Local development in Bulgaria

August 27, 2021

The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) is actively making use of Norwegian experience in the area of local development in several cooperation projects across Europe. One of the countries currently benefiting from this experience is Bulgaria. Telemark Research Institute (TRI) is involved as a partner in the ongoing project in Bulgaria, “Grow through Activating Local Potential” (GALOP), which is financed by the EEA/Norway Grants. 

The project, managed by KS’ Bulgarian sister association, the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB), aims to help small- and medium-sized Bulgarian communities to sustainably achieve economic development based on their existing local resources. In order to accomplish this, NAMRB, KS and Telemark Research Institute are supporting and facilitating the elaboration of local development plans in 10 pilot communities, which will subsequently serve as models on a national basis. When the local development plans in each of the 10 pilots have been completed, a separate small-grants scheme will provide financing for the implementation of the selected parts of each plan.

In order to provide a reference point of relevant Norwegian experience in the field of local development, KS commissioned Telemark Research Institute to produce a report, in which best practices from 10 successful rural municipalities in Norway are described and analysed. The report presents the cases of Frøya, Aurland, Trysil, Åfjord, Vang, Lærdal, Træna, Gloppen, Røros and Inderøy, and was first presented as a draft by KS and Telemark Research Institute at NAMRB’s national convention in Sofia in December 2019. It was subsequently completed in the spring of 2020 and translated into Bulgarian, and is now actively used by NAMRB to inform their efforts to encourage local development in Bulgarian municipalities.

The complete report can be found here 

In 2021-2022, TRI will facilitate workshops among the Bulgarian municipalities enrolled in the programme. The workshops are arranged to make sure the projects are implemented as cooperations among the public, private and civil sectors.

Questions about TRI’s involvement in Bulgaria and the GALOP project can be directed to senior researcher Nanna Løkka.