Ten Bulgarian municipalities awarded in the first contest “Ekoobshtina”

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Ten Bulgarian municipalities awarded in the first contest “Ekoobshtina”

(Fourth meeting of Steering Committee for support of green procurements)

Оn 7 October 10 municipalities conducting the most active green policies in Bulgaria were awarded in an official ceremony within the Annual Meeting of local authorities, organized by NAMRB in the resort Albena.

The background: At a forum in March 2016 the French Ambassador to Bulgaria HE Xavier Laper de Kaban announced a national contest “Ekoobshtina.” The contest is an initiative of the French Embassy in Bulgaria and is aimed at supporting the objectives of the Paris Climate agreement. Institutional partners in this initiative from its start are the Ministry of Environment and Water, Ministry of Regional Development, the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund and others. Representatives of the businesses were involved in support of the initiative – Bulgarian branches of French companies, with contributions in the field of environmental and energy efficient innovative technologies such as Renault-Nissan, Saint-Gobain-Weber, Veolia, Schneider Electric and others.

The contest is intended to become a permanent sustainable platform for exchange of best practices in environmental protection and energy efficiency. This has been realized so far by conducting thematic forums on various aspects of green policies, where Bulgarian municipalities share their practices with each other and with representatives of French municipalities. Such forums were held on 6 April (policies for waters protection), April 19 (waste management), May 19 (sustainable mobility – transport), June 16 (energy efficiency). In all of them a representative of NAMRB represented the advantages and conditions for implementation of green procurements in Bulgaria.

Participation in the contest is open for all Bulgarian municipalities – their overall performance in environmental policies should be evaluated in four categories:

– Waters protection;
– Waste Management;
– Urban mobility;
– Energy efficiency in buildings.

Sittings of the juries for the assessment of applicant municipalities in the 4 categories were held in September 2016. Representatives of NAMRB took part in assessment juries of each category of the contest, as well as representatives of other partner organizations from the Steering Committee in support of GPP – the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Agency for Sustainable Energy, the National Trust EcoFund and others. After a proposal of NAMRB the implementation of green procurements were included in the evaluation criteria of the applicant municipalities.

At the official ceremony of the awarding greetings were made by the First Secretary and Chargé of Embassy of France in Bulgaria Mr. Dominique Vaagen, the Chairman of the Board of NAMRB Daniel Panov, Minister of Environment and Water Ivelina Vasileva, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Liliana Pavlova. Representatives of French companies supporting the initiative attended the ceremony. Two winners were announced for each category – small municipality (less than 10 000 people) and bigger municipality.

Awarded by categories are:

– Sustainable water management – municipalities Godech and Gabrovo;
– Sustainable waste management -Kaspichan and Targovishte;
– Energy efficiency – Bratcigovo and Zlatograd;
– Sustainable mobility – Bobov Dol, Slivnitsa, Velingrad and Kostenetz.

The event was widely covered by the Bulgarian national television and a number of other regional broadcasters.

Due to the expiry of mandate of the outgoing French Ambassador to Bulgaria NAMRB and the French embassy agreed official joining of the embassy in the Steering Committee for support of green procurements to be postponed until handing the credentials of the new ambassador. This will become in an official forum in March-April 2017, organized by the embassy and NAMRB, with the participation of representatives of municipalities and French companies, suppliers of green goods and services. In the forum, the Memorandum of Agreement between the French embassy and NAMB in support of GPP will be signed. It is envisaged that the forum also be declared the contest Ekoobshtina 2017

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