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ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

It is expected that the initiation of the EU pre-accession instruments will lead to a significant increasing of grant amounts. The three instruments are directly concerned with urban development issues (ISPA for environmental improvements and transport accessibility, SAPARD mainly for rural development and PHARE for socio-economic cohesion through various projects, incl. development of business structure, renewal of residential areas, transport etc.). 

International Conventions, Agreements and Forums

In 1995 Bulgaria ratified the UN Convention on Climate Changes and in 1998 it signed the Kyoto Protocol on the limitation of national carbon dioxide emissions. In observation of those documents, monitoring of emissions is carried out and a national emission reduction action plan was elaborated and related to the National Energy Efficiency Programme approved by the National Assembly.  

In 1999 Bulgaria ratified the Framework Convention on Transboundary Cooperation which increases the possibilities for direct cooperation between local and regional authorities from both sides of the boundary and facilitates the exchange of activity-related information between various levels and partners. Transboundary cooperation programmes were adopted and agreed between the governments of Greece, Macedonia and Rumania and many meetings and seminars for participants from those countries were conducted. The programs with Rumania and Greece receive financial assistance under the EU PHARE Programme. Bulgaria has participated in the South-Eastern Europe Stability Treaty ever since its creation in 1999, but this has not lead to a tangible effects so far.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In 1997-1999 a National Housing Strategy was drafted within a project of the British Know-How Fund, outlining the housing reform orientation, principles and specific mechanisms.

A National Sustainable Commission was established in the Republic of Bulgaria with Decision No. 1 of the Regional Development Council, dated July 2, 1999. Its chairman is the Minister of Environment and Waters and its members are the ministers of Labour and Social Care, of Healthcare, of Agriculture and Forests, of Culture, and the deputy-ministers of Tourism, Economy and Regional Development.

Gradual introduction of the principles for integration of environment protection requirements into the management of all areas of the Bulgarian economy has started. For this purpose all branch plans and development programmes include special environment management and protection measures. Also, achieving of more with less is attempted i.e. efforts are made to use our skills more than our resources, through, for example, elaboration of strategies, plans and programs by local authorities using their own skills and capacities and not expending finances for elaboration by external institutions. The goals at hand are also prioritised which also saves resources.  All environment protection regulatory documents in Bulgaria concern sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Many organisations are involved in international cooperation, including public and private organisations and representatives of donor programmes at various levels and in various sectors, and the imperfect communication among them causes insufficient coordination and, often, duplication of activities. This is the reason why the Ministry of Environment and Waters initiated in 1999 annual meetings of donors where they discuss projects and opportunities for cooperation in the environmental field.

Following the Istanbul Conference in 1998, direct relations and partnerships between Bulgarian municipalities and municipalities from other countries have become significantly more active, and are, in most cases, in line with the objectives of Agenda 21.

Programmes and Projects   

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This programme is authorised to support sustainable human development through good governance. Efficient coordination of the assistance is an important feature of good governance and, therefore, UNDP is trying to encourage and participate in the better coordination of grants in Bulgaria.  With regard to the development priorities for Bulgaria, the UNDP is guided by a plan agreed with the government. The framework agreement for cooperation for the period 1997-2000 has reoriented the efforts of UNDP towards poverty alleviation and jobs creation, capacity building for better governance and environment protection. Currently the organisation supports 30 projects throughout the country.

The Capacity 21 programme of the UNDP is extremely active in the national and local level implementation of Agenda 21. This program assists in the testing of sustainable development models at the local level and, as of the year 2000, at the regional level. A National Sustainable Development Commission was established through its assistance (1999). Significant analytical and information work for sustainable development, elaboration of educational programmes and materials and media relations are conducted.

Bilateral Cooperation Programmes

The carrying out of the programs for implementation of the EU directives and their investment plans will ensure the achievement of the medium-term objective of integration of the principle of sustainable development into all other sectoral policies. The implementation of programmes is evaluated and foreign financial sources are indicated.

The programmes described below are mainly aimed to allow external impact and are not oriented toward multilateral financing for cooperation in sustainable development.

A large donor is the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Other project donors are the Confederacy of Switzerland, the US Environment Protection Agency, the UN Development Programme, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the British Know-How Fund, the Principality of Monaco, the International Atomic Agency of Vienna, UNESCO, the Ramsar Bureau of the Wetlands Convention, the World Bank.

The EU is of significant importance through the national PHARE Programme and through other programmes which are financial tools for integration into the EU structures.

The GEF has funded the following projects:

Confederacy of Switzerland – the Bulgarian Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme.

British Know-How Fund:  Solid waste management project.

 Program for reduction of environmental damages caused by previous actions and inactions

The actual implementation of such programs started in 1998. They represent part of the governmental mechanism for solving problems related to old pollution the area of privatized industrial plants. The funds are allocated from the state budget on the basis of two contracts signed with the World Bank.

Economic Policy Implementation Programmes

Pursuant to an agreement signed between the governments of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Denmark for cooperation in environmental protection, mainly three investment projects are being implemented.

Based on an agreement between the MOEW and the Ministry of Construction, Territorial Planning and the Environment of the Kingdom of Holland, several projects are implemented, with special emphasis on jointly implemented projects.

PHARE Programme

The 1998-1999 financial memoranda are important for institutional building of the state administration and of institutional projects under the so-called Twinning scheme.

The Development of Implementation Strategies for Approximation in Environment (DISAE) the Tempus Programme, and the Copernicus Programme are the others involved in technical assistance, approximation of the EU legislation, improvement of state officials for ecological management of natural resources etc.

Status   

No information exists about the amount of funds dedicated to the areas under Agenda 21. Although Reports on International Cooperation for Development-Bulgaria are developed annually, it is difficult to differentiate between and regionalize the projects under implementation. Viewed by sector, international support is oriented mainly to government and the economy (56%), infrastructure (17%) and industry (15%). The remaining relatively small part is distributed approximately equally between social development, healthcare, environment and “others”.

Bulgaria participated actively in the elaboration of the Guidelines for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent, adopted in September 2000 by the European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning in the European Council Member States, and in the elaboration of Strategies for Complex Spatial Development of the Central European, Danubian and Adriatic Space (Vision Planet).

Challenges  

The financial restrictions do not allow broad participation of representatives, particularly of the public sector, into the many international Agenda 21 implementation activities.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

In 1998 a Regional Conference was held in Sofia within the Campaign for Sustainable European Cities organised by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), where a Charter for Sustainable Development of Cities in Central and Eastern Europe was adopted.

Information   

Assisted by the ICLEI in the year 2000, Bulgaria became involved in the Global City Observatory by developing a national urban development database, and databases and reports for 4 cities.

Since 1997 Bulgaria has been part of the EU Environmental Monitoring and Information network. This network includes 42 monitoring points from the National Environmental Monitoring System. It allows the participation of the Bulgarian Executive Environmental Agency in EIONET, the telematic network of the European Environmental Agency.

The national Bulgarian web sites are:

www.mtt.govern.bg

www.mi.govern.bg

www.bfia.org

www.privatisation.online.bg

Research and Technologies   

No information available

Financing   

The 1996-1997 economic situation  and the enormous efforts of the national institutions to achieve macroeconomic and financial stability have made external assistance a decisive factor in the implementation of national strategies, plans and programs, including those related to the objectives of Agenda 21. The international community responds to this need. In 1998 external support reached 1.5 bln. dollars which is an increase of 45% as compared to the preceding year, and 13% of this amount is granted while the remainder is from loans (in 1997 the grants amounted to 22%). Most donors have re-oriented their projects in support of the accelerated economic reforms in Bulgaria, but 50% of the entire amount is aimed to support the balance of payments.

The National Trust Ecofund was established on July 14, 1995. With the signing of the Debt for Nature swap agreement between the governments of Bulgaria and Switzerland, the Swiss party agreed to write off 20% of the Bulgarian debt provided that this money is used to finance environmental projects. The National Trust Ecofund has also received financing from other international donors. The moneys from this fund are used to finance or co-finance environmental projects in Bulgaria of national or international priority, assistance for the transfer of environmental -how.

Cooperation  

 Regional Cooperation

·        Agreement between the MOEW and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Macedonia for Cooperation in Environmental Protection signed in Sofia on June 9, 2000;

·        Agreement for Environmental Cooperation between the government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the government of the Republic of Turkey signed in Ankara on July 28, 1997;

·        A Protocol between the MOEW and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Serbia for Cooperation in Environmental Protection signed in Sofia on November 15, 1996;

·        Convention between the government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the government of the Republic of Rumania in Environmental Protection signed in Sofia on December  9, 1991; and

·        Declaration of the South Eastern European Countries for Environmental Cooperation signed in Sofia on December  2, 2000.

International Co-operation

The main activities for development of multilateral financing for cooperation are as follows:

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th, 8th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: May 2001.

Click here for the ECE Statistical country profile for Bulgaria

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

According to Bulgarian legislation and international negotiations, a special import-export licence is needed for precious metals and products, intoxicating substances, nuclear material, equipment, gunpowder and explosives, weapons and etc.

The Ministry of Environment and Water suggested to change customs fees for pneumatic tires, regenerated and from the types used by automobiles and buses and trucks (fee N 4012 10 30 0; 4012 10 50 0; 40 12 10 80 0; 4012 20 90 0)

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The trade policy at the domestic level is focused on the establishment of the market principles governing trade, and full compliance with the respective World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments and obligations.  

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information available

Programmes and Projects   

No information available

Status   

The recent Asian crisis caused reduction of the prices of goods and raw material. This reflected the export of chemical products in Bulgaria, which was reduces in 30% in 1998 according to 1997 and 7% for the period January-November 1999 according to the same period in 1998. The reduction of the export of chemical products led to reduction of their production as well.

The fast privatization and new investments in textile industry led to increase of the export of the goods of that sector of economy. For the period 1997-1998, the export of clothes and accessories increased by 27% and for the period January-November 1999 by 28%.

Challenges  

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available

Information   

As a member of WTO, Bulgaria provides information (so called notification) for the legislative amendments assumed after 1996 and the implementation of the requirements on international trade agreements.

The full overview reports are not presented by the Ministry of Economy on the state of trade policy, investments and economy growth.

An analysis on trade policy, regional cooperation and liberalization of trade stock exchange, is under preparation, which has to be presented to OECD in June 2000.

The Agency for Economical Analyses and Prognoses (AEAP) takes part in the development of macroeconomic prognoses, strategies and helps the Government in its decision making process. AEAP is publishing monthly, 6 months periods and annual macroeconomic analyses. Monthly Business Surveys, semi-annual Reviews and Annual Report of the Macroeconomic Situation of Bulgaria are published in English and are received on subscription by IMF, World Bank, Institute for World economy in Kill, CEPR, London. The world wide web address of AEAP is www.online.bg/aeaf

In the framework of the Ministry of Economy, there are Services for trade-economy activities in 60 cities in different countries. The Ministry of Economy sents monthly information, via e-mail or radiograms, about macroeconomic state in the country, data for foreign trade, information for future privatization of enterprises, information about legislation and etc. These Services are responsible for information dissemination in those countries for potential investors.

In the framework of the Ministry of Economy there is an export promotion centre. The centre helps the Bulgarian export and daily contacts with foreign dealers, provides commercial information and methodological help for the realization of Bulgarian goods in foreign markets. There are collaboration between STEA and CEE.

The national Bulgarian web sites are:

www.mtt.govern.bg

www.mi.govern.bg

www.bfia.org

www.privatisation.online.bg

Research and Technologies   

No information available

Financing   

No information available

Cooperation

The establishment of an Europe Agreement between the European Union and its member states on the one hand and the Republic of Bulgaria on the other hand is providing the appropriate framework for the gradual integration of Bulgaria into the Union. Full Union membership is a priority for the country.

Bulgaria's European Agreement sets out the following objectives:

The conclusion of such an agreement testifies to the political will of the parties concerned and contributes to the fulfilment of the basic principles on which the European Union is founded. To this effect, the association agreement is a necessary prerequisite for an accession agreement and full membership.

The import of investments, as a result of privatization after 1997 are followed by the investments of the new owners, the renovation of the technologies in the enterprises. For the period 1997-1998 the export of investment stocks increased with 25% and for the period January-November 1999 the increase is with 45% according to the same period in 1998.

There are not special studies how the investments have impact on the environment, but we have to admit that their impact will be positive, because there are special rules in privatization contracts about purification installations and former ecological contaminations.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: May 2000.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Currently, there is no competent state authority in Bulgaria dealing with the models of sustainable consumption and production. The Government considers that the Ministry of Industry should commit itself to these questions. At the local level, Bulgaria is divided into 28 districts, and the competent administrative authorities are responsible for management relating to sustainable consumption and production.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

During the privatization process, the Agency for Small and Medium-size Enterprises, as well as some Bulgarian and international funds, give credits for projects mainly to small and medium-size enterprises in order to encourage the sustainable consumption and production models. Meanwhile, short-term strategies for the period 1999 - 2001 have been developed for certain branches of light industry. A peculiarity in the development is to guide substantially the production facilities on the basis of the state of production, range stability, empty niches, etc. For securing competition, the attention of the producers was drawn to the specific questions laid down in the guidelines.

There are no legal or other regulations for encouraging sustainable consumption and production in light industry. The delay is due to the prolonged process of privatization and the poor economic state of the country at the moment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is no strategy for sustainable consumption and production patterns. Because of the current trend towards rapid and efficient privatization, it was considered useless to develop branch and national strategies and long-term working programs for the proposed models. The national objectives for light industry can be summarized as follows:

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information available

Programmes and Projects   

The Program for Energy Efficiency Production in Light Industry for the period 1997 - 2000 is a part of the National Energy Efficiency Program and was developed in compliance with the National Energy Efficiency Plan and Reduction of the Emissions of Greenhouse Gases - Contract DOE-1/93, financially secured by the State Department of the USA, within the range of the worldwide program concerning these issues. Special attention in the programs is paid to the environmental and social aspects of sustainable consumption and production.

Within the framework of the PHARE project BG 9307-02/1997, on "District energy planning for Haskovo and Lovech districts," five enterprises are included as demonstration projects to increase energy efficiency. The projects were implemented in 1998. The second part of the project has to be finalized in 1999 with an additional four demonstration projects in light industry.

Status   

Within the framework of the light industry and its branches for the purposes of energy saving and other resources, the following measures have been undertaken:

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Energy Efficiency Strategy to Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The goal of the project is to introduce practices at the municipality level that overcome barriers to improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other environmental pollutants. The project contains two elements:

  1. National Capacity Building; and 
  2. Supporting Demonstrations. 

The Capacity Building activities are the basis of the project. All other activities are designed to strengthen them. The Capacity Building activities focus on municipalities as critical political and socio-economic units in Bulgaria. They include municipal energy management, training and financing activities. Supporting Demonstrations in street lighting, districts heating and building retrofit projects show how Capacity Building can be applied to real projects. Project Management supports these efforts and the rapid diffusion of Capacity Building and Demonstrations to other municipalities, reaching at least 30 municipalities - a critical mass for ensuring that the reforms continue throughout the country after the project is concluded. The Development objective is to overcome barriers to increase energy efficiency and to the associated reductions in GHG emissions.

Information   

During the current privatization process, a Law for information is being developed. It has to guaranty access to appropriate information about the different enterprises and branches. The main goals are:

Research and Technologies   

During processing in the leather industry, environmental friendly technologies should be used as follows:

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Energy Efficiency Center , discussed above, is being developed jointly by the Governments of Bulgaria and Japan through an Agreement. The project for Energy Efficiency Strategy to Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emission is being supported by the Global Environment Fund and USAID. It will be implemented in a Demonstration Zone in the City of Gabrovo. The GEF share of the project is US$ 2.575 million; USAID is contributing US$ 0.9 million.

Industrial enterprises consume about two-thirds from the global energy resources of the country. It is obvious that determination of energy efficiency in the industry is very important. The Government of Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of Japan have signed the Agreement for the establishment of Energy Efficiency Center in the industry in 1995. The Center works on the problems of energy efficiency and environmental protection together with the Japanese specialists. The Center investigates the energy consumption and possibilities for implementation of measures for energy efficiency in the different industrial branches. The Center provides science and technical information and transfers energy efficiency technologies in the industry. There is an information system for analysis of energy consumption and energy efficiency management. The National program for energy efficiency in the different branches of the industry was developed together with the National agency for energy efficiency and a Draft Law for energy efficiency. 

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 7th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. last update: April 1999.

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The Government is doing its best through available mechanisms, including privatization, to mobilize new and additional local resources to implement a range of actions for ensuring sustainability in the national economy. It has created room for investment activities by providing preferential treatment for investors. The main flows of financial resources are expected to come from the private sector, both national and foreign, the share of which was more than 40% of GNP in 1995.

It is calculated that in order to meet environmental, health, and social requirements, the chemical industry, for example, needs an investment of US$203 million, the metallurgic industry US$201 million, and the food industry US$31 million. Eighty percent of the total amount spent for environmental protection in 1994 came from local authorities and the business sector, while 14% came from the State budget and 4% from extra budgetary funds. The Government will also continue to rely on bilateral and multilateral international cooperation. It is open to reasonable financial innovations like the Swiss-Bulgarian debt-for-environment swap which is regarded as a win-win project of political goodwill.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 2000.  

For information on participating States in the Global Environment Facility, click here:
For information about issues and projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia from the World Bank, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally-Sound Technology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The governmental policy for the promotion of ESTs, is provided by the Ministry of Education and Science through the "Structure and technology policy" fund which promotes the activities for development and transfer of technologies.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Patent Law, which was ratified in 1993, is harmonised with European norms and standards for the protection of intelllectual property rights which in the case of industrial rights, are connected with technology transfer.

Environmental Impact Assessment is one of the main criteria used for the evaluation of projects and programmes to be funded.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

One example of a project in which stakeholders were brought together with a view to promote and improve the selection, transfer and application of environmentally sound technologies is in the Black Sea and Danube River projects.

There are, at present, no mechanisms to stimulate private sector for ecological production.

Programmes and Projects

Given the ecological problems of the Black sea and Danube river and the need to identify the pollution sources, the Ministry of Education and Science in collaboration with Ministry of Environment and Waters will assign a task force to elaborate the project "Monitoring analysis and summary regarding the Bulgarian coastal zone of the Black sea and Danube river". The final report of the working group has to be completed by 30.06.1998 and will assist in the decision making process and in the establishment of some measures such as:

Status   

The most urgent needs for new technologies are related to following economical sectors: - energy production - mining production - chemical industry - non-ferrous metallurgy - building materials industry - animal husbandry and meat production.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

The Ministry has also established a National Technological Information Centre by the project BG 95.06-03 PHARE programme. A World Wide Web Site for the "Structure and technology policy" fund is presently being created.

Research and Technologies   

The Ministry of Education and Science has presented projects on environmentally sound technologies, financed by "Structure and technological policy" fund and National fund "Science researches" in 1996 and 1997 at various technical exhibitions such as that in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and the Leipzig fair in 17-20.09.1997. 

Financing

The "Structure and technology policy" fund provides financial support for:

In the framework of the fund one of the priorities is ecology and environmental protection. The main criteria for these projects is assessment on impact of the environment and green products and patterns, which follow environmental standards. Among the programmes to be financed in 1998 are programmes for eco technologies in different branches of the industry.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 6th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update:  May 1998.

 

Biotechnology

No information is available.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The principle threats from industry in Bulgaria come from the emissions of NOx, heavy metals, aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, dust and pollution of water. These threats come mostly from the ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, petro-chemical industry, basic chemicals industry, pharmaceutics industry, and the power plants associated to these industries. In the industrial sector, efforts are concentrated on solving specific problems in accordance with national and international regulations for the environment.  Little large-scale investment for pollution control equipment has been made to date. As a result, the pollution and resource intensity of the economy remains very high. The recent reduction of discharges of pollutants into the air and water was principally due to the decline of industrial and agricultural production (due to the recession that took place before 1993) rather than to more efficient production or cleaner industrial processes. Pollution loads may increase once economic growth resumes, unless environmental policy is strengthened. In fact, the 1.4% growth of the GNP registered in 1994 was equal to an increase of 300,000 tons of emissions compared to 1993.

About 41% of the total population has been threatened by air and water pollution coming from the energy sector, industry, and transportation. Fourteen hot spots with high levels of pollution harmful to human health have been declared in the country. Overall problems of water quantity and quality remain severe, however early progress has been made in increasing water conservation and pollution prevention approaches in industry and livestock production.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

In co-operation with the World Bank, Bulgaria is finalizing a Pollution Abatement Programme which includes implementation of several projects involving technological reconstruction and innovations aimed at phasing out, for example, heavy metal pollution from copper smelters. Nevertheless, most of the high pollution, industrial facilities are still in operation.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: May 1998.

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Executive Agency “Roads”, Executive Agency “See Administration”, Executive Agency “Port Administration” are the government ministries and agencies, which are responsible for making decisions in the management and improvement of the transport system. The transport policy of Bulgaria is governed by the principles for development of the country, adopted by the government and achieved as a result of a national consensus. These policy directions are primarily geared towards membership of the European union and NATO, development of free market relations, democratization of the processes in the political, economical, cultural and social life of the people.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Priorities in the transport sector:

Strategy for the development of transport infrastructure in the medium term (2000-2006) includes:

Strategic objectives:

The strategic objectives for the development of transport infrastructure in the Medium term (2000-2006) include:

Developing infrastructure along Transport Corridors IV and VIII

Priority Corridor VIII and IV projects for completion by 2006 include:

The decision of the Government to phase out the use of leaded gasoline, till 2003 year.

Enhancing the use of cleaner fuels

Fuel quality is a key transport-related environmental issue; the first step in fulfilling the objective in our country is the elimination of the use of leaded petrol till year 2003, envisaged in the adopted by the Council of Ministers National programme for phase out of leaded gasoline.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information available

Programmes and Projects   

Major programmes are undertaken with regards to the following:

The participation of Bulgaria in the TINA project is a very important component of the development of transport infrastructure. The starting point of the TINA process is the so called TINA backbone network based upon the 10 Pan-European Transport Corridors approved with some adjustments at the third Pan-European Transport Conference in Helsinki in 1997. For this backbone network, construction costs have been estimated on a common base using existing information and input from the TINA countries. For the Republic of Bulgaria this TINA backbone network is defined and adjusted by sections and transport modes on the base of the 5 Pan-European Transport corridors, passing though the territory of the country.  

+ Kiev – Minsk – Vilnus – Caunas – Claipeda / Kaliningrad

+ Ljubasevka – Odessa;

Branch A            Gratz – Maribor – Zagreb

Branch B            Budapest – Novi Sad – Belgrade

Branch C            Nis – Sofia (Dimitrovgrad – Istanbul through corridor IV)

Branch D            Veles – Prilep – Bitolja – Florina – Via Ignatia - Igoumenitsa

The Programme of Transport Sector Development also includes the construction and development of:

As a result of the adopted national transport policy for priority development of the transport corridors and the already established fruitful cooperation between the European Union and Bulgaria in the field of the strategic planning of the Trans-European transport networks. Significant experience was gained when determining the national transport priorities in relation to the Pan-European corridors. Business and master plans, pre-investment and feasibility studies, financial schemes for construction, etc., for all major infrastructure projects in the country, including: rail infrastructure, roads, sea and river ports, Sofia and Bourgas airports, were prepared between 1992 and 1999.

Projects for the rehabilitation of the Bulgarian State Railways and the national road network were also prepared. This large-scale study was financed mainly under the PHARE programme and with the participation of European consulting companies. The summing up document for the planned development of the transport infrastructure of Bulgaria is the study “Forecasts and investment programmes for the development of the transport infrastructure of Bulgaria for the period till years 2000 and 2010”, elaborated by BONIFICA S.p.A., Phare Project No BG 9308-03-02, completion date - 31 May 1997.

In accordance with the described priorities and principles for planning and construction of projects in transport infrastructure, the Government of Bulgaria has developed and adopted a four-year Middle-term National Investment Programme for the period 1998 – 2001. It clearly determines the obligations of the State Budget for development of the country’s infrastructure, including the transport sector. There are 25 projects of the Ministry of Transport and Communications with a total value of US$ 477,498 Million for the period 1998 to 2001, approved in the National Investment Programme. The main part of the Programme consists of projects with multi-national importance, situated along the Pan-European Corridors. The projects in the Programme and in the Strategy of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for development of the transport infrastructure are listed with an indicated ranking, according to their priority.

In addition to the Middle-term Investment Programme, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has elaborated an Investment Programme for Development of the Transport Infrastructure of the country. It comprises 36 national investment transport projects, 25 of which are included in the Middle-term National Investment Programme of the Government. The investments, necessary for their construction till year 2015 are with a total amount of US$ 4,890,85 Million. The projects are in the field of railway, combined, road, maritime (sea and inland waterways) and air transport and are situated along the five Pan-European Transport Corridors, which pass through the territory of Bulgaria. The funding for these will include investments by the state budget and other financial sources such as: taxes on liquid fuels, credits by the international financial institutions, public-private and private concessions, etc.

When determining the priority infrastructure projects the following selection criteria were adopted:

Status   

About 41% of the total population has been threatened by air and water pollution coming from the energy sector, industry, and transportation. Fourteen hot spots with high levels of pollution harmful to human health have been declared in the country. The pollution from the transport sector is increasing due to increased travel, the old aged vehicle fleet, and the imperfections of the existing road network. Heavy metal contamination is characteristic for areas adjacent to the motor ways in the towns and the outskirts. Noise pollution of the environment as a result of the transport and industrial sector is a big problem for towns affecting about 40% of the urban population.

Transport network

Road network

The total length of the national road network is 37,288 km. and the average density is 0.33 km per square kilometer. Approximately 90% of the roads are with asphalt surface.

Bulgaria has 324 km motorways, 3,011 km first grade roads, 3,818 km second grade roads, 29,937 km third and fourth grade roads. The most common are two lane roads with overall width between 6.00 and 7.50 m.

Approximately 2,500 km of the first grade roads are part of the European road network. The following international roads cross the territory of the country:

The programme “Transit Roads” was started in 1992 with the financial help of the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the PHARE programme. More than 600 km of first grade roads with intensive traffic were rehabilitated under the programme “Transit Roads 1”. The reconstruction of approximately 900 km of the main road network was catered for under the programme “Transit Roads 2”, carried out between 1997 and 1999. This programme was directed to the most heavily loaded sections in worst operational condition on the route of the international roads and the Pan-European corridors. The former General Road Directorate has already started the realization of the programme “Transit Roads 3”, which will cover the period 1999 – 2002 and cater for about 900 – 1000 km of the main road network.

In addition to the rehabilitation of road surfacing, marking and signage, this Programme envisages an increase in the load capacity of the road construction up to 11.5 tons per axle for the sections with the greatest traffic density. After the completion of the third part of the programme about 85% of the main sections of the road network will comply with the European norms for quality, safety and loading.  The programme of the Government and in particular the one of the Implementation Agency “Roads” for construction and development of the road infrastructure is based on the main principles of state policy for European orientation and integration. The necessity to improve the road network, to bring this up to the European standards, establishes the grounds for development of investment projects for the international roads and the Pan-European corridors.

At present the national road network is developing and modernizing in line with current policy of the Bulgarian Government for the development of trade and economic relations with the neighboring countries – Greece, former Yugoslavia, Romania and Turkey. The process of improving the road transport connections with neighboring countries includes the following main activities:

Railway network

The railway network of Bulgaria consists of about 4,300 km railway lines, 4,055 km of which is standard gauge (1,435 mm), the rest being narrow-gauge (960 mm). About 960 km (22% of the whole network) is double track and 2,640 km, about 61.4% is electrified. The system includes around 400 full stations and 300 station halts. Freight depots, container terminals and passenger stations would not be capable of dealing with significant increase in traffic.  The major part of the railroad network is designed for speeds of 80 – 100 km per hour, with only 150 km of the lines designed for speeds up to 130 km per hour. The maximum speed allowed over the station switches is 100 km per hour, which in turn limits traffic speed through the stations.

Weight of trains does not present any limiting condition. The overall weight of a train at a speed of 80 km per hour is designated for each line, between 560 and 1,900 tons. In practice the speeds are reduced by 10 – 20%, because of poor traction rolling stock.

Technical parameters on the route of the Trans-European corridors on Bulgarian territory:

Pan-European corridor IV:

Section: Vidin – Sofia – Svilengrad (East)                                               593 km

Section: Sofia – Dupnitza – Kulata                                                         211 km

Additional link Mezdra–Gorna Oriakhovitza–Ruse                                  317 km

Pan-European corridor VIII:

Section: Macedonian border – Sofia – Plovdiv – Burgas

and Sindel – Varna (port)                                                                        759 km

Pan-European corridor IX:

Section: Ruse – Gorna Oriakhovitza – Stara Zagora –

Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad (border)                                                            394 km

Pan-European corridor X:

Section: Kalotina – Voluiak – Sofia                                                             59 km

Additional link to corridor No. 10:

Section: Sofia–Plovdiv–Svilengrad (Eastern border)                                     323 km

Additional link to corridor No. 7:

Section Ruse – Sindel - Varna (Port West)                                                    199 km

The signaling system in general conforms to European standards. The signaling equipment used for the various lines is appropriate for the type of traffic, line capacity and speed applying. Trains are fitted with secure radio and Automatic Train Protection is provided on the primary routes.

Combained transport

The country possesses the following railway terminals handling large tonnage containers: Sofia freight, Plovdiv – Philipovo, Dimitrovgrad, Stara Zagora, Tchestovo freight, Pleven west and Vratza. The other specialized container terminals are located at the sea and river ports (included in the next paragraph). The upgrading and construction of new infrastructure for combined transport is included in the transport investment programme, where the development of environmentally friendly combined transport is one of the priorities of the transport policy of the country.

AGC (European Agreement on Main International Lines) and AGTC (European Agreement on Important International Combined Transport Lines and Related Installations).  The AGC and AGTC relations on the territory of Bulgaria are given in the following tables:

AGC Relations

Relation

Distance (km)

(Romania-Giurgiu)-Ruse-Gorna Oriakhovitza-Dimitrovgrad

331

Sindel – Karnobat

123

Ruse – Kaspitchan

142

Sofia – Gorna Oriakhovitza – Kaspitchan – Varna

543

(Yugoslavia – Dimitrovgrad) – Dragoman – Sofia – Plovdiv – Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad

382

Plovdiv – Zimnitza – Karnobat – Burgas

294

Sofia – Kulata

210

 

AGTC Relations

Relation

Distance (km)

Ruse – Gorna Oriakhovitza

132

Sofia – Mezdra – Gorna Oriakhovitza – Kaspitchan – Varna

543

Dragoman – Sofia – Plovdiv – Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad

382

Plovdiv – Zimnitza – Karnobat – Burgas

294

Vidin – Sofia

279

Sofia – Kulata

210

Maritime transport

The river Danube is both a Bulgarian and an international waterway, regulated by a number of agreements and conventions, preceding the many changes that have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe. These regulations and conventions have had to be revised and amended to deal with the changing circumstances, most notably that relating to the Rhine – Main – Danube canal.  The two major ports on this water route are Ruse and Lom. The harbor of Ruse comprises an intermodal terminal, serving the traffic to Germany and Ukraine, while in the harbor of Lom there is a terminal of SOMAT (international road transport) for catamarans travelling to west Europe.

The port of Vidin is the first large port along the Bulgarian section of the Danube river. The port area and territory is between km 785+000 and km 795+000. The harbor has three specialized quays for loading and unloading and 8 cranes, as well as direct railway and road connections to the national transport network.. The existence of a duty free zone beside the north harbor complex, gives an opportunity for development of a harbor with the following types of combined transport: ro–ro Vidin–Passau, ro–la, train ferryboat Vidin–Calafat and automobile ferryboat Vidin– Calafat, together with ferry transport between Vidin and Western Europe.

The port complex of Lom has 13 berths, 26 electric gantry cranes with capacity of 5 to 20 tons, as well as other high performance back-up equipment.. The port has vast open and covered warehouses and handles domestic and international freight forwarding, together with bulk, general and container cargoes.

The port complex of Ruse

The port of Ruse–east: the total length is 1,440 m with 10 separate berths and 16 gantry cranes. The open warehouse area is 27,270 sq. M and the covered warehouse area is 4,042 sq. M. The port has a ro-ro ramp, a ferryboat pontoon with a mobile bridge, high capacity gantry and auxiliary equipment. It handles bulk cargo, containers, automobiles, coal, etc. There is a connection with ruse-north railway station.

The port of Ruse–west: the quay front totals to 1,200 m, separated into 11 berths, served by 12 cranes. This port handles mainly general cargo, chemicals, metals and timber. It has 9,800 sq. M covered warehouse area and 26,140 sq. M open warehouse. There is a connection with ruse– west railway station.  The port complex of ruse includes also the ports of Svishtov, Somovit and, Tutrakan.

·        Sea transport

The two major sea ports of Bulgaria – Varna and Burgas handle more than 60% of the national foreign trade freight turnover. These ports have container terminals, ro-ro equipment and many berths for different types of bulk and liquid freight. They are spread over a substantial area and are connected with the railway and road networks.

The port of Varna

The port of Varna – east: total length of the wharf is 2,072 m. The maximum depth is 36 feet. This port, with 13 berths, specializes in handling general freight, machines, technical equipment, grain, and containers. The covered warehouse area is 24,000 sq. M, the sites for open warehouses total 115,000 sq. M.

The port of Varna – west: total length of the wharf is 3,432 m.. The maximum depth is 33 feet. Specializing in handling bulk freight, general cargo, cars, timber, containers, liquid fertilizers, clinker, etc. The total number of berths is 19 and 17 of these are for loading purposes.

The port of Bourgas

East port: the length of the wharf is 1,965m and the maximum depth is between 24 and 33 feet.. Total number of berths – 14, 10 of them are in operation. Covered warehouse areas – 44,500 sq. M, open warehouse areas – 50,000 sq. M. Vessels up to 25,000 tons can be handled and there is direct connection with the road and railway networks.

Bulk freight port: total length of the wharf – 750 m. With 5 berths. The maximum depth at berths is 36 feet. Covered warehouse areas – 5 000 sq. M, open warehouse areas – 49 000 sq. M. It handles ships up to 60,000 tons and there is direct connection to the road and railway networks.

West port: the length of the wharf is 890 m and there are 6 berths. The maximum depth at the berths is 36 feet. Covered warehouse areas – 11 000 sq. M, open warehouse areas – 191 000 sq. M. It can handle vessels up to 40,000 tons with direct connection to the road and railway networks.

Oil terminal: the length of the wharf is 300 m with 3 berths. The maximum depth at berths is 24 – 25 feet. Capable of handling vessels up to 100,000 tons with direct connection to the road network.

Lozovo: covered warehouse areas – 14,000 sq. M, open warehouse areas – 21,600 sq. M. No connection to the road and railway networks.

Other ports: Pomorie, Nesebar, Sozopol, and Tzarevo.

Bulgaria has 10 civil airports; four of them have international status. The other six serve agricultural aviation. Air transport activity at the moment is concentrated in Sofia, Bourgas and Varna and serving mostly international destinations.

Sofia airport

The airport has one runway with artificial coating (asphalt/concrete) which is 2,800 m long and 45 m wide. The southern section of the airport comprises a main terminal, government vip terminal and technical stands with total area of 288 144 sq. M. The northern section comprises a main terminal and front shed sites with total area of 43,860 sq. M

Burgas airport - The airport, with modern navigation equipment, has a runway 3,200 m long.

Varna airport - The airport has a 55-m wide runway, which is 2,500 m long and modern navigation equipment.

Challenges  

In general, developments in the transport sector have negative environmental effects. Finding acceptable environmental solutions in connection with traffic growth, undesirable modal split and sustainable infrastructure construction is one of the greatest challenges for countries during the transition period.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available

Information   

No information available

Research and Technologies   

No information available

Financing   

No information available

Cooperation

Development of transport infrastructure along Pan-European Transport Corridor IX

Although the improvement of transport infrastructure along Corridor IX is not indicated as an immediate key measure for attaining the strategic objective, it plays an important role in co-ordinating the development of the Bulgarian transport infrastructure with that of neighbouring countries.  The development of the road part of Pan-European Transport Corridor IX is a priority in the transport policy for both Romania and Greece. For that reason the Bulgarian Government has undertaken a number of measures for improving the road infrastructure on the Corridor:

The remaining sections of the road Corridor will be upgraded and rehabilitated in stages, so as to enable it’s functioning as a Pan-European Transport Corridor.  One of the first priority investment projects related to the development of rail infrastructure that concerns the Pan European Transport Corridor 9. This is the reconstruction, electrification and upgrading of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad-Greek/Turkish Border railway line for speeds up to 160 km/h.  The implementation of the projects along Pan-European Transport Corridors would ensure attainment of the required European operational level and European service standards in transport. 

Improving speeds and service levels along important Corridor IV Sections

European Transport Corridor No IV transits Bulgaria along the Calafat (Romania) - Vidin - Sofia - Kulata - Thessaloniki (Greece), and Sofia - Plovdiv - Kapitan Andreevo - Istanbul (Turkey) routes, linking Western, Central and South Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Asia. The Corridor’s importance has increased after works started on a Bosphorus rail tunnel to enable uninterrupted rail travel between the two continents. This is expected to boost annual rail freight crossing Bulgaria by 10million tons. To accommodate this significant rise, the Bulgarian side plans to upgrade the Plovdiv - Svilengrad - Kapitan Andreevo railway to 160km/h speeds along its entire length, and to provide for future track doubling. Similar upgrades planned by Turkish railways on the Turkish side will enable high-speed travel between Sofia and Istanbul. It is pertinent to note that sectors of the line also coincide with European Corridor No IX, and that the entire stretch serves the Nish - Sofia - Istanbul part of European Corridor No X.

Developing border infrastructure for all transport corridors crossing Bulgaria

This priority envisages the development of the infrastructure of all existing and the construction of new cross-border points with the neighboring countries. The improvement of links between Bulgaria and Greece – an EU member state, as well as between Bulgaria and Romania – another EU candidate country, is planned with financing by the PHARE CBC Programme and the National Budget.

Balanced and interrelated infrastructure development among individual modes of transport 

The principles of equal competition between modes of transport, multimodal transport, combined transport, and particularly environmental friendliness, must be adhered to in transport investment. This would guarantee harmonious development of infrastructure for all modes of transport, maintaining at the same time pure market principles and encourage competition in meeting specific national transport needs. This is particularly relevant to items of structural significance, which are primarily the remit of the state such as railways and highways, or of major national and regional importance such as Sofia Airport.

Other works in progress include relaying track between Dupnica and Kulata: part of the Sofia to Thessaloniki branch of the Corridor. This will also increase train speeds significantly. Project funding is by the Phare Programme. The measure will be implemented by 2005. Intensive financing efforts are underway now. An EUR 80million loan with the European Investment Bank was contracted on July 9, 1999 to fund the Plovdiv - Svilengrad project. A second loan for EUR 70million has also been negotiated. The Bulgarian Government is also proposing project co financing by the ISPA Programme.

Completing track electrification along railway sections, which are a part of the Pan-European Transport Corridors.

This measure includes track electrification alongside refurbishment and modernisation. Measure attainment aims at electrification of the entire railway infrastructure along Transport Corridors No VIII and No IV. In practice this would mean general completion of electrification of all Bulgarian track forming part of the Pan European Transport Network under the TINA Project: the balance of track along Corridors No VIII and No IX are electrified except the Radomir to Gueshevo sector of Corridor No VIII. Due for refurbishment and electrification, the latter will await completion of the Skopje to the Bulgarian/Macedonian border railway, most likely after 2004. 

Completing the reconstruction and modernization of major highway sections, included in the Pan-European Transport Corridors.

This measure is two-fold: first, completing the Republican Highway Network repairs by the end of the Plan period; and second, extending the motorway network by including new segments as part of the Pan European Transport Corridors No VIII and No IV.

Transit Roads III Project completion, scheduled by 2003, would attain the first part of the measure: repair and relaying of all international roads in Bulgaria.

As regards to the second part of the measure, for the most part Bulgarian motorways are already part of the pan European road network. New motorway standard roads will be constructed along the most densely trafficked sectors leading to Corridor destinations. Primarily this means extending the Marica motorway from Orizovo to Kapitan Andreevo, scheduled for completion by the end of the period. This completes the Sofia to Istanbul motorway link. Another project involves extending the Trakia motorway from Orizovo to Burgas along Corridor No 8, completing the Sofia to Burgas motorway link. Indications are that the project will be handed over before the end of the period. Feasibility studies will be followed by the commencement of works on the Lulin and Struma motorways along Corridor No 4 between Sofia and Kulata and onward to Thessaloniki and Athens.

Further introduction of free market principles in infrastructure development and financing in particular

This objective involves both promoting and broader use of market mechanisms and procedures, and most of all financing transport in a manner typical for Western democracies. This means securing investment from various sources, combining their interests with those of Bulgarian transport, as represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, flexibility in taking timely and lawful decisions and aiming to attain the optimum result in securing and guaranteeing investment.  The purpose of this measure is a gradual reduction in new state debt to enable proper servicing of contracted loans.  As regards other finance sources, loans are determined on the basis of discussions with international finance institutions, commitments assumed by them, the extent of interest in individual projects, contracts signed and loans taken. Along with this, the general national economic development for the period, forecast GDP growth and other macroeconomic indicators are taken into account.

The same approach is used in determining likely grants. The PHARE Programme and the forthcoming ISPA* and other Pre-Accession Funds form a basis for forecasting grants year by year. Priority infrastructure projects proposed for co-financing under the ISPA Programme are shown in Chapter 6 of the Strategy Paper.

Compliance of the transport strategy with environmental issues

As a country negotiating for accession to the European Union, Bulgaria is obliged to harmonise our policy with respect to transport and the environment with that of the European Union.  The key objectives for solving the environmental problems, caused by the transport sector, include:

·        Improving the environmental performance of transport infrastructure plans

 All transport infrastructure projects have to carry out an environmental impact assessment similar to the procedures of Council Directive 85/337/EC as amended by Directive 97/11/EC. The Environmental Impact Assessment principles have to be applied to all levels of decision-making with respect to development of the transport infrastructure network. The planned total electrification of the railway lines along Pan-European transport corridors on the territory of Bulgaria is another step in solving the environmental problems.

·        Limiting the increase of transit inter-urban car traffic

The measures envisaged for attaining the objective are promoting public transport and efficient use of infrastructure – construction of bypass roads around the biggest towns in the country are planned;

·        Improving urban bus transport in respect to environmental aspects

Some measures for attaining the objective are already underway in the biggest towns of the country. They include renewal of the bus fleet and use of new environmentally friendly motors;

·        Promoting the use of rail transport

The measures include improving rail infrastructure and services; the shifting from road to rail transport is a priority in the transport policy, both of the European Union and Bulgaria;

·        Promoting the use of combined transport

A new legislation is under preparation and the reconstruction and construction of new combined transport terminals are envisaged;

The development of Sofia airport is in compliance with all European environmental requirements. The overall development of air transport follows the EU Directives (in respect to gaseous emissions, noise, etc.).

The implementation of the infrastructure projects along the Pan-European Transport Corridors on the territory of Bulgaria would facilitate local and international trade, would lead to the creation of new jobs and thus would stimulate Bulgaria’s economic development, especially in the less developed regions of the country. An example of this is the Vidin - Kalafat Bridge and North-West Bulgaria.

Harmonious and effective development of Bulgaria’s infrastructure in the present Global conditions and trends could be achieved by continuously following the priority of coordinating national development with European and world trends. The national transport infrastructure cannot be developed in isolation, along a single route or in conflict with the other routes passing through the territory of the country. For this reason the participation of foreign investments in the completion of the Bulgarian transport infrastructure is a sensible, economically viable and forward looking. The end result can be equally profitable for the country and the investors.


* Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: May 2001.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The following are responsible for decision-making in the area of sustainable tourism and they include: 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

As of September 1998, after the entry into force of the Tourism Act, the inspection, control and sanctions over tourism activities (referring to the environment as well) have been legally regulated.

The Protected Areas Act (State Gazette No. 133 of November 11, 1998) regulates the terms and procedures for the use of nature in the protected areas for tourism development purposes. Additional Codes of Practice, Standards or Guidelines for the activities of industry in sustainable tourism include:

The Tourism Act and the Regulation which accompany it regulate the terms and procedures for tourism business activity, as well as the control over it. Through the introduction of obligatory requirements for: noise-isolation of the buildings, correspondence with the requirements of the Hygiene and Epidemiology Institute, the Fire department emergency requirements, the Regional Environmental Inspectorate, the State Inspection on Territories and Settlements, the Territorial Municipal Administration, the State Veterinary and Sanitary Control and the requirements of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the preservation of the environment in the tourism areas is observed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Tourism Development Strategy of Bulgaria envisages the development of sustainable tourism, including countryside territories, possessing suitable natural and human resources. Both eco-tourism and nature-based tourism are envisaged to be an integral part of the national Tourism Development strategy of Bulgaria. There is a commitment at the government level to participate in national and international programs, referring to sustainable tourism matters (question No.8). In addition, in the National Strategy for the Conservation of Biodiversity, elaborated in 1992-94, one of the priorities for immediate action and support according to this Strategy is the development and implementation of an Ecotourism Policy.

Other strategies and programmes which help to define Bulgaria's strategy toward sustainble tourism include the following:

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information available

Programmes and Projects   

Among the activities underway which are geared both to sustainable tourism and to eco-tourism and nature-based tourism are the following:

The Bulgaria Eco-and Rural Tourism Association develops eco-paths throughout the country in view of the popularization of Eco-tourism. The Bulgarian Alternative Tourism Association has similar functions as well. Bulgaria possesses conditions for the development of cultural, religious, rural, Ecological and sports (horse riding, rock-climbing, cycling tourism and yachting) and other types of tourism in correspondence with the sustainable development requirements. Many regions in the countryside prepare and implement tourism development projects.

The Bulgarian - Swiss biodiversity Conservation Program, funded by the Swiss Government, has as its main goal to work for the preservation of the natural diversity of Bulgaria. The first phase of the Program was implemented in the period 1994 - 97 aiming at developing management plans for internationally important wetlands along the Black Sea, preparing management plan for the alpine meadows of Central Balkan National Park, management plan for Strandja Park and identifying the most important for the biodiversity conservation territories in Eastern Rhodopes Mountain. Nature conservation and information centres were created in Poda, Malko Tarnovo and Madjarovo. The second phase of the Program started in 1998 aiming at strengthening the structures and organization working on the biodiversity conservation applying the most urgent actions for the management plans.

The Program pays special attention to the development of environmental tourism activities which are financial source for sustaining the already created centres and alternative for the local development in the less developed regions around the National parks. Some surveys on the potential and market for the special tourist services such as birdwatching and visits to protected areas, have been made. Special facilities as shelters, paths etc. have been build as part of the plans for development of tourist activities. All centres are constructed as to serve future environmental tourism development.

Status   

According to the approximate data in 1997, international tourism provided for 4.85% of the GDP, thus presenting 9.8% of the total export of goods and services in the country's balance of payments. The share of tourism only in the export of services is 29.6%. International and domestic tourism refer to each other in relation 70% to 30% in terms of contribution to the country's economy. According to the EU research (PHARE program) in 1994 the people involved in tourism only were between 98 000 and 120 000 (season workers included), and tourism occupied a share of 3.0% in the total employment of the country. Nevertheless, the total employment because of tourism activities was 284 000 people (8.8% share), tourism thus providing for 8.8% of the employment of the country's population in labor-active age. In agriculture only (production of agricultural products) tourism provided more than 58 000 jobs. In 1998, as compared to the other sectors of the economy, the share of tourism probably exceeds 14-16% in terms of total employment (direct and resulting from tourism activities) in the country and the number of people, directly involved in tourism is already over 5-6%.

In the 1988-1997 year period, the total number of tourists which visited the country dropped down by 12%. In 1997, there was an increase of 6.6% as compared to the previous year. Having in mind the total decline in the country's economy the share of international tourism in the GDP was increased by 2.2% in 1988, by 4.85% in 1997 and is expected to reach 5.7-5.8% in 1998. A slight decline in the number of tourists is expected in 1998, due to the Russian financial crisis. An increase by 20% in the total number of tourists is expected in 1999. Belgaria thinks that the period of decline is over and, for the period till 2008, the Government envisages a stable average annual increase of tourists by 8-10% and a 10-12% increase of incomes, which will give tourism the chance to reach a 15-19% share in the GDP and 18-19% share in the total export of goods and services in 2008. The government of the Republic of Bulgaria considers tourism to be a priority sector to give rise to the whole economy, and exerts increasingly efforts for the promotion of tourism development.

Challenges  

There are no institutional, administrative or legal obstacles or restrictions on the development of sustainable tourism in the countryside.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Bulgarian tertiary schools provide appropriate education for sustainable tourism. Different forms of education in this field are being carried out by non-governmental organizations, product and branch associations, among others.

Eco-tourism and nature-based tourism are a part of the national tourism promotion. Such promotion is being carried out by the Tourism boards and the Product and branch Tourist Associations. Separate resorts and tourist villages promote themselves at the national and international tourist exhibitions and exchanges.

A project of TIME Foundation TV Series "My Eco World" focused on nature-based tourism in the region of Central Rhodopes mountains. The 3, 5 or 10 minutes' shows were broadcasted on this topic on the National Television within the environmental program "Planeta" during 2 months period. The goal of the project was to provoke public interest to this kind of tourism and solicit feedback reaction on the public interest as well as to assist the local population and especially the Union of Rhodopian Private Hotel and Restaurant Owners in promoting their resources for Eco-tourism. Unexpectedly, large number of calls followed the shows on two issues:

The last show presented a round table organized for representatives of the local authorities and NGOs to discuss the possibilities for co-operation towards development of Eco-tourism in the region as a priority element of the local sustainable development. The meeting clearly have shown lack of common vision and strategy on how to utilize the available natural resources for such development. The interest of the local authorities was very low.

THE BRAET and URHRO had educational programs for local authorities and population on the development of Eco-tourism activities in many villages all over the country.

In addition, awareness of the sustainable tourism problems is being provided at the tourism and visitors centres in the national and natural parks. For example, Capacity 21, UNDP funded project through the Ministry of Regional Planning and Construction focuses its efforts in the community of Velingrad on building a tourism information centre. The Centre is under construction now and its opening is expected to take place in 1999.

Bulgaria as a tourism destination is famous mainly for summer seaside and winter mountain tourism. Efforts recently have been directed towards use of the available resources for the diversification of the tourism product of Bulgaria with new types of tourism and attraction of new market segments. Great hope is being laid in this respect on the attraction of environmentally conscious tourists proving that the country offers excellent opportunities for tourism to.

Information   

Information for decision-making in this area is available from the World Tourism Organization (handbooks and bulletins), studies of Bulgarian tourism experts and scientists. There are thematic maps of the natural resources of Bulgaria. Few of the tourism areas have special maps of the ecosystems.  The distribution of tourism information is done as follows:

Bulgaria is now in the process of setting up a web site of the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, including the information on tourism conditions in Bulgaria, the tourism resources, hotels, restaurants and tour-operators.

Available now on the Web or through email are several Bulgarian tourism companies and associations, as follows:

Research and Technologies   

The social, institutional, cultural, etc. influence of tourism has been the subject of research, analyses and scientific work. Up to now there are a number of scientific publications, directed towards policy making based on the sustainable environmental development and preservation of the anthropogenetic tourism resources and the cultural heritage in particular.

There is anthropogenic pressure in the regions with localization of recreation activities. The establishment of tourism infrastructure, not corresponding to the natural specificity (construction in protected natural areas, high density of the construction, destruction of plant territories and agricultural lands, harmful emissions, noise), intensive transport, road-construction, disregarding the natural specificity, lift facilities etc., cause environmental problems. The development of tourism requires:

The absence of transport infrastructure is a constraint for the sustainable development of many territories, mainly in the countryside.

Financing

Due to the restrictive financial policy of the country, imposed by the currency board, the financing of tourism development projects comes mainly from international programs and organizations, the privatization program, under the Foreign Investments Promotion Act, etc.

Cooperation

Several Bulgaria resorts are "model sustainable tourism destinations" which have been given the "blue flag": Rousalka, Albena, Riviera, Slunchev Den, Golden Sands, Elenite, Sunny Beach, Dyuni, the International Youth Centre-Primorsko. The municipalities in the Pirin region (including National Park Pirin), as well as the municipalities, falling within "Stara Planina" Association (including the Central Balkan national park) are an example of sustainable environmental development in Bulgaria.

The Government authorities and the local administration authorities co-operate with the local and regional tourism organizations in the preparation of tourism development programs, marketing activities and the control over the observation of the Regulations and professional ethics in the field of tourism. The local and regional tourism organizations are engaged at co-ordination of the activities of their member organizations. The product and branch associations, together with the municipal administration play an important role in the tourism development and the public/private sector co-operation in tourism.

The Republic of Bulgaria has signed tourism co-operation contracts with 21 countries; seven of them signed in 1998. The signing of four other contracts of this kind is to take place in the near future. The country is a member of the following international tourism organizations: The World Tourism Organization, the European Tourism Commission, the Central European Initiative, the Danube Promotion Community, the Danube Commission, the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (working group on tourism).

Phare/Tacis 1995 Funds for the Black Sea Environmental Program project has a special sub-component dedicated to Sustainable Tourism Development. The Project itself is managed by International Centre of Water Studies, The Netherlands. Sustainable Tourism Development Association, Spain, manages the sub-component on tourism. The project envisaged organization of large international conference in Bulgaria or Romania dedicated on sustainable tourism development along the Black Sea coast. Large investors were expected to attend the Conference. Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism did not have interest in hosting the Conference in Bulgaria. It will take place in Romania in 1999.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1999



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