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Welcome Messages

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to welcome the organizers and delegates at this year's International Forum on energy efficiency and smart cities, ecology and emergency, rescue-, safety for South Eastern Europe. Topics that will be addressed within the event, concern some of the main challenges that stand in front of our country. The efficient and environmentally friendly use of the resources at our disposal, and the adequate dealing with the growing number of crises are the only way to build a sustainable future for Bulgaria.

2014 was a tough year for our country. Thousands were affected by the severe floods. Many people lost their homes, innocent people died, the crops were damaged. Nature showed us with a flourish the consequences of the irrational human activity and climate changes. More than ever, we need public consent for smart, sustainable and green growth, to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency is the best measure to deal with the structural problem of our economy - the high energy consumption. By this measure, Bulgaria can not only increase the competitiveness of its economy, but also improve the living conditions of its citizens. It is important to unite around a comprehensive programme to improve energy efficiency and events like yours help for this to happen.

Once again I express my support for the International Forum on energy efficiency and smart cities, ecology and emergency, rescue-, safety for South Eastern Europe. I believe that the forum will help building a strategic framework and consensus for the development of the relevant sectors, as well as promoting the measures already taken.

I wish you success!

Rosen Plevneliev
President of the Republic of Bulgaria


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please, accept my warm greetings for the opening of the "Save the Planet" Conference. This event offers the opportunity for exchange of ideas, experience, new technologies and good practices between the state institutions, the non-governmental organizations, the public and the private sectors.

I welcome the pursuit of the 6th event in a row with the participation of international experts, providing the potential for introduction of new models and innovative solutions in the field of management of construction waste and recycling of plastics, as well as the basic steps towards the development of circular economy.

I would like to thank the Organizer of the Conference for the kind invitation and for the chance experts from the Ministry of Environment and Water of Bulgaria to take part in the Conference presenting the main aspects of the Bulgarian legislation regarding the construction waste along with the tendencies and the achieved results in the recycling of plastics.

In my greeting message, I would like to put extra emphasis on some important points.

The increase of resource efficiency in the manufacture industry and the intent to achieve circular economy are of primary importance. As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria is facing the challenge of accomplishing the goals, considering the recycling of the household and the construction waste by the year 2020. Simultaneously, we witness that the overall present-day politics in this sector is spreading beyond the boundaries of the waste management, and the topics about the extending of the product life cycle, the investing in new materials, the reduction of the used production energy will be even more discussed. Much more efforts should be directed towards the application of recyclable materials, the reuse and the opportunities for the alternative use of the waste, for example, in the modern technology solutions about material and energy recovery.

Over the last 5 years, Bulgaria marked a substantial progress in the waste management and recycling, with about 30% recycling of the household waste for the last two years, as well as the already annual realization of the directive goals for recycling of packaging and other waste streams, for which there are introduced systems for extended producer responsibility. The seeking of the European Union for overhaul of the legislation about the waste, and the presentation of a widened and more ambitious new law-making package, shaped around the development of circular economy, puts the spotlight over this kind of events, that ensure the experience exchange between the professionals on an international level and the possibility of improving the communication between all the parties and countries engaged in the extremely responsible process of waste management.

Ivelina Vassileva
Minister of Environment and Water




Ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad, that I have the opportunity as a Minister of Regional Development and Public Works to welcome the participants and the organizers of the eleventh International Forum for Energy Efficiency. The fact that for eleventh consecutive year, Sofia is a host city of the large-scale event, distinguished by huge interest, is indicative that the energy efficiency is a current topic for the contemporary society, considering its importance for the environmental protection, the saving of natural resources, and the improvement of quality of life.

The energy efficiency is a key priority of the Bulgarian Government. In the election campaign of Political Party GERB, we had already elaborated a program for energy renovation of the Bulgarian homes. Led by the idea of a higher living standard, lower heating costs, safer homes and up-to-date urban environment, for less than 100 days we adopted, developed and now implemented the National Program for Energy efficiency of multi-family residential buildings. The program is run throughout the country, covering more than 1.3 million homes, presented as apartment buildings with more than 36 apartments each, and it affected nearly 3 million Bulgarian citizens. It caused great interest among the population, and can only make us pleased, that we found the pulse of the society and we were able to offer a solution for a most necessary trait.

The Bulgarian state was obliged to the people living in panel apartment buildings. We were the only country from the former Socialist Bloc not to do anything to improve the energy efficiency and structural stability of the buildings. For years, millions of Bulgarians would spend money "to warm the air.", thus polluting the environment and wasting resources that can be channeled in the industry and the economy. The program will not only solve the problem of old buildings, but also the investment of over 1 billion Lev will be aimed at reviving the economy. The construction and assembly works will open hundreds of new jobs for small and medium-sized construction companies in regions, whose number is over 2500. There are more than 5,000 companies in the country specializing in the production of window frames; there are dozens of companies producing roofing, building materials and window glass. The savings from heating will improve the purchasing power of the households, which is another incentive for the state's economy. The last but not the least, the program will contribute to our country's energy independence, the fight against the climate change, and will enable us taking a major step in performing the concept of "buildings with almost zero energy consumption."

In parallel to the National program for energy efficiency of multi-family residential buildings, the government is implementing a project, financed by European funds - "Energy renovation of Bulgarian homes" from the Operational Program "Regional Development 2007-2013". We have made every effort and saved a program, failed from the previous government. Through this program, by the end of the year we will invest additional over 60 million Lev in energy efficiency of over 200 buildings throughout the country. During the new programming period, 2014-2020, we will count on 350 million Lev from the European solidarity for energy efficiency in public and residential buildings.

Our future depends on how we, the modern society, will be able to preserve the Earth as a hospitable home for the future generations. The energy efficiency and its application in different fields of the economy and the industry is a key element in our common efforts. By keeping a clean environment, we will guarantee a long and high-quality life. By saving the natural resources and valuable deposits, we will give time to the science to discover new possibilities and make new achievements. At the same time, we will make a big step forward in the fight against climate upheavals. All our efforts are exactly in the same direction - to live in a more benign environment. We can easily see that the small steps in this direction lead to serious results, always in a positive way. Let's protect the environment the way we want it to be - clean, welcoming and alive!

Lilyana Pavlova
Minister of Regional Developmentand Public Works



Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to have the opportunity to welcome the participants in the international Forum dedicated on energy efficiency and smart cities of Southeastern Europe.
Today, this subject is an integral part of the economic development of each country, the vision of the quality of life and the national security. Implementation of energy efficiency measures inevitably increases regional employment and has a positive impact on economic growth.

This process has a direct impact on the improvement of cities appearance. And last but not least - energy efficiency is directly related to the reduced energy consumption. For a country like Bulgaria, which relies heavily on the import of energy resources, and is yet making major steps in the process of diversification and development of indigenous energy resources, this element is an integral part of national security.

The modern world is facing the challenge of a transition from a high-carbon economy to low-carbon production. Never before were the energy efficiency tasks so directly related to the daily life of every one of us and never before were their solutions so much without alternatives.  
I am particularly pleased to note the significant role of the Ministry of Energy in this process.

A few days ago the adoption was finished of project proposals for two of the schemes under the programme "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy", funded by the Financial mechanism of the European Economic Area on the basis Memorandum of Understanding between Bulgaria and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. There are 106 candidates in total that apply for grant agreement, as the most active among them are the municipalities that have submitted 75 applications.
The international fund "Kozloduy" also funds projects for energy efficiency in public buildings, street lighting, rehabilitation of the national power grid, gas supply, etc.

I am confident that, thanks to the high activity among local authorities, dozens of Bulgarian cities will use the additional opportunity to improve their energy performance and thus ensure a better life for their citizens.

Good luck to all participants in the conference!

Temenuzhka Petkova
Minister of Energy





Austria is a strategic partner of “Save the Planet” and for the 6th year in a row a significant number of companies is represented via the Austrian pavilion. Every year Austrian companies show a strong interest in possible future projects and enhanced cooperation between Bulgaria and Austria.

Austria plays a leading role in environmental technology in Europe. The sector accounts for a yearly turnover of close to 9 billion Euros and employs around 30.000 people. 75% of goods and services in the sector are exported.

Within the field of renewable energy Austria remains a global leader and manages to get over a quarter of its total power consumption from renewable energy sources. Bioenergy (with a share of around 60%) is the most important source of renewable energy. In addition, 872 wind power plants with an output of 1,684 MW are currently feeding power into the electric grid. Investment in research and high-level technology are decisive for development of products and services for solar-thermal and photovoltaic energy. Currently, exports account for over 80% and 90% respectively for these sectors. By 2020, Austria intends to generate 34% of its energy consumption needs by renewable energy.

Concerning waste treatment, Austria is among the countries in the EU with the highest rates of incineration, recycling and composting of waste. More than 50% of municipal waste are recycled or composted in Austria (Top 3 in the EU). Vienna alone incinerates about 900.000 tons of waste every year. Waste is perceived generally more and more as a resource to provide energy and raw materials, rather than a burden.

The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund provides support for projects in renewable energy (including energy-efficient technologies and climate-friendly travel). Technologies leading to cost-effective and climate-friendly energy production remain highly significant to the Austrian economy. The strategy to foster environmental technology led to the emergence of a wide range of specialized companies. Both traditional family companies and new start-ups have been highly successful on an international level and have shown the strength of innovation made in Austria.

Austrian experience, know-how and technology can help Bulgaria to reach its objectives in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental technology and water and waste treatment.

Roland Hauser
Ambassador of Austria in Bulgaria


Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a World Bank representative I feel honored to be invited to the South-East European Conference on Emergency, Rescue-, Safety Management and Control.
For many experts worldwide a key element of development is about how prepared any given country or a society is to face unexpected and catastrophic events. We at the World Bank believe that the most vulnerable should be the first to be protected. With this guiding principle in our everyday job I am glad to share just a few examples of our recent work in Bulgaria:

•    About to be providing advisory support on emergency health care
•    Supporting the Roads infrastructure agency in preparing a comprehensive roads safety plan and identifying 25 black spots
•    Analyzing the existing hydro melioration infrastructure and providing ideas for a national strategy for the sector to manage rainfall and flooding.

But development is all about people. And even with the best plans everything happen, people are placed in life-threatening situations and at that point it is only people who can save our lives – these dedicated people that are working in emergency, rescue and safety management. These are people that put their own lives in danger to save our lives. So, let’s pay a special tribute to these people.  

In conclusion, I would like to wish to the participants of this Conference and exhibition every success!

Tony Thompson
World Bank Country Manager


Distinguished Participants,

Since 2011, together with other organizations and institutions, the Organization of the South East Europe Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is associated as partner to the Eco Forum and Exhibitions in Sofia organized by Via Expo, which bring together governmental and local policy leaders, business executives, investors and prominent experts and researchers in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste management and recycling.

This yearly events acquired over the years – and rightly so – a great international prestige, offering an excellent framework for getting acquainted with the latest technological developments related to the energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management & recycling, for encouraging foreign investments and for facilitating connections with leading companies working in these sectors.

Our partnership in support of these events is based on the fact that one of the priorities of our Organization is to support the efforts of our 12 Member States for ensuring sustainable energy and for the development of the Black Sea Energy Market. In implementing this priority, through our activities and projects we aim at promoting renewable energy sources, including R&D, and at developing a meaningful regional cooperation on renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly technologies.

Several other international governmental and nongovernmental organisations and initiatives, like your Sofia series of Eco Forums and Exhibitions are working in the same direction. It is important to create synergies between all these activities and it is with this thought that, on behalf of BSEC, I wish you useful and fruitful exchanges on the occasion of this great event organized by Via Expo in Sofia.

Ambassador Traian Chebeleu
Deputy Secretary General
Permanent International Secretariat
Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation

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