Programme agreement signed for the Environment programme in Bulgaria

The programme agreement for Bulgaria – Environment was signed on 10 April 2018.

BG environment programme agreement signed

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Ministry of Environment and Water
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA)
  3. The programme’s objective is: Improved environmental status in ecosystems and reduced adverse effects of pollution and other human activities
  4. The programme funding amounts to € 13,000,000 (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

Sustainable use of our natural capital, reduced vulnerability to climate change and a push towards a less carbon- and resource intensive economy are all key factors for economic and social cohesion in Europe. Pressures on the environment come from several sectors and causes. In Bulgaria it has been recognized that efforts are required in order to improve the knowledge of ecosystems; ramp up efforts on monitoring of the marine environment; enhance climate change adaptation capacities; and to take steps towards a more circular economy. 

The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 calls on Member States to map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory. In order to halt and reverse loss of biodiversity, it is essential that the monetary value provided by the ecosystems to cater for a strategy that ensures sustainable development and prosperity for present and future generations is recognised. Improved and faster implementation of new and existing legislation and a higher awareness level among the population is required to ensure sustainable growth and use of resources. 

As a country in the Black Sea region, developing and implementing a sustainable marine policy is also high on Bulgaria’s agenda. Due to the pressure on the marine ecosystems from various sources, there is a need to undertake more research and data collection to ensure adequate planning and mitigation efforts for the future. 

The Bulgarian Waste Management Plan 2014-2020 addresses a number of challenges related to over-consumption of raw materials, inadequate waste recycling and reuse, high rates of landfill disposal, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions are all serious challenges. Although EU funds address some of these concerns, work remains to be done in order to ensure improved recycling and reuse-rates in various sectors, including households, industry and construction.

Adaptation to climate change will need to take place on a local level. Municipalities therefore need to devise strategies to ensure they are prepared for changing weather patterns and their consequences (e.g. how it affects their infrastructure and planning policies). Improving the capacity of Bulgarian municipalities to develop, assess and implement their strategies through new and improved solutions for the most efficient interventions has been identified as one particular area in need of support. 
In order to understand more about the scope and potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Bulgaria, work is needed to address knowledge gaps on sources, transport solutions and storage alternatives. The topic will be addressed bilaterally through meetings and seminars exploring the potential for CCS in Bulgaria.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The EEA Grants’ Environment programme in Bulgaria will focus on investments in infrastructure, research, development of strategies, training and awareness-raising and will target national authorities, regional administrations, municipalities, educational institutions, scientific institutions, NGOs, civil society and private enterprises. This will contribute to improved knowledge of the economic value of Bulgaria’s ecosystems and the different types of services they provide and, in the longer term, better protection of ecosystems. Enhanced knowledge of the status of marine ecosystems will increase national authorities’ ability to assess which actions should be prioritised in order to improve the marine environment. Improved capacities on municipal level to adapt to a changing climate will first and foremost provide better protection for citizens and economic assets. Municipal improvements towards reduced waste and improved resource use will also benefit inhabitants as well as lowering the environmental impacts from human consumption.

In terms of biodiversity protection, one of the pre-defined projects aims to develop strategies and pilots integrating natural capital valuation in decision-making processes both for national and local authorities and private enterprises. As Bulgaria successfully started a process of mapping and assessing its ecosystem types under the EEA Grants’ Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, the 2014-2021 Environment programme will build on the progress already achieved under this priority area.

The programme will also implement a pre-defined project to improve capacity and knowledge gaps in the Black Sea region to support authorities responsible for developing a sustainable and effective marine strategy.

Reinforcing Bulgaria’s efforts on the circular economy will be supported through projects which will contribute to municipalities’ efforts to increase the level of recycled materials and ways to reuse materials and resources.

Awareness-raising and improved capacity for planning, monitoring and implementing climate change mitigation and adaption measures will increase local communities’ ability to reduce emissions and plan and adapt to a changing climate.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The EEA Grants’ Environment-programme in Bulgaria  will contribute to experience-sharing and promote dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest to Bulgaria and the Donor states. Partnership projects between Bulgarian and Donor entities is actively encouraged and facilitated. The Donor Programme Partner, the Norwegian Environment Agency, provides advice on the preparation and implementation of the programme. . IBilateral activities exploring the potential for CCS in Bulgaria are of special interest.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls - dates are tentative and subject to change:

  • Call 1 Second semester 2019
  • Call 2 Second semester 2019
  • Call 3 First semester 2020
  • Small grant Scheme 1 Second semester 2019/First semester 2020
  • Small grant Scheme 2 Second semester 2019/First semester 2020
  • Small grant Scheme 3 Second semester 2019/First semester 2020
  • Small grant Scheme 4 Second semester 2019/First semester 2020

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the website of the EEA Grants in Bulgaria and the website of the Norwegian Environment Agency.