MOVE.BG-initiated Green Restart Coalition Marks One Year in Support of Sustainable and Innovative Development of Bulgaria

The alliance is a cross-disciplinary ad-hoc coalition that unites innovation experts and environmentalists from MOVE.BG, WWF Bulgaria, Greenpeace Bulgaria, and the Institute for Circular Economy.

От МOVE.BG, публикувана на 27 юли 2021

The unprecedented civil society coalition Green Restart has marked its first anniversary after four organizations united in support of the sustainable and innovative development of Bulgaria 12 months ago. The alliance is an ad-hoc coalition that was initiated by MOVE.BG Foundation with the aim to help the preparation of Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) under the European Union’s Mechanism “Next Generation EU” and turn the NRRP into a long-term program for the green and innovative future of Bulgaria. The Green Restart Coalition includes MOVE.BG, WWF Bulgaria, Greenpeace Bulgaria, and the "Institute for Circular Economy".

Various Green Restart Coalition’s proposals have been included in the latest version of the NRRP due to the active work of the alliance in the past year and the inclusive process of the Plan’s revision implemented by the caretaker government. On July 26, the Green Restart Coalition marked its anniversary by organizing a special discussion “Bulgarian NRRP: A Plan for the Future?” with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov who is in charge of the finalization of the Plan.

The fourth version of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, presented on July 20, includes 57 investment projects and 43 sectoral reforms via which the country will secure EUR 6 billion in additional funding from the “Next Generation EU”. Several proposals that the Green Restart Coalition has been promoting for more than a year are included in the latest version of the NRRP: increased support for innovative businesses, including by doubling the number of innovative startups to be supported in universities, improving the parameters and focus of the green transition and circular economy SME fund, increasing the budget and scope of biodiversity investments and reforms, including measures to restore key ecosystems, helping households transition to renewable energy by financing the introduction of solar systems.

"The Recovery and Resilience Plan can be a highway towards the innovative and green transformation of Bulgaria's economy. With that understanding, we brought together digital businesses, investors, ecological experts, and scientists to define a smart future-oriented reform agenda that can help the country's sustainable development and can position it as one of the key players in the landscape of prosperous Europe of tomorrow. We have been lobbying for those ideas as a constructive contra point of the status quo circles for more than a year now. Our unprecedented coalition will stay to defend that path of the country in the future,” explained Sasha Bezuhanova, Initiator of Green Restart Coalition and Founder of MOVE.BG.

Sasha Bezuhanova. Founder of MOVE.BG, and Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov.

Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov thanked the Green Restart Coalition and stressed the importance of planning our policies on time for global challenges such as climate change.

"There are many global risks that we underestimate and the pandemic really reminds us of them. Climate change and biodiversity loss are insurmountable challenges if we let them happen.

In Bulgaria, for a long time, the public was not aware of those risks and that is why I am grateful to participants in the discussion - we need to talk about those challenges. For a long time, the political class has not put attention to the need for a green transition and, therefore, it is now coming too fast for some people, it seems imposed from somewhere, which determines their fears of socio-economic risks that may arise," said Mr. Pekanov

In the discussion took part also Vesselina Kavrakova, Country Manager of WWF Bulgaria, Svetoslav Stoykov, Co-Founder of the "Institute for Circular Economy", Meglena Antonova, expert Climate and Energy at Greenpeace-Bulgaria, Marin Marinov, author Innovation and Startup Development at MOVE.BG, and Apostol Dyankov, expert Climate and Energy at WWF Bulgaria.

About the Green Restart Coalition

Over the past year, the Green Restart Coalition has created five expert opinion papers with over 200 recommendations for improvements to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, proposed by 50 of the leading Bulgarian experts in the fields of innovative economy and startup development, climate mitigation, energy transition, circular economy, biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture. The Coalition has also organized discussions on the future of Bulgaria, meetings with specialists, as well as training for journalists.

Vesselina Kavrakova, Country Manager of WWF Bulgaria, joined the discussion online.

The Green Restart Coalition has published a special project "Textbook on the Future History of Bulgaria", which shows the possible positive development of Bulgaria if a group of long-term measures is implemented via the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. To mark our first anniversary, the “The Green Restart Coalition” has published an English version of the Textbook with resumes of the seven lessons: Innovative Business, Industry 4.0, Skills of the Future, Circular Economy, Energy Transition, Climate Change, Biodiversity. All reforms in  Bulgaria's Future History Textbook are expert-based, given in a special brainstorming session organized by the Green Restart Coalition.

From left to the right: Apostol Dyankov, expert Climate and Energy at WWF Bulgaria, Svetoslav Stoykov, Co-Founder of the "Institute for Circular Economy", Marin Marinov, author Innovation and Startup Development at MOVE.BG, and Meglena Antonova, expert Climate and Energy at Greenpeace-Bulgaria.

Watch the full VOD of the discussion “Bulgarian NRRP: A Plan for the Future?” here in the Bulgarian language.

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