First Stakeholder Meeting in Bulgaria within the Coop4RURALGov Project

On Tuesday, July 18, 2023, the First Stakeholders’ group meeting in Bulgaria within the frame of Coop4RURALGov project „Rural Proofing. Cooperation for better sparsely populated rural, coastal and mountain focused governance“ took place. The two Bulgarian partners, Association Center for Sustainability and Economic Growth /CSEG/ and the Municipality of Bratsigovo, organized an initial stakeholders’ group meeting in Bulgaria within the Coop4RURALGov project, co-funded by the Interreg Europe Programme 2021-2027 within Contract № 01C0297.

Mr. Georgi Simeonov, an expert in Association CSEG, presented the project to the participants – its main objectives and the upcoming activities on interregional study visits, exchanges of experience and best practices identification for sustainable development of the municipality. Representatives of the Municipality of Bratsigovo made a brief summary of the priorities of the Local municipal integrated plan 2021-2027 with accent on potential improvements which could be initiated due to projects interregional study visits and exchange of experience activities.

During the meeting, the participants were discussing topics like the challenges related to improving the capacity of local governments to jointly develop sustainable policies and making regional impact assessment a routine part of decision-making process of officials as well as for policies, programmes and initiatives approved by legislatures in sparsely populated rural, coastal and mountainous areas were discussed, along with the development and marketing of local resources and the participation of local people in these processes.

Within this initial stakeholder meeting, the Bulgarian partners also focused on identifying and adapting to the needs, resources and capacities of rural areas. Finding solutions and highlighting the advantages, challenges and opportunities at local and regional level, i.e. at municipal level in Municipality of Bratsigovo and at regional level in Pazardzhik Province, during the new programming period from 2021 to 2027.

The event was attended by various stakeholders such as representatives of public administrations and educational authorities, social workers, representatives of NGOs, energy agencies, and SMEs association. Most of these organizations comprise high-quality experts in specific sectors like education, environment protection, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship, and policy making.