KS is the project partner and Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI) provides additional Norwegian expertise.
The project is focusing on the development of innovative measures for climate change adaptation in eight major Bulgarian cities: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Kardzhali and Ruse. Together with NTEF and a group of Bulgarian experts, KS and WNRI are involved in several activities aiming to support these cities in strengthening their capacity to successfully adapt to environmental risks caused by the warming climate, such as the heat island effect, alternate floods and droughts, and urban landslides. The core activities in this regard consist of the development of new and improved municipal climate change adaptation plans, as well as the implementation of selected pilot actions based on innovative measures included in the planning documents.
The project recently reached two important milestones in its implementation phase. The first of these was the successful organization of the initial training session with the expert teams from each of the eight Bulgarian cities in December 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was held in a digital format, but nevertheless fulfilled its objectives. In the course of the training, the Bulgarian advisory team contracted by NTEF introduced the participants to a methodology for analyzing existing strategic and planning documents, as well as implemented projects in the municipalities. This methodology includes provisions to consider the overall implications for sustainable urban development, effects on biodiversity, the comfort and safety of residents, the availability of relevant technology, and the legal regulations for any relevant interventions.
The second milestone is the publication of a report on international experience and good practices regarding climate change adaptation commissioned from WNRI. A draft version of the report was presented to the Bulgarian expert teams by WNRI researchers at the abovementioned training, thus familiarizing them with relevant climate change adaptation measures from Spain, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, as well as methods for risk analysis aiming at assessing possible solutions. The final report was published in February 2022 on the home page of WNRI, and can be accessed here.
The next steps under the project include the commencement of the work by the expert teams from the Bulgarian cities to analyze their existing planning documents and develop new versions based on the established methodology, as well as several study trips to Norway in the spring and early summer of 2022. Further updates about these activities will follow upon their implementation.