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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The National Centre of Environment and Sustainable Development is the institution which, together with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, is responsible for the policy making process and coordination of all issues regarding sustainable development in Bulgaria. It is expected that a National Commission for Sustainable Devleopment will be established by the end of 1998.  The Commission, once established, is intended to ensure the operationalization and broadening of the Bulgarian commitments to Sustainable Development. Its primary task will be to develop the Bulgarian Agenda 21 and to ensure that the commitments made by the Bulgarian Government at Rio de Janeiro, and the implications of the Earth Summit to Bulgaria are implemented, periodically monitored and co-ordinated.

A special partnership with Government institutions which are active in the field of sustainable human development will be developed.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The 1991 Environmental Protection Law and its 1992 amendments provide a strong legislative framework for environmental policy, on the basis of which the Ministry of Environment has prepared draft laws in a number of key areas including air, water, nature conservation, natural resource management, and biodiversity.

The introduction of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) has been the most important step in the development of policy instruments. More than 1,000 projects have been subjected to this process in three years. Recent legislative amendments, however, could weaken EIAs. Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law passed in early l995 exempt projects of vital importance from the public participation requirements of the EIA process.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Environmental Strategy and its 1994 update were completed in co-operation with the World Bank and the US Government. The basis of the Strategy is the eco-efficiency approach which is concerned with changing the consumption/production models by means of minimizing energy consumption, and flows of pollutants and wastes per unit of economic output. In order to determine the appropriate behaviour for all stakeholders, various economic instruments have been developed and implemented, such as taxes, fines, additional import duties, differentiated taxes, subsidies, and softened loans. These form the basic revenue of the National and many Municipal Environmental Protection Funds.

Throughout this process of reform, the Ministry of Environment, including the Regional Environmental Inspectorates, has been able to enhance its institutional capacity. 

Although the Environmental Strategy and the 1994 update are based on extensive analysis, including consultation with experts in other ministries, the process for their development did not lead to a strong inter-ministerial commitment, nor to greater public awareness of the economic reforms needed for improved environmental management. The Strategy and its update have been adopted by the Ministry of the Environment but not yet endorsed by the Government. The integration effort continues to be hampered by the vertical organization of the central administration which is in part a legacy of central planning. The major sectoral ministries, such as those dealing with energy and industry, have paid little attention to environmental problems or goals. Budget cuts have led to reductions or elimination of environmental units in some ministries.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Public information and participation have constituted a major success with active involvement of environmental NGOs and the preparation of a legal framework to guarantee public access to information.

The representation of NGO's and the private sector, as counterparts of the government in the planned National Commission is a significant breakthrough in bringing these groups into the mainstream of the development process.

Programmes and Projects   

The Capacity 21 programme in Bulgaria, initiated in February 1997 with UNDP assistance.is intended to lay the groundwork for a national sustainable development strategy by promoting and testing models for sustainable development at the community level. Through this Programme the Government of Bulgaria confirms its commitment to the sustainable human development (SHD) principles as expressed through its active participation in, and support for, the UN Conferences on Sustainable Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), on Fighting Poverty (Copenhagen, 1994), on Women in Development (Beijing, 1995) and on Human Settlements (Istanbul, 1996).

At the national level, the Programme envisages the establishment of a National Commission for Sustainable Development(NCSD) chaired by the Deputy Minister. The Programme is supporting the revision of the national education strategy and promoting public awareness and targeted training of journalists and the private sector. The promotion of the crucial role of women in development and facilitating their greater participation in all aspects of socio-economic life of the Bulgarian society is an important component of the Programme.

The Programme forsees the establishment and operation of three working groups: 

Working group 1 will: 

Working group 2 will:

Working group 3 will:

Status 

Bulgaria has strong will and commitment to implementing Rio's principles and Agenda 21. It is also going through a major transition from a centrally planned to a market economy and is at a watershed in its development. Experience has so far demonstrated that a considerable share of the country's potential is not realized because information, policy measures, local expertise, and public awareness are lacking in addition to the more specific challenges posed by the transition process. Nevertheless, despite the difficult conditions, Bulgaria has made significant progress since 1989 in improving the policy framework and strengthening its institutions for protecting the environment.

In Bulgaria, the best opportunity to pursue the global objectives of integration, participation, and information currently exists at the community level.

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: IN PROCESS
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD: IN PROCESS
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: YES
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: YES  

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: IN PROCESS
3. Ecolabel Regulations: YES
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5. Green Accounting Program: YES
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: YES

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

Does your country have either a policy, programme, and/or legislation consistent with Agenda 21 in:  
1. Combatting poverty: YES
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: NO
3. Atmosphere: YES
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: NO
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: YES
8. Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9. Biological Diversity: YES
10. Biotechnology: YES
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: YES
13. Toxic Chemicals: YES
14. Hazardous Wastes: YES
15. Solid Wastes: YES
16. Radioactive Wastes: YES
17. Energy: YES
18. Transport: YES
19. Sustainable Tourism: YES

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

The Government will be placed at the very centre of resource mobilisation activities with UNDP providing the necessary support. Government Cost-Sharing has the additional advantage of enhancing national ownership and sustainability of UNDP interventions. The success of resource mobilisation initiatives depends to a large extend on the Government's commitment to be actively involved in support of such initiatives.

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th, 6th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1999.

For information on the Ministry of Environment and Waters, click here.
For the UNDP in Bulgaria, click here.
For information on the law in Bulgaria, click here.
For information from the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria, click here:
For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed and ratified by Bulgaria on 17 July 1980 and 17 February 1982 respectively.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Policies and strategies are being developed to achieve equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by the year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to the full participation of women in sustainable development. In addition, mechanisms are being developed to assess the implementation and impact of development, and environment policies and programmes on women.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The proportion of women decision-makers in parliament was 13.3% in 1992 and 1996, while the proportion of women decision-makers in local government was 19.8% in 1993 and 21.4% in 1996.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Curricula and educational material are being revised to promote the dissemination of gender-relevant knowledge.

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 Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on WomenWatch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

 

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

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 

Important initiatives for youth include developing a programme for "green schools"; making environmental video films with the financial resources of the European Union's PHARE programme and organizing their dissemination to schools, universities, and NGOs; initiation and support of children's activities and initiatives for cleaning the streets, parks planting, etc on the occasion of international environmental anniversaries; development of programmes and projects for environmental training for inclusion in the mandatory and additional curriculums in cooperation with MEST.

Status   

Youth serve as advisory participants in national processes related to sustainable development. The goal set in Agenda 21 of ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth, gender balanced, have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training has been reached. Youth unemployment decreased from 44.8% (258,360 persons) to 39.6% (189,826) between 1992 and 1996.

Important youth fora in Bulgaria include the exhibition of children's pictures under the title "Children and the Environment" during the Third Ministerial Conference Environment for Europe held in Sofia during 1995; the exhibition of materials from Agenda 21 in the museum Earth and People and other towns organized by the NGO, Jatrus-PET-Veliko Tarnovo in 1996; and the National Conference on Environmental Training for teachers in the secondary schools in chemistry, physics, biology, and geography organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) in May 1996.

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 session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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   

Indigenous people participate as advisors on an ad hoc basis in developing national policies. Mechanisms for involving indigenous people in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level are being discussed.

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 Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The involvement of NGOs in the solution of environmental problems is within the priorities of the policy pursued by the Ministry of Environment. NGOs participate in the preparation and implementation of programmes and projects at regional, national, and international levels. In the legislation, public participation and access to information is covered in the Regulation for Environmental Impact Assessment and the Environmental Protection Law. Additional mechanisms are being planned to promote and allow NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment, and evaluation of official mechanisms to review Agenda 21 implementation in 1998.

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   

No information is available

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 Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

MRDC develops housing policy; subsidizes construction and reconstruction of water supply systems, local roads and landfills; and adopts standards for the hygienic characteristics of building materials and works.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Bulgarian Government supports Local Agenda 21 initiatives. The Ministry of Regional Development and Construction (MRDC) supports local initiatives aimed at sustainable development. The projects are in the process of preparation, adoption, or implementation. The most important projects funded or coordinated by the MRDC are: the development of a National Strategy for Territorial Development of Bulgaria; the drafting of a Law of Territorial Development; the development of a chart for sustainable development of the Bulgarian landscape; establishing regulations for Black Sea coastal development; and the creation of development plans for 14 coastal zone municipalities.

Status   

No information is available

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 Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Bulgaria has ratified four International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions in the field of workers' rights (Numbers 11, E7, 94, and 98). The Government intends to submit another package of ILO Conventions on this subject.

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   

No information is available

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 fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

No information is available.

 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNITY

No information is available.

 

FARMERS

No information is available.

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SCIENCE

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   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

The National Fund "Science Research" is one instituion which facilitates dialogue among the scientific community, the Government and the public at large with respect to issues related to sustainable development. It develops and puts into practice national priorities and promotes research. Although it is not involved in the decision-making process it contributes to the process towards sutainablility with scientific research.

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 6th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 22 May 1998

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

A National Sustainable Development Commission was established as an expert committee of the Regional Development Council under the Council of Minsiters. The establishment of the Commission is stipulated by the Regional Development Act adopted by the Bulgarian National Assembly on March 11, 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.

The main functions and objectives of the Commission include:

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Economic Development Plan for 2000-2006 (NEDP)

Was prepared in keeping with the National EU Accession Strategy, with the Bulgaria 2001 Programme of the Government, the updated National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis and the Accession Partnership Programme. The legal basis for the National Economic Development Plan is the Regional Development Act which states that the plan is a “unity of sectoral and regional programmes based on an analysis of the overall development of the country and on an overall development strategy”.

The NEDP was prepared in coordination with the National Regional Development Plan and the National Agricultural and Rural Development Plan under the SAPARD Programme. The three documents cover the same 7-year period. The National Economic Development Plan is first and foremost a strategic document by means of which Bulgaria defines its needs and its future development orientation. It outlines the development vision for Bulgaria and formulates the national priorities. Also, the NEDP casts a broader view on the regional aspect of the sectoral strategies by covering the six regional development plans.

The National Economic Development Plan of the Republic of Bulgaria was initiated in 1998 under the Special Preparatory Programme for the EU Structural Funds. With regard to the tradition of centralised planning inherited from the past, the Bulgarian government decided to use the top to bottom approach at the start and only after a foundation for better coordination is established at the central level, to apply the partnership principle in reality.

The elaboration of the NEDP was entrusted to the Central Co-ordination Unit (CCU) whose members are representatives of key ministries, government agencies and the Council of Ministers. The meetings of the CCU are open for participation of various non-government and foreign organisations and institutions (Centre for Economic Development, Open Society, the World Bank, EU Delegation in Sofia etc.). The minutes of the meetings are presented to the relevant departments of the EU Commission.

The overall role of the CCU is to determine the national strategic objectives and priorities and, respectively, measures and operation programmes, and is defined by two main objectives. The first, mainly concerned with the internal or external economic policy is the making of the situation in Bulgaria more predictable and transparent for all potential investors, including the EU funds, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Restoration and Development, the World Bank, the International Currency Fund and other international financial institutions. The second main objective is to reach a higher level of internal administrative and financial organisation and to create the relevant mechanisms for dialog and co-ordination at all levels of society.

During the different stages of the planning process, the National Economic Development Plan and the individual sector strategies were published on the web pages of the government and of the respective ministries, and are supported and reflected upon through thorough discussions and news coverage in the mass media, and through seminars and training at the national and regional levels.

In continuation of the existing advisory mechanisms, the preliminary NEDP assessment in March 2001 will be conducted while a simultaneous official public hearing is held on substantial priority issues that need to be addressed in the plan.

The adoption of the Regional Development Act added a new focus into the regional policy of the government by introducing a system for sustainable and balanced development of the areas. The National Regional Development Plan is the main tool for establishment of an overall long-term regional development policy based on a balance between national, regional and local interests and priorities. It reflects the initiatives of:

The main function of this plan is to subject the initiatives of the local and central administrations to a uniform logic, and to ensure proper use of the limited resources.

In 1999 a National Agricultural Extension Service was established by law. It transformed the National Agricultural Extension Service existing since 1995 into an independent unit with its own budget. Its entire activity is aimed to contribute for sustainable development of Bulgarian agriculture.  The objectives of the National Agricultural Extension Service are to assist in the development of highly-productive and competitive agriculture in Bulgaria in keeping with the European norms and in the improving of the living standards in agricultural areas while preserving the environment and human health.

The local agricultural extension services provide on-site advice and consultancy. Also, they submit information through the local newspapers and the electronic media. They provide information to the farmers about open days and demonstrations organised in agricultural farms. The local extension services have the task of making the farmers aware of new credit lines and of the lending conditions, and also to assist the producers to prepare business projects. They organise training, qualification and re-qualification courses.  

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

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  

The National Agricultural and Rural Development Plan was elaborated by a working group at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Agrarian Reform including representatives of the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Environment and Waters, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, assisted by members of agricultural organisations, organisations of food producers and by regional development agencies and non-governmental organisations. The Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development was discussed in a meeting of the CCU for the Special Preparation Programme. Higher transparency of the programming process was achieved by two public hearings on priorities and measures of the plan. Representatives of the European Commission were present at the hearing, in keeping with the partnership principle.

* * * 

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

 

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

No information is available.

 

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