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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA

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POVERTY

No information is available.

 

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Government believes that population growth rates in Bulgaria are too low. It has undertaken measures to raise the rate of population growth.

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

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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.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

In Bulgaria, the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and Waters, and district and local divisions of the above ministries are responsible for human health care.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A National Health Strategy has been adopted by the National Assembly. As a pilot country, Bulgaria is preparing the National Environmental Health Action Plan (NEHAP) to be completed later this year.

The Second Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health held in Helsinki from 20 to 22 June 1994 gave high priority to the development of NEHAPs under the Environmental Health Action Plans for Europe (EHAPE) programme. Bulgaria is preparing the NEHAP which is in its final version after seminars, discussions, and comments. The NEHAP gives a detailed analysis of the many factors contributing to environmental health in Bulgaria, and sets out a range of specific actions for remedying identified environmental health problems or for securing further improvements. The NEHAP is a large-scale, long-term project, covering all departments and is the basis for satisfying the health and ecological interests of the country.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

Efficient and sustainable solutions to the nation's health problems should rely on broad socioeconomic, educational, technical and technological measures, as well as health care measures. These should bring about the required changes in lifestyle, the environment, and the attitude of risk groups to the diseases that are the most common causes of disability and death. In conjunction with measures aimed at preventing disease, emphasis should be laid on health promotion, including health building and radical prevention. Being the most promising development path for health care, health promotion is one of the pillars of modern health strategies.

Environment improvement programmes should be based on intersectoral cooperation to ensure coordination and consistency in setting priorities and determining the necessary actions. These programmes should consistently eliminate or reduce the impact of the most wide-spread risk factors: namely radiation impacts; toxic factors; noise; foodstuffs; and safe working environment. In conjunction with the actions to mitigate the general impact of risk factors, specific actions must be formulated and pursued with respect to groups of the population exposed to high health risks: namely children; the elderly; the disabled; and people suffering from chronic diseases and invalidism.

The relatively narrow range of diseases that condition morbidity, mortality, and invalidism allow selective prevention and therapy to be focused on their immediate effects upon the nation's health status. These diseases include:

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 Bulgaria, there are 33.6 medical doctors; 6.8 dentists; and 2.9 pharmacists per 10,000 population. The State budget, including the Health Protection Fund and the National Environmental Protection Fund, cover 98% of health costs. Regional and international support and cooperation is derived from the European Union's PHARE, TEMPUS, and INTERREG programs, the World Health Organization (WHO) especially its Regional Office for Europe, and the World Bank.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
For access to the WHO National Environmental Health Action Plans, click here
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Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available  

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Environmental Strategy; the National Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation; work on the Pan-European Strategy for Landscape and Biodiversity; and the phased introduction of environmental education and training in all levels at the schools in the mandatory and additional curriculum all support improved education and public awareness of sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Major groups involved in education and public awareness include local governments which pursue regional environmental policy in conformity with the central government; the educational sector which reorganizes educational and training policy; business through environment impact assessments; and the agricultural community.

Many major groups have undertaken some very successful projects. For example, from a modest beginning in 1995, with crucial help of a series of Democracy Network Programme(DNP) grants, the Education for Democracy Youth Centre (EDYC) has implemented more than 40 projects and become an informal leader of non-governmental organisations in Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second largest city. The group's dual mission is to educate citizens about civic leadership and enable young people to join in the making of public policy. In its first DNP - supported project, from March of 1996 to March of 1997, the EDYC formed six youth councils, one in each of Plovdiv's districts, and through them trained young people in communication, negotiation and the working of local democracy. Participants shared their learning through a peer newsletter and radio shows, and the EDYC become the official advisor to the Plovdiv mayor on all municipal youth projects. The youth council activists formed an independent NGO, which secured a DNP grant for a project to improve youth labour codes.

The next EDYC project brought training that helped three Plovdiv school councils become effective at making decisions and influencing school curriculum and policy. Local school boards are new in Bulgaria, which has long relied on central government for school related decisions, the new school councils involve parents, teachers, and school administrative staff. Among its achievements, the project has created an association of seven school boards.

Programmes and Projects   

Among the actions taken to integrate environment and sustainable development curricula into education at all levels are:

The Capacity 21 Programme in Bulgaria has a very strong component relating to education and awareness raising, which includes, among others, the following actions:

On July 6, 1995 the ETP Foundation (Sustainable Development Projects) Bulgaria was established with the goal of institutionalizing and continuing ETP activities in the country and eventually developing into an independent environmental policy think-tank. An ETP eco-business club was established in 1996 with representatives from the environmental, business and finance sector and ETP alumni. The ETP Foundation also serves as an environmental education and information center with its training manuals, publications and newsletters. Since 1995 the ETP Foundation has diversified its funding from USA, European and local donors.

Status   

The Bulgarian Constitution guarantees free education for all Bulgarian citizens under age of 16. There are also scholarships for the children from poor families. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the conception of a new programme on environmental education and training has been completed.

Challenges  

No information is available  

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available  

Information   

The Ministry of Environment is financing media dissemination of information and knowledge connected with environmental protection and sustainable development policy. The Ministry issues brochures, video films, and books. Training courses are organized for the Regional Inspectorates, different public groups, local governments, NGOs, and representatives of the agricultural sector.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available 

Financing   

Financing of environmental education in Bulgaria is provided through the National Environmental Protection Fund and international programmes and projects.

Cooperation

The European Union launched a 1.5. mln. ECU project in 1997 to help protect the Black Sea. The project works in 5 countries Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. TIME Foundation is the Regional Co-ordinator of the sub-component "Environmental Education and Public Awareness". The goal of the sub-component is to raise public awareness of the Black Sea environmental problems and to stimulate public participation in their resolution. One of the major activities of the project is the organisation of international travelling exhibition "ECO-PONT =1997-98". The exhibition will visit all 6 Black Sea countries for a 1 year period and is accompanied by a special program aimed at school children but also targeting the public at large in each of the locations. The International Black Sea Day (31 October) was celebrated around the Sea. In Bulgaria it involved a number of events in the major towns - Varna and Bourgas and a 1 hour TV show on National Television.

Examples of innovative education, public awareness or training activities related to sustainable development in Bulgaria include the following: -- The Environmental Training Project for Central and Eastern Europe (ETP) has been funded as a Cooperative Agreement between EUR/DR/ENR of the US Agency for International Development and a Consortium led by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. The Consortium also includes the Center for Hazardous Materials Research (CHMR), the World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US), and the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). Target countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. In each country, USAID selected target regions--normally environmental hot spots.

ETP was designed by USAID as a response to the environmental and economic problems in Central and Eastern Europe. It's primary goal is to contribute to the environmentally sound economic restructuring of these countries. The long-term goal is to improve indigenous capabilities to identify, assess, prioritize, and address environmental problems taking into account the efficient use of natural resources, pollution reduction and prevention, in the context of a competitive market economy.  The project had four objectives simultaneously carried out in each target country:

  1. To provide training in business management to emerging environmentally standards for small and medium-sized firms and industries
  2. To help develop the capacity for informed and effective public participation by NGOs in environmental decision-making;
  3. To increase communication and coordination among the private sector, local and regional governments, NGOs, and universities;
  4. 4. To strengthen the capacity of regional and local governments to make sound economic and environmental decisions.

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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: 22 May 1998.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

Responsibility for human settlement development in Bulgaria is held by the Ministry of the Environment (MoE), Regional Inspectorates for Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Health Care, the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction, municipalities, the technical State Control on Construction, and the Commission on Land.

Closer coordination between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and MoE is required, as well as a distribution of responsibilities and powers with local municipal governments. A number of regional, national, and local environmental projects are under implementation, but still the coordination should be improved among the priority spheres of "structuring", "protection", and "rehabilitation", and among the different institutions.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Since 1992, the procedure for environmental impact assessment has been mandatory for urban infrastructure plans. Through this MoE exercises preventive control for the environmental protection of human settlements.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Regional environmental policy focuses on priority measures in specific regions or zones which are highly urbanized, with high health risk, and exclusive significance for the country (the Bulgarian part of the Black sea coast, the Danube river basin, and protected territories). The establishment of a National Fund for Regional Development is envisaged. The National Fund for Environmental Protection supports as priority projects ones connected with environmental protection and especially those located in "hot spots".

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

In order to overcome the serious problems of urban infrastructure caused by the continuous application of the approach for functional zoning, the following measures are to be undertaken:

  1. The public territories in the human settlements and resorts are endangered. The preservation of municipal property in these territories should be regulated by the Law on Municipal Property and the Law on Territorial Development;
  2. The problem with waste disposal disturbs the aesthetic properties of human settlements and is a serious cause of pollution. This issue has been actively addressed, and the adoption of a Law on Waste is imminent. It is necessary to establish waste disposal areas at the regional level.
  3. In the new plans, the principle of space integration and merging of the functions at all levels of planning from the agglomeration to the town and the individual residential district;
  4. It is necessary to create legislation to regulate the scope of the master urban plan, which should include the zone around the town and aim at ensuring well balanced sustainable development;
  5. Individual and public green gardens are to be incorporated in a system for the whole town and in the outskirts;
  6. National policy for human settlements development should focus on the protection of agricultural land as a non-renewable natural resource and as a base for sustainable development. Agricultural land should be equally protected both outside and inside human settlements. Agricultural trends in the development of small towns should be stimulated to form an agrotown style of living. Areas of agricultural land with no permit for construction should be preserved in the territories around the towns. These basic principles of sustainable development for the urban structure should be regulated through legislation and urban planning, as well as through economic instruments; and
  7. It is necessary to establish an interrelation between urban planning and land use in municipalities. The master plan of the municipality should be made a mandatory base for the detailed infrastructure plans for land use in the agricultural territories, forests, protected, and urbanized territories.

The urban network in Bulgaria (5,336 human settlements) has been formed for millenniums. It bears the signs of ancient cultures (Tracian and Slavonic dwellings, ancient Greek and Roman towns) and all the negative consequences of contemporary urbanization. All characteristic features of Bulgarian towns in recent years indicate alarming signs of lagging behind European standards and of instability. These features include demographic structure, social community, economic activity, environment, physical culture, housing problems, infrastructure, cultural heritage, tradition, and intellectual level. The instability which resulted from the fast quantitative expansion during the period of industrialization is complemented by the instability caused by the economic, social, and political crisis during the last years. The issue of the quality of the urban living environment is becoming more and more important for public health care, as well as for the economy of resources.

Environmental surveys show that in 1989, more than 40% of the population lived in human settlements with bad air quality, seriously polluted rivers, and poor groundwater quality. 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. The problem of waste disposal has not been solved yet and the construction of wastewater treatment plants is very slow. The low technological and energy efficiency in the production and household sectors make human settlements big electricity consumers. However, the state of the environment in the small towns and villages is good, apart from the low level of infrastructure.

In comparing conditions in human settlements with previous years, there has been a decrease in environmental pollution caused by industry, due to reduced production and consumption. This tendency is not sustainable in character, because a restoration of economic activity is expected. The pollution from the transport sector is increasing due to increased travel, old aged vehicle fleet, and the imperfections of the existing road network.

Challenges  

The environment is affected by agricultural activities and the national mountain and sea resorts are overpopulated. The villa zones in Bulgaria are a specific form of individual recreation, but their constant expansion and illegal construction create many problems. This tendency destroys the "green rings", which are the link between the natural and urban environment.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Capacity building and technology issues related to sustainable settlements include the need to seek high efficiency for each investment of the limited resources and efforts taking into consideration the dynamic, technological, economic, political, and cultural priorities of the country.

Information

No information is available 

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

The National Environmental Protection Fund, municipal funds, the state budget, companies, and international organizations finance the promotion of sustainable settlement development in Bulgaria.

Cooperation

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Bulgaria to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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