ECE Environmental Performance Reviews Series

2412-107X (online)
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An Environmental Performance Review (EPR) is an assessment of the progress a country has made in reconciling its environmental and economic targets and in meeting its international environmental commitments. The EPR Programme assists countries to improve their environmental management and performance; promotes information exchange among countries on policies and experiences; helps integrating environmental policies into economic sectors; promotes greater accountability to the public and strengthens cooperation with the international community.
Environmental Performance Review: Bulgaria

Environmental Performance Review: Bulgaria

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18 July 2017
9789210601719 (PDF)

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Environmental Performance Review Programme assesses progress made by individual countries in reconciling their economic and social development with environmental protection, as well as in meeting international commitments on environment and sustainable development. The Environmental Performance Review Programme assists countries to improve their environmental policies by making concrete recommendations for better policy design and implementation. Environmental Performance Reviews help to integrate environmental policies into sector-specific policies such as those in agriculture, energy, transport and health. Through the peer review process, the reviews promote dialogue among Governments about the effectiveness of environmental policies as well as the exchange of practical experience in implementing sustainable development and green economy initiatives. They also promote greater Government accountability to the public. The present publication contains the third Environmental Performance Review of Bulgaria. It takes stock of progress made by the country in the management of its environment since 2007. The publication also covers issues of specific importance to the country related to legal and policy frameworks, the financing of environmental policies, greening the economy, and integrating environmental concerns into selected sectors, in particular air protection, water management, waste management, biodiversity, forests and protected areas, climate change and energy. Suggestions for strengthening efforts towards a comprehensive and systemic response to sustainable development challenges are also provide. The publication is aimed at officials and experts working for public authorities responsible for environmental policy, representatives of civil society, the business community, academia and the media.

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  • Foreword

    It is essential to monitor progress towards environmental sustainability and to evaluate how countries reconcile environmental and economic targets and meet their international environmental commitments. Through regular monitoring and evaluation, countries may more effectively stay ahead of emerging environmental issues, improve their environmental performance and be accountable to their citizens. The ECE Environmental Performance Review Programme provides valuable assistance to member States by regularly assessing their environmental performance. Countries can then take steps to improve their environmental management, integrate environmental considerations into economic sectors, increase the availability of information to the public and promote information exchange with other countries on policies and experiences.

  • Preface

    This third Environmental Performance Review (EPR) of Bulgaria takes stock of progress made by Bulgaria in the management of its environment since it was peer reviewed for the second time in 2000. It covers issues of specific importance to the country related to legal and policymaking frameworks, the financing of environmental expenditures, greening the economy, air protection, water and waste management and biodiversity conservation. The review further provides a substantive and policy analysis of the country’s climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and its participation in international mechanisms. It also examines the efforts of Bulgaria to integrate environmental considerations in its policies in the energy sector.

  • Team members
  • Expert group for the third EPR of Bulgaria
  • Key Abbreviations
  • Signs and measures
  • Currency conversion
  • Executive summary

    The second Environmental Performance Review (EPR) of Bulgaria was carried out in 2000. This third review intends to assess the progress made by Bulgaria in managing its environment since the second EPR and in addressing new environmental challenges.

  • Introduction: Environmental conditions and pressures

    Bulgaria’s population has shown a steady declining trend. The country’s total population of 7.20 million in 2014 was 5.76 per cent lower than in 2007, at the beginning of the review period, when the total population was 7.64 million. The life expectancy of the male and female populations increased between 2007 and 2013, by 1.8 and 1.7 years, to 71.02 and 78.01 years, respectively. During the same period the total fertility rate increased by 4.22 per cent, from 1.42 to 1.48, while the infant mortality rate decreased from 9.2 per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 6.6 in 2015 – a significant 28.3 per cent decrease. The decrease of the population was caused by negative natural increase and net migration.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Environmental governance and financing

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    • Legal and policymaking framework and its practical implementation

      to harmonize the environmental legislation with the EU environmental acquis have been the main driving force behind the ongoing strengthening of the legal framework for environmental protection and sustainable development.

    • Economic instruments for environmental protection and the financing of environmental expenditures

      As of the beginning of 2012, Bulgaria applied a levy for the discharge of wastewater and pollutants into surface and groundwater bodies. The corresponding tax rates are established in the 2011 Decree on Charge rates for water abstraction, use of water bodies and for pollution, No. 50. The water pollution tax has also been included in the 2015 amendments to the Water Act (SG No. 58). The Water Act also contains a provision for a tax on diffuse source pollution from agriculture, which, however, is due only in cases where neither the tax on wastewater discharge into surface waters nor that on the discharge of pollutants into groundwater has been paid.

    • Environmental monitoring, information and education

      The territory of Bulgaria is presently divided into six districts for monitoring and assessing air quality. These districts are Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, North (Danube), South-East and South-West. Data collection and analysis relating to air quality is based on this regional subdivision and takes into account the specificities of each district. Air quality monitoring is principally carried out through the automated National System for Environmental Monitoring by the Executive Environment Agency.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Domestic–International interface

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    • Implementation of international agreements and commitments

      The main priorities of Bulgaria’s international cooperation in the field of environment are: (i) the development and strengthening of cooperation with neighbouring countries, the EU Member States, the Western Balkans countries and countries in the wider Black Sea region; (ii) the implementation of the global and regional agreements to which Bulgaria is party.

    • Climate change

      Bulgaria is situated in one of the regions that are particularly vulnerable to climate change (mainly through temperature increase) and to related extreme events, such as flash floods and droughts. Climaterelated risks are expected to increase in the next decades.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Integration of environment into selected sectors/issues

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    • Water management

      The Bulgarian climate results from the country’s being positioned at the meeting point of the Mediterranean and continental air masses and the barrier effect of its mountains. Northern Bulgaria registers 200 mm more precipitation annually than the regions south of the Balkan Mountains. Across the country, precipitation averages about 630 mm per year, and varies from 500 mm in Dobrudja to more than 2,500 mm in the mountains.

    • Air protection

      Significant reductions have been achieved in recent decades for most emissions of air pollutants. Emissions from large industrial sources have been reduced by more than 80 per cent for SO2 and halved for NOx. This is partly the result of the shutting down of obsolete industrial installations, and predominantly the result of applying modern emission abatement techniques and control measures to reduce emissions. NOx reduction was partly compensated for by increased emissions due to the growth of road transport. Emissions of ammonia (NH3) have decreased although the economic output of the agricultural sector was more or less stable. Other emissions are more or less stable or slowly declining.

    • Waste management

      The total amount of municipal waste generated decreased from close to 5 million tons in 2000 to slightly more than 3 million tons in 2014 (table 8.1). The amount of waste generated per capita decreased accordingly, from more than 600 to 442 kg/capita/year. The number of settlements and inhabitants served by collection services increased substantially. Nowadays, 99.6 per cent of the population is covered with waste services.

    • Biodiversity and national ecological network

      The Central European, Sub-Mediterranean, Mediterranean and Pontic floristic regions meet in Bulgaria, creating a particularly high biodiversity. As the southern mountains (Strandja, Rhodopes) were spared from the last glaciation, a large number of relict and endemic species can be found in the country; the richness in species is among the highest in all of Europe.

    • Energy and environment

      The primary energy production, gross domestic energy consumption and end consumption of energy all peaked in 2011. The share of energy from renewables on gross domestic energy consumption has been on a steady rise and increased from 12.2 per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent in 2013.

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