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FEATURE STORY

The World Bank signs two Service Agreements with Bulgaria to suggest options for Water and Innovation Strategies

July 26, 2012


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The World Bank Regional Director for Central Europe and Baltic Countries Peter Harrold  and the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Delian Dobrev.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The unique knowledge partnership aims to support Bulgaria to make the most of EU funding

SOFIA, July 26, 2012 – The Bulgarian Government has signed today two service agreements with the World Bank to provide advisory services in development of the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS), and the “Smart Specialization Strategy” for Innovation. The agreements were signed by Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Delian Dobrev, and Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Dobromir Simidchiev. The World Bank Regional Director for Central Europe and Baltic Countries Peter Harrold signed on behalf of the World Bank.

Both service agreements are developed under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Bulgaria and the World Bank on partnership and support in the implementation of the EU Structural Instruments, signed in January this year. The MoU set the scene for Bulgaria’s unique knowledge partnership with International Financial Institutions. It includes a mechanism that allows the Government to draw on EU Funds to cover the costs of knowledge and advisory services of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the World Bank.

The development of the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sanitation, and “Smart Specialization Strategy” is instrumental for Bulgaria in order to get prepared for the next EU programming period 2014-2020. Both strategies are essential to further enhance Bulgaria’s investment plans for water and sanitation sector and innovation infrastructure. 

“The World Bank has been partnering with Bulgaria over the last 20 years, providing financing, but also knowledge and advice. Through these agreements we shift the focus of our partnership to one based on knowledge, and tailored to support Bulgaria’s absorption of EU funds, and implement the National Reform Program”, the World Bank Regional Director for Central Europe and Baltic Countries Peter Harrold said.


" Innovation is our main priority and we are committed to establish an innovations friendly environment in Bulgaria enabling Bulgarian business to grow "

Delian Dobrev

Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism

“Innovation is our main priority and we are committed to establish an innovations friendly environment in Bulgaria enabling Bulgarian business to grow”, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delian Dobrev said.

“The agreement signed today is a result from the MoU singed in January between the Government of Bulgaria, on one hand, and the World Bank and the European Investment Bank,on the other on partnership and support in the implementation of the EU Structural Instruments. The agreement is also based on the contract we signed as a beneficiary in June 2012 with the managing authority of OP Environment on “Support in the reform in WSS sector” - Priority Axis 1 of OP Environment “Improvement and development of water supply and waste water infrastructure”, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Dobromir Simidchiev said. He added: “The agreement is part of the envisioned in the contract 7 areas for reforms and sustainable development of WSS sector, including development of sector strategy and linked to it analyses, studies, and workshops. The agreement is for the total amount of 3,5 million BGN and will expire on August 14, 2014”.

Until 2013, Bulgaria has access to EU Structural and Cohesion Funds in the amount of roughly 7 Billion Euro. While Bulgaria has significantly increased EU Funds absorption over the last 12 months, the Government is eager to fully absorb all EU Funds by the end of the current Programming Period 2007-2013 and to get itself ready for the next period.

These service agreements are the first concrete steps in the implementation of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Bulgaria, endorsed by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank a year ago. The CPS commits knowledge support for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Bulgaria. 

Contacts:
Sofia: Ivelina Taushanova, (359 2) 9697 239, itaushanova@worldbank.org

 


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