Forum Presents 150 Ideas of 55 Leading Experts for Green Development of Sofia

On Earth Day, MOVE.BG presented its report "Mission Green Sofia: Prepared for the Future" at an event attended by the Mayor of Sofia Mr. Vasil Terziev, representatives of the main parties in the Sofia City Council, as well as experts from science and business.


От МOVE.BG, публикувана на 22 април 2024

MOVE.BG has published a report with 150 ideas for the green development of Sofia, given by 55 leading Bulgarian experts from different fields. The report "Mission Green Sofia" was presented on Earth Day, April 22, at a special forum with the participation of Sofia Mayor Vasil Terziev, representatives of the main parties in the Sofia Municipal Council, as well as experts from science and business.

The report covers several key areas related to the success of green transformation at the local government level in the country: introducing mechanisms for coordination of municipal green development policies; making a successful energy transition at the local government level; reforming urban planning in line with climate change; involving business in the green transformation of the municipality; and involving citizens and the role of communication in this process.

Among the recommendations in the Report are:

  • Establish an Institute for Climate and Energy to be responsible for the coordination of the municipal climate policies and green transition of Sofia;
  • Draft a Green Transition Strategy of the Municipality for the next ten years to come and develop annual action plans for the implementation of the Strategy over the first four years;
  • Update the 2021-2030 Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan of the Municipality of Sofia (SECAP) which includes adaptation measures with a view to enhancing the adaptation targets and ambitions;
  • Develop a platform of the one-stop-shop type for the green transition support measures under the various operational programs; 
  • Reform Sofia district heating with the aim of decarbonizing the company and transitioning it to renewable energy; 
  • Help energy-poor households by installing solar panels on the roofs of municipal buildings and donating the energy to these households; 
  • Prioritize the introduction of nature-based solutions for the adaptation of Sofia to the manifestations of climate change; 
  • Create a dedicated communication strategy to explain green development with a focus on benefits for households, businesses, and society; 
  • Make green innovation a thematic focus of the Sofia Investment Agency.

Mission Green Sofia: why are local authorities important?

Local authorities are key to the success of sustainable development policies because 70% of the measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of adaptation actions in the European Union depend on local authorities (storms, floods, wildfires, drought). Therefore, MOVE.BG's initiative "Mission Green Sofia" puts the important topic of the green transformation of the municipalities in Bulgaria through the example of the largest municipality in Bulgaria - Sofia is home to 20% of the population of Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality is responsible for 40% of the country's GDP and for these reasons, it suits Sofia to serve as a model to the other municipalities. 

"Green transformation has no alternative if we want to preserve the conditions for a quality life for future generations. Green development is an opportunity to live in cities with cleaner air, beautiful parks, and playgrounds. Tomorrow's economy is sustainable - if we want to develop a competitive economy, and attract quality investors and new jobs, we need to create the conditions today. With this motivation, we gathered over 50 Bulgarian experts and formulated possible practical steps and recommendations for local authorities. MOVE.BG's "Mission Green Sofia" report, which we are presenting today symbolically on Earth Day, provides some of the solutions for such a green development of our city," said Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG and Moderator of the forum.

"Green policies are a priority of our governance. Sofia Municipality is working on them in two directions. The first is the maintenance of the greenery in the city, the parks, and the protection of water, and forests, which reflects on the quality of life of all citizens of Sofia. The other direction is the development of all the key systems and the reforms that need to be made. It is important that we as a society and economy look at waste as a raw material that we can use efficiently by increasing and improving recycling," said the Mayor of Sofia during the opening part of the Forum.

After the opening part, the Forum continued with a roundtable discussion on the topics of the Report. The discussion was attended by Anna Stoykova, Municipal Councillor from GERB-SDS, Borislav Kolev, Energy Expert at “Save Sofia”, Associate Professor Marina Stefanova, PhD, Vice Dean for Sustainable Development, Empowerment and Engagement, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Sofia University, Diana Dimitrova, Conservation Director, WWF Bulgaria, and Genady Kondarev, Senior Associate for Central and Eastern Europe, E3G.

The Forum "Mission Green Sofia: Prepared for the Future" is supported by Veolia Bulgaria.

Participants in the Roundtable, from left to right: Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG and Moderator of the Forum, Anna Stoykova, Municipal Councillor from GERB-SDS, Borislav Kolev, Energy Expert at “Save Sofia”, Associate Professor Marina Stefanova, PhD, Vice Dean for Sustainable Development, Empowerment and Engagement, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Sofia University, Diana Dimitrova, Conservation Director, WWF Bulgaria, and Genady Kondarev, Senior Associate for Central and Eastern Europe, E3G.

Mission Green Sofia: see all ideas for green development 

The “Mission Green Sofia Report” is available on the MOVE.BG website here. The recommendations for a successful green transformation are based on the ideas of 55 leading experts that MOVE.BG gathered a few weeks ago in a group work format. Participants included representatives of local and central government, experts from science and the civil sector, and representatives of business and the financial sector. In the Report, the recommendations of the participants are summarized and categorized and can be implemented by Sofia Municipality as well as by other municipalities in Bulgaria. View all recommendations here.

A full recording of the "Mission Green Sofia: Prepared for the Future" forum is available in Bulgarian language here. View an album of photos from the event here.

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