia is distinguished by great and diverse natural wealth, and green technologies are the way to keep 'Slovenia green'.
Active. A green and diverse environment is the starting point for many activities in nature and an inspiration for many professional athletes.
Healthy. Healthy food from a green environment and active leisure time are the conditions for a healthy lifestyle.

SPIRIT Slovenia carried out a public procurement procedure in which the company Lumar IG d. o. o. was selected as the contractor to build the Slovenian pavilion, while the architects SoNo arhitekti d. o. o. were selected to design it.

Lumar IG d. o. o. (www.lumar.si) is a leading Slovenian manufacturer of low-energy and passive prefabricated buildings, and is present both in Slovenia and abroad with its innovative and eco-friendly solutions.
SoNo arhitekti d. o. o. (www.sono.si) is an architecture bureau that integrates the new generation of Slovenian architects who create modern and high-quality architecture combining architectural theory, study and research of locations, innovation and testing of new materials and construction methods.

The common motif in the pavilion will present Slovenia as a GREEN, ACTIVE and HEALTHY experience throughout the exposition. Interactive elements and multimedia shows will provide visitors with highly educational content on the exposition's main theme. Visitors will be encouraged to realise that, with small steps, they too can contribute to the preservation of our planet. The pyramid-shaped Slovenian pavilion, set on a geometrically varied surface, will reflect the relief diversity of Slovenia's territory: the transition from the mountains of the Alps and the hills of Pannonia and the Mediterranean to the arable areas of plains, basins and valleys, with the extraordinary underground world of caves adorned by stalagmites and stalactites in passages and halls.

Slovenian pavilion Expo Milano 2015

Slovenia's presentation will take place in its pavilion of 800 m2, while the entire area of the Slovenian plot is 1,910 m2 and in an excellent position, since it is at the centre of activity at the crossroads of two main streets at the venue and very close to the Italian pavilion. The Slovenian pavilion is expected to be relocated to Slovenia after the exposition.

In accordance with the organiser's recommendations and the contract that Slovenia signed for its participation, the pavilion will be made of natural materials, mainly wood and glass. Wood is a Slovenian strategic material, since woodland covers 60 per cent of the country. The country's exceptional past connection with wood is also demonstrated by the oldest wooden wheel with an axle in the world, which was found there; it is 5,200 years old, making it older than the Egyptian pyramids or the Mayan civilisation in Mexico. Wood is one of the most important renewable energy sources and sustainable materials of the future in Slovenia; climate change and extreme weather conditions, including this year's glaze ice, warn that mankind must redirect industry to become energy-efficient and eco-friendly, and reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases as quickly as possible. Compared with other building materials (concrete, steel), the manufacture of wooden elements requires significantly less energy and does not pollute the environment as much. The decomposition of wood following its use also puts less strain on the environment. Since wood products store CO2, they also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.
"I feel SLOVEnia, Green.Active.Healthy."

GREEN.

Preserving natural resources will be one of the main themes at Expo Milan 2015, with water receiving special attention. "No water, no life", as water is vital for all living beings. Slovenia's water wealth is enormous, and beneficial waters with numerous mineral and hot springs are a priceless gift of nature. By drinking mineral water which through the millennia has been enriched with substances important for our bodies, we hydrate our bodies and preserve our physical health, and in the thermal waters of wellness centres, we relax the body and soul.

Sustainable development in Slovenia helps keep natural drinking water clean and Slovenia 'green', which is a pre-condition for producing healthy food. With the objective of preserving the entire planet, Slovenia will present the 'Adventure for Science' project - a flight over the North Pole and measurements of black carbon in the atmosphere, which is the follow-up to the GreenLight WorldFlight project - round-the-world flight. In April and May 2013, Slovenian pilot Matevž Lenarčič measured the concentrations of black carbon in the atmosphere at the most remote places which are difficult to access, such as the North Pole, using an innovative high-tech ultralight plane which is the result of the work and knowledge of the successful Slovenian company Pipistrel and a measuring device which is also produced by a Slovenian company. Matevž Lenarčič received the title Aviator of the World 2013. Pipistrel's aircraft has received numerous prestigious international awards for innovation, such as 'aircraft of the future' and also the prestigious NASA prize for the most efficient electric aircraft. In 2010, Pipistrel received the award for the most innovative company in Europe. The results of the measurements and raising awareness that black carbon, in addition to CO2, is a major cause of global warming and thus very harmful to the green future of our planet will be presented in Milan. Black carbon can be removed from the environment more easily than CO2, which is a gas, while black carbon is in the form of particles. Off-the-shelf high-tech solutions and technologies could be used to remove black carbon from the environment efficiently and relatively cheaply.

ACTIVE.

In addition to healthy food, a healthy lifestyle also includes active leisure time. The green environment offers plenty of opportunities for various activities in all seasons. Hiking and cycling are popular ways of discovering the diversity of the Slovenian landscape, also on established international cycling and hiking routes (Alpe Adria Trail, Trans Slovenia, etc.).

Slovenia is also a destination for top athletes' preparations, and an attractive venue for sports and recreational events, since, in addition to beautiful nature, it offers infrastructure and knowledge.

The fact that Slovenia is among the most successful countries in the world in terms of medals per capita at both winter and summer Olympics is hardly a surprise.

HEALTHY.

'Back to Nature' is Slovenia's guiding principle for the theme of protecting the environment and food at the world exposition. Bees are an important symbol of a healthy planet.
Bees are especially important in agriculture, since they assist in the key task in crop production - pollination. The value of pollination is significantly greater than the value of bee products themselves. Therefore, the economic significance of crop pollination is the most important benefit we get from bees.

Slovenia's beekeeping tradition and knowledge reach far back into history, while beekeeping is also popular as a leisure activity. The Carniolan honey bee is native to Slovenia and the second most widespread bee species in the world. Beekeeping is our natural heritage and a valuable feature, and an important part of Slovenian identity. Also, a specific feature of Slovenian beekeeping, i.e. characteristic beehives and painted beehive panels, enriches the Slovenian cultural heritage.

Beekeeping products (honey, wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, etc.) are gifts directly from nature - bees. Beekeeping products are also used for apitherapy in beekeeping tourism (e.g. honey massages, lying in apiaries and listening to bees buzzing, inhaling aerosol in apiaries, etc.) which, due to Slovenia's beauties and natural features in its pristine landscape, is among the important developments in domestic beekeeping and thus a long-term competitive advantage connecting the agricultural and tourist sectors. Slovenia also manages and coordinates the work of the world association for beekeeping tourism.

Slovenian honey is among 21 Slovenian products which are protected at EU level, and Slovenia was the initiator of the European Honey Breakfast.

Chemical products for plant protection in intensive food production, excessive greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource depletion and reduction of soil fertility are only some of the things that have harmful effects on the environment, and bees are the best natural indicators of pollution. Die-off of bee colonies recently has been the consequence of the use of a new generation of pesticides which are especially poisonous for bee colonies.

Organic farming is very important for preserving the natural balance. It is also important to enable young people to come into genuine contact with nature. For several years, many Slovenian kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools have been implementing various courses for organic garden and orchard design, and for sowing buckwheat. Buckwheat produces nectar when bees are left without other sources; therefore, they can collect some of their winter stock from buckwheat, which makes the wintering of bee colonies easier. Buckwheat was once a regular dish on Slovenian tables, and is increasingly used in modern Slovenian cuisine. It is a very healthy food and highly nutritional, a source of proteins, fibres, minerals and flavonoids, and also suitable for people suffering from coeliac disease (one of the most common chronic digestive disorders) since it does not contain gluten. Buckwheat is not a demanding crop. It does not need fertilising or spraying with plant protection products during growth, so it can be produced completely organically.