Dear partners and guests,
Let me start by saying that for us in the World Bank it is a privilege to partner with Bulgaria in its drive to protect and preserve the country’s natural assets.
The quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of essential public service delivery, including improved water supply and sanitation networks, is an important focus area in the new World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework for Bulgaria. I am delighted to see the importance being accorded in this water security workshop.
The World Bank has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the Government of Bulgaria. Currently we support the sustainability of water resources through an ongoing lending operation and Knowledge and advisory services:
The World Bank-supported Municipal Infrastructure Development Project responds to the Government’s priorities to rehabilitate and complete construction of water supply and sewerage networks to improve service delivery and reduce health risks, as well as to upgrade wastewater treatment systems in line with EU directives. It has proven to be an effective tool for promoting regional integrated development.
Knowledge and advisory services are increasingly being provided through reimbursable advisory service (RAS) arrangements:
(i) The Water and Sanitation Strategy RAS supported the Ministry of Regional Development in their drafting of a 10-year WSS strategy. In April 2014, the Government adopted a new 10–year WSS strategy based on this work. Following that the Government requested additional implementation support under a new Water RAS, including support for strengthening the capacity of the water regulator and optimizing the cost of compliance with the urban waste water treatment directive.
(ii) The Hydro-melioration RAS provided support to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in developing a strategy for irrigation, drainage and flood protection in rural areas, including identification of priority investments and preparation of two flagship projects in the irrigation service areas.
With this workshop, we aim at bringing together all stakeholders to present the progress achieved so far together with the challenges and opportunities to move forward in relevant sectors in Bulgaria. Our goal is also to share international experience and offer the opportunity to exchange perspectives among experts and decision makers in Bulgaria.
The event will, therefore, provide the opportunity to learn and share, as many of the participants in this room will be in different roles – as listeners, but also as presenters. I would like to wish you every success and assume with pleasure the role of a listener for rest of the day.