The Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” (BSoP) has established itself as a leading organization for democracy strengthening during times of transition in the countries from the post-Soviet Union, the Balkans and North Africa. In pursuing its mission to create a community of political and civic leaders based on the values of pluralism, tolerance, human rights and informed debate, the BSoP has become a vehicle for transfer of expertise in the fields of leadership training of political, civic, business, media and professional leaders and institutional capacity building of organizations that run similar training programs.  The BSoP is actively involved with work on climate change, energy policy and the challenges they pose. The School is guided by the idea that the implementation of sustainable low carbon growth in the economies of Bulgaria, Europe and the world is one of the biggest challenges that humans face today. 

Projects with different target groups

We try to help with knowledge, information and expertise the legislators on both national and local levels, MPs, councilors, mayors, NGOs, media and businesses that are engaged with the topic. The School worked with the Bulgarian Parliament on the project Green Step Forward – towards New Commitment and Responsibility of Bulgarian Politicians to the Environment. The main objective of the project was to promote a change in existing paradigms of thinking and behavior of political parties and their representatives in Parliament who were responsible to provide strategic direction in the formulation of policies and legislation on climate change and energy efficiency that comply with fundamental principles of environmental protection.

Together with the media – our partners in the project Bulgarian Media in Support of Political Measures for Mitigating Climate Change we succeeded to persuade the Bulgarian society in the importance of climate change issues. A study was conducted at the end of the project. It examined the state of media in the country in terms of quality of coverage of climate change and tracking the expected change in their editorial policy as a result of the project. It examined and the awareness of the population on the topic. 

Organization of forums, round tables and discussions

We believe that an informed debate on the climate and energy issues, during which the voice of each participant is heard is the right way to find sustainable solutions to problems. During all of our events we aim at fostering a common understanding on energy-related policies between all stakeholders. Since 2010 we have organized many different events with different partners. We organized a conference Balkan Policies for “Green” Economic Growth. Its aim was to foster a common understanding on energy-related policies between the governments, energy companies, energy experts, investors, analysts and NGOs from all the countries of the Western Balkans, Bulgaria and Romania and to outline strategy for clean energy regional cooperation just before the Rio+20 conference. The Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” organized two conferences together with the German Embassy in Sofia (Economic Impact of Low Carbon Investment and Energy Efficiency Investment Mechanisms). The School, The British Embassy in Sofia and the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) organized a high-level round table and working sessions on “Long Term Investment Perspectives for Clean Energy in Bulgaria”. One of our last initiatives is the organization of public lectures with prominent experts in the climate and energy sphere. Prof. Christopher Field held a public lecture on the topic: “Risks from a Changing Climate – What to Expect?”.  Dr. Helge Jorgens presented on “The German Energy Model – a Possibility for Bulgaria“.

Development of strategies, research and analysis

We try to assist the legislative and executive powers in the process of development and implementation of long-term and sustainable policies and practices for low-carbon development.  For example in collaboration with the experts from the Sofia Municipality we developed a Low Carbon Energy Strategy of Sofia. The strategy combines in one document a wide range of policies and measures to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from the territory of Sofia Municipality. It will guide the city and national authorities, businesses and citizens through the way of achieving completely carbon neutral city by 2050. By developing the strategy Sofia ranks among the few cities in the world that consider a low-carbon energy strategy for each activity and policy. An expert group and participants in the National Program of the Bulgarian School of Politics developed a framework strategy for low carbon development of the Slatina municipality, Sofia. In collaboration with the Energy Management Institute we developed an analysis of existing European and international practices to assess the impact of information campaigns on energy efficiency.

The National Program “Governing Skills”

The National Program “Governing Skills” is targeted to young political and civic leaders from parliamentary represented political parties in Bulgaria, representatives of non-governmental organizations, central and local administrations and media. It is aimed at forming new European-type political and civil culture among young leaders and strengthening morale principles for their present and future development. Each year one of the topics in the Program is climate and energy. Moreover, the participants have to prepare a homework based on what they have heard during the sessions and additional research in that sphere.

Promotion of energy-saving measures among children and adults

Through the development of “green” information products we try to educate the citizens to protect the environment by changing their lifestyle and decreasing their carbon footprint. For example, the School developed two handbooks ordered by “CEZ Bulgaria” which is one of the electricity distribution companies in Bulgaria. The first of them contains advices on how to save energy in the households. It targets the end users of electricity. The second handbook aims to teach small kids some basic information about electricity. It is written like a poem and is accompanied by entertaining illustrations.