Hosted by the Bulgarian Association of Municipal Environmental Experts, the SMART WASTE Final Conference gathered a significant audience to witness the recap of the project as it is coming to an end in July 2023. 

The last four years of the project, which was built around five European cities and regions resulted in 13 Good Practices which contributed to the INTERREG policy learning platform and in continuous capacity building and learning of the project partners involved.

Opened by Assya Dobrudjalieva on behalf of the hosts and Svetla Bozhkova, the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water’s director of the waste directorate, the event saw different sessions on efforts of cities and regions to improve their waste management practices and strategies as well as their aspirations for future steps. This Final Conference coincided with the Bulgarian Association of Municipal Environmental Experts’ General Assembly which took place just the day before. This allowed more than 50 Bulgarian municipalities to attend this high-level European event. To give this event a European context, Mariame Ammour of the Interreg Europe’s Joint Secretariat briefly reflected on INTERREG’s current objectives and support mechanisms for European regions. The Municipality of Sofia, Municipality of Burgas and Municipality of Gabrovo contributed to an inspiring morning session by presenting Bulgarian success stories of circular transition and green growth.

In return, the Bulgarian audience could get inspired by good practices in policy improvement from Klaipeda in Lithuania, the Italian Tuscany region, municipalities of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and Kolding in Denmark. The representatives of these five project partners participated in a storytelling panel which featured each partner’s testimonial on how interregional cooperation has helped them to improve their waste policies and what their journey looked like.

The afternoon session which saw interactive working groups on various topics allowed the audience to interact and debate topics such as technologies for waste collection and recycling, the role of local authorities in boosting the application of circular economy solutions, or funding, designing and monitoring innovative waste management measures. Some of these interactive debates ended with conclusions and common points which were worth sharing in the plenary for the end of the day.


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