Habitat for Humanity pledges access to resilient housing solutions ahead of the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in Paris


PARIS (March 6, 2024) — Today, in recognition of housing’s critical role in climate mitigation and adaptation, Habitat for Humanity has made specific programmatic commitments toward accelerating low-income families’ access to low-carbon, resilient housing solutions. Furthermore, through its Home Equals campaign, Habitat for Humanity is calling on governments at all levels to prioritize locally led adaptation actions that directly address the needs of the most vulnerable communities, in particular people living in informal settlements, while also pursing mitigation efforts that are affordable and accessible to all.

The buildings and construction sector is currently responsible for 37% of global CO2 emissions. Not only are low-income families and residents of informal settlements uniquely vulnerable to the ongoing and increasingly severe impacts of climate change, but also the ability to meet global climate targets depends on successful decarbonization of this sector.

“Global leaders are leaving the most vulnerable communities behind by underinvesting in climate adaptation solutions and failing to mobilize mitigation investment from the private sector,” said Roland Pearson, vice president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity International’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, low-carbon investments in emerging markets must reach US$2 trillion annually by 2030 – a five-fold increase from 2020 – with 80% of these investments coming from the private sector. We must prioritize equitable housing solutions in these investments.”

From March 7-8, the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in Paris will, for the first time, gather ministers and high-level representatives of key organizations to focus on decarbonizing the built environment, following the Conference of the Parties 28, or COP28. In the joint declaration developed at the Forum, Habitat for Humanity urges member states to promote:

    • Adaptation measures through housing for the most vulnerable, prioritizing locally led adaptation actions that directly address the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
    • Mitigation solutions in the housing sector that are affordable and accessible for families, particularly in rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.
    • Housing and urban settlement transformation as a means of achieving inclusive climate action and resilience for, by and with vulnerable communities.

Habitat for Humanity joins fellow built environment sector stakeholders in making specific commitments to support the Forum’s ambition of a decarbonized construction future, including:

  • Enabling 300,000 households to secure financing to make climate-resilient and energy-efficient home improvements by 2035. Habitat for Humanity has over 15 years of experience working with financial service providers, or FSPs, to develop and deliver affordable housing finance products for families, and specifically for women, who often do not qualify for traditional loans and mortgages. Building on the success of its MicroBuild Fund, and working through FSPs, Habitat will dedicate at least 50% of new investment capital to climate-focused financial products and servicesspecifically loans for families to improve the resilience and energy efficiency of their homes, as well as to loans for small and growing businesses advancing resilience and decarbonization in the housing sector.
  • Tripling the number of housing-focused climate tech enterprises in our portfolio. Habitat for Humanity will invest capital and technical assistance in at least 100 startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises focused on climate action in the housing sector. Habitat for Humanity will make climate a core pillar of its investment strategy as the organization looks to significantly expand its Shelter Venture Fund, and will prioritize investments in products and services that take an integrated approach to addressing both the climate and housing crises.
  • Advancing policy changes to ensure 15 million people living in slums and other informal settlements have more equitable access to adequate housing. The overcrowding, housing quality and tenure insecurity that characterize informal settlements inherently make residents of informal settlements more vulnerable to disasters brought on by climate change, particularly floods, landslides and excessive heat. Adequate housing is resilient housing. Through its global advocacy campaign, Home Equals, Habitat will work across more than 40 countries to drive policy changes at local, national and global levels towards realizing the right to adequate housing for all.

These commitments build on Habitat’s longstanding efforts to promote safe, affordable and future-proof housing around the world – including the Residential Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Households project – as well as new research from Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter (PDF) analyzing how impact investors can leverage the dependencies between climate and housing targets to maximize impact.

Projections indicate that the world’s building stock will double by 2060, with almost 70% of the world’s population likely living in urban areas. Already, 2.8 billion people lack adequate shelter. Acting on every chance to create green, sustainable and circular economies in the built environment will be the only successful way to achieve global climate targets as we build for our collective future.

Resource: https://www.habitat.org/newsroom/2024/habitat-humanity-pledges-access-resilient-housing-solutions-ahead-buildings-and 

Advancing Renewable Energy Adoption in Residential Buildings


European Climate Initiative (EUKI) Project SUNRISE Partners Convene in Berlin to Advance Plug-in PV Systems Initiatives in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Lithuania

BERLIN – [October 10-11, 2023] – In the pursuit of sustainable living, the partners of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) Project SUNRISE recently gathered in Berlin for a collaborative meeting aimed at discussing project progress, planning future steps, and engaging in a workshop organized by the Initiative SoLocal Energy from Kassel (GER). The workshop was dedicated to exploring every aspect of Plug-in PV systems technology, leaving no stone unturned in the quest for sustainable energy solutions.

In an increasingly eco-conscious world, the SUNRISE project is taking a step forward in the journey toward a sustainable future. Led by the Initiative for Housing in Eastern Europe (IWO) and supported by partners from Habitat Bulgaria, Lithuanian Consumers Alliance (LCA), Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), German Solar Energy Company (DGS), and Habitat Macedonia, the project focuses on increasing the use of renewable energy in the residential sector through a PROSUMER approach – empowering individual homeowners or tenants to become both energy producers and consumers.

In the heart of the project lies the ambition to promote Plug-in PV systems technology through pilot projects in the target countries of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Lithuania. In these nations, small-scale investments in Plug-in PV systems offer an accessible and cost-effective alternative to large, expensive energy efficiency measures for buildings. These initiatives empower residents and property owners to actively contribute to climate protection while lightening the burden on their wallets, addressing the issue of energy poverty in the process.

During the workshop the project partners have encountered unique challenges in their respective countries, including varying technical requirements and conditions. For instance, differences in electricity meters that count energy fed into the grid as consumption pose a hurdle. Despite these challenges, the partners received valuable demonstrations on various technical aspects, from electrical configurations to balcony mounting options. Gratitude was expressed to Arvid Jasper for his enlightening explanations, guiding the partners through these complexities.

During a site visit to the ufaFabrik, the partners explored additional avenues for sustainable urban development, including rooftop solar systems, green roofs, green facades, and rainwater harvesting (RWH). Marco Schmidt, a dedicated pioneer from the Technical University of Berlin, shared insights into the site’s evolution and showcased the impact of these initiatives through compelling statistics and figures. Standing amidst green rooftops and solar panels, the partners experienced firsthand the transformative potential of such areas, recognizing their vital role in enhancing urban life and elevating quality of life in cities.

For more information about the SUNRISE Project, please visithttp://www.sunriseproject.hfh.bg/en/

About EUKI:
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Municipalities Own Just 0.8% of Bulgaria’s Housing Stock


The 32,225 municipal-owned dwellings in Bulgaria represent 0.8% of the national housing stock, and they accommodate 82,240 people or 1.2% of the total population. There are as few as 899 social housing units, located in the territory of 25 municipalities and implemented under Operational Programme Regional Development 2007-2013 and Regions in Growth 2014-2020, Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works found in a joint survey of the condition and management of the municipal housing stock, the NGO said on Friday.

Bulgaria lacks an up-to-date national housing strategy and uniform legislation regulating housing accommodation, Habitat pointed out.

The only option available to households in need of housing is to be accommodated in a municipal-owned dwelling under municipal ordinances provided for by the Municipal Property Act. Municipalities provide housing at rents that are a tenth or less than the market rates, and the revenue generated cannot pay for the renovation of the available housing fund and its enlargement. The local authorities, however, are not compensated by central government for providing this service of general economic interest, the organization said.

The survey regarding the quality of the municipal housing accommodation services, conducted online between October and December 2022, covered all 265 municipalities in Bulgaria and the 24 constituent boroughs of Sofia Municipality.

The survey found that 216 municipalities manage a municipal housing stock and 49 do not own any residential property. Of the municipalities with housing stock of their own, 85 of 32% own fewer than 10 municipal dwelling. Sofia Municipality accounts for the largest number of municipal dwellings: 8,917 or 27.7% of the total. As many as 97% of municipal housing in the country are occupied, and there is a 10,085-long-waiting list in 130 municipalities. According to those polled, just 14% of council housing were in excellent condition, nearly 50% were in bad condition, 9% were uninhabitable, and 33% were in need of minor repairs.

Recommendations for improvement of the management of the municipal housing stock were developed on the basis of the analysis of the survey results.

Resource Bulgarian News Agency: Municipalities Own Just 0.8% of Bulgaria’s Housing Stock
Author: Roumen Yanovski


Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria launches Home Equals campaign in support of people living in informal settlements around the world


Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria and our partners around the world today launched a five-year campaign, called Home Equals, seeking policy changes at the local, national and global levels to increase access to adequate housing for people living in informal settlements.

As part of the Home Equals campaign, Habitat Bulgaria is advocating for informal settlement upgrading and providing basic infrastructure and services at the community level. According to NSI data from “Census 2021” – 266 720, or 4.4% of the respondents, identified themselves as Roma, a large part of whom live in illegal housing.

“Residents of informal settlements are playing an incredibly important role as they find housing solutions for themselves,” said Mincho Benov, national director of Habitat Bulgaria. “The right policies can remove barriers, accelerate these efforts, and open the door to a better future for many more people who deserve an opportunity to live in a safe, secure home.”

At the global level, Habitat for Humanity is calling on G7 member states — set to meet this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan — to recognize equitable access to housing as a critical lever for development progress and commit to addressing housing needs in informal settlements as a way to advance international development priorities in areas such as economic growth, health and education.

The economic and human development gains from improving housing at a massive scale in informal settlements would be substantial, according to a report released today in support of the Home Equals campaign. The first-of-its-kind report from Habitat for Humanity and its research partner, the International Institute for Environment and Development, or IIED, modeled the benefits that would be realized – in terms of economic growth, income, health, and education — from those housing improvements.

The report found that GDP and income per capita would increase by as much as 10.5% in some countries and that roughly 730,000 lives could be saved each year globally — more than the number of deaths that would be prevented annually by eradicating malaria. As many as 41.6 million additional children would be enrolled in school, according to the modeling. That’s one out of every six out-of-school children in the world.

“This report adds to the evidence that ensuring people living in informal settlements have access to adequate housing isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do,” said Jonathan Reckford, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Through the Home Equals campaign, we and our partners are committed to taking action so that, when it comes to the places we call home, the more than 1 billion people living in informal settlements are truly treated as equals.”

Learn more: https://www.habitat.org/home-equals
Glossary of Terms: Home Equals

Mincho Benov, Habitat Bulgaria, to 3eNews: A more radical solution is one-time assistance for energy renovation of the home


These can be vulnerable households, for example large families, single mothers, people with disabilities, commented the director of Habitat Bulgaria.
Author and photo credit: Raya Lecheva

We talk about the new energy efficiency programs under the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability with Mincho Benov, National Director of Habitat Bulgaria since January 2011. What are the alternative financial instruments to stimulate people to co-finance the energy renovation of the home. According to a more radical solution, it is one-time assistance for vulnerable households, for example large families, single mothers, disabled people. Then such households will become the engine of the process, knowing that they will receive this money, they themselves will demand that a decision be made and renovation measures be taken, he believes.

What are the highlights:

• Sanctions are being considered for owners who do not renovate their homes. The Directive on minimum energy standards for buildings is expected to be adopted very soon, and we will see how the renovation measures will go from being recommended to being mandatory.

• We cannot expect that out of 66,000 buildings by renovating 3,000 we will achieve huge savings.

• In fact, one-stop services will enable better coordination.

• Let’s make, as in Slovakia, a fan of different financial instruments from which a person can choose from the point of view of social status. Over 90% of multi-family buildings in Slovakia have been renovated, and in Bratislava over 97% with 30% self-contribution.

• A long-term renewal strategy and clear planning over the years is needed.

Mincho Benov has worked in the field of the capital market, financial sector and international development as deputy executive director of the Sofia Stock Exchange AD, director of “Financial Sector and Capital Market” in the American consortium FLAG, managing partner of investment and consulting companies. Mincho Benov has implemented projects in Bulgaria for the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In the period 2005-2009, Mincho Benov worked on a project for crediting residential energy efficiency in Bulgaria, financed by an EBRD credit line in the amount of 50 million euros and secured by a grant component of 10 million euros from the International Fund ” Kozluduy” and implemented with the participation of six leading Bulgarian commercial banks. Mincho Benov has consulted and managed a number of investment projects and projects financed by EU pre-accession and structural funds. National Director of Habitat Bulgaria since 2011.

Mr. Benov, in a few days the admissions for the rehabilitation program under the Recovery Plan will begin, the funds will not reach everyone, is a working financial mechanism possible?

We now know that the funds will not be enough. In the previous national program, more than 2,200 buildings were renovated with BGN 2 billion. In 2017-2018, the prices of construction materials were significantly lower. Now, with BGN 1.4 billion, we can expect about 1,000-1,100 buildings to be renovated at most. Against the background of needs, this is a drop in the ocean. In multi-family buildings alone, there are more than 60,000 buildings in need of renovation. But not a single penny has been earmarked for the renovation of single-family buildings, which account for half of the country’s housing stock. The general estimate is that 93% of the building stock is energy inefficient. If we want to solve the problem completely, we are talking about a huge need that cannot be met with this approach to financing – 100% grants for everyone. It’s unrealistic, there’s nowhere that much money is going to come from.

And that’s not the only problem. This approach greatly distorts the market. Improving the energy performance of buildings across Europe, including Eastern Europe, is a sustainable business model involving different parties with different interests. These are the financial sector, which ensures the participation of the owners, offers products under various programs, the construction companies that are in a competitive environment with each other, companies that work on the save and pay model – ESCO model. While here, grant funding 100% a priori excludes the financial sector.

Would we have achieved any results if there was no grant funding, would people have taken advantage of these financial instruments?

I just want to clarify that these funds were not under a European program. They were a national resource that you and I paid for with our taxes. Given that this public resource is being used for private interest, because all rehabilitated housing is privately owned property, the approach should have been completely different.

A greater depth of remediation than Class C should have been required first, which we will now have to upgrade.

Second, self-participation had to be required so that owners would have a commitment, including to maintenance afterwards. It could be that the depth of remediation was tied to the amount of self-contribution if, for example, we took action to achieve Class A we would receive a larger grant, if we worked simply to reach Class C, which is already considered low in terms of building performance, we would receive lower grant.

The way in which the program was actually implemented demotivated the construction companies that participated, because the decisions about who would participate were centralized at the level of municipalities, where the procedures under the PPA were carried out. The owners of these homes were also excluded from the process, as the principle was that “the teeth of a gifted horse shouldn’t be looked at”. They were excluded from carrying out control, from the selection of contractors, including performance control.

The municipalities said on the condition that we pay for everything, we will make the control and supervision decisions. You just give us access to the housing – period. And could it have happened any other way? I will give you an example with Slovakia, with which we can easily compare.

Since joining the EU, Slovakia has developed various programs for renovation of the housing stock, for single-family and multi-family buildings, with a larger or smaller grant. Keep in mind that there the largest grant was 30%, let alone 50 or even 100%.

Along with this, they also developed the relevant financial instruments to support households that cannot secure their deductible because there were such. Here, the moment a co-payment is requested, it will become clear that in every building there are households that cannot provide even a 10% co-payment. Financial instruments were created in Slovakia, such as interest-free loans from banks, grants from a state fund that supported and continues to financially support all programs. Every five years, the performance of the various programs is evaluated, and new components are added. The result as of last year was that over 90% of multi-family buildings in Slovakia were renovated, and in Bratislava over 97%. This is happening in Poland, in the Czech Republic, everywhere where there were similar problems.

With us, 20% deductible is foreseen in the second stage of the program from 2023? What are the financial instruments to include to make it clear to people?

With us, the biggest problem is that these things, to the extent that they are done at all, are small in scale.

Since the energy efficiency of residential buildings began to be discussed at all in 2005, a UNDP demonstration project was launched, which had to demonstratively renovate 50 buildings with a 50% co-payment requirement.

Also in 2005, a program for residential energy efficiency was launched, which was based on a credit line of 50 million euros from the EBRD. Through loans from 6 commercial banks, he gave loans for the implementation of certain activities, returning 20% ​​of the loan in the form of a grant. They weren’t even interest free. I started and ran the program until 2009 and 33,000 homes were renovated to some extent. People have taken to replacing insulation, roofs, walls, buying heat pumps. It wasn’t a complete overhaul, and that was the problem with this program. The quality of the performed activities was strictly monitored, but the main goal was to absorb a resource. The activities were carried out individually by a household in their own dwelling and that is why there are these patches on the facades today. This was a vice of the program, since such activities are undertaken for the entire building, the effect is incomparably greater.

Apart from these two projects, nothing else happened before the national program started. There was an attempt with European funding and a 75% grant to do something, but very little was done. Then the national program happened. It was not a well-structured campaign without prioritizing buildings of people with lower incomes or buildings in worse condition. Nobody asked these questions. The centralization of all activities in the municipalities, and everyone else standing aside, crippled the program.

Resource 3eNews: Mincho Benov, Habitat Bulgaria, to 3eNews: A more radical solution is one-time assistance for energy renovation of the home

Habitat for Humanity at COP27: Adequate and affordable housing central to achieving mitigation and adaptation goals


Sharm el-Sheikh (November 7, 2022) — Habitat for Humanity International is calling on delegates at the COP27 climate change conference to prioritize adequate and affordable housing, particularly for the most vulnerable people, to achieve a net-zero future for carbon emissions and meet the adaptation needs of human settlements.

“The global community needs to put people most affected by climate change at the center of our interventions”, said Patrick Canagasingham, chief operating officer at Habitat for Humanity International. “Housing and climate change are inextricably linked. Failing to establish integrated policies and systems risks the health and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

The 27th Conference of the Parties meeting, or COP27, is the latest in a series of UN climate change conferences and marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It opened Sunday and runs through Nov. 19 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Photo credit: https://www.habitat.org/emea

Habitat, an official participant at COP27, released a list of policy priorities and recommendations for the conference, urging UN agencies, multilateral financing institutions, governments and stakeholders to incorporate adequate and affordable housing into future responses to climate action, both when it comes to mitigation and adaptation efforts.

“While we recognize the urgency to meaningfully address mitigation needs globally, we must not forget about the growing housing gap for millions of people around the world,” Canagasingham said. “According to the United Nations, 3 billion people will need access to adequate housing by 2030. We need to ensure that our mitigation efforts do not drive up costs for households, further worsening the global deficit of adequate and affordable housing.”

Many of those who cannot afford a decent place to live are more vulnerable to the effects of climate-related events because of their housing situation. Habitat is calling on leaders gathering at COP27 to guarantee that adaptation funds and plans address housing and its supporting infrastructure, ensuring that communities at greatest risk of flood, heat and rising seas can withstand the impacts of such disasters.

Suffering damage to one’s home – or losing it altogether – has economic, social, health and livelihood impacts that result in long recovery times and frequent displacement, which makes such losses one of the greatest destabilizing factors from increasingly severe climate events. Robust commitments to confront this “loss and damage” as a matter of climate justice, must be an outcome at COP27, Canagasingham said.

Habitat has dozens of projects around the world that involve climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, such as building climate-resilient homes in Sri Lanka and tackling energy inefficiency in Eastern Europe through renovations, upgrading and retrofitting of multi-apartment buildings. In recent years, Habitat has increasingly worked with families and communities to recover and rebuild their homes to be resilient to natural disasters, e.g., the bushfires in Australia and the United States; typhoons in Southeast Asia; floods in South Asia; and hurricanes in the Americas.

By ensuring empowered participation of all affected communities in developing mitigation and adaptation plans, Habitat is spreading awareness and consolidating green concepts, showing their importance, and helping leaders understand the scope of impact on societal health, economy, and environmental wellbeing in the short- and long-term.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand partner up with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

WWF, Habitat for Humanity and partners held a conference on forest biomass


The event brought together scientists, experts, politicians and environmentalists.

The way we produce and consume our energy today poses a number of risks. Air pollution takes more and more victims every year. The energy poverty in the region is growing, hence there is a risk of increasing the unsustainable use of forest wood for heating. However, additional pressure on forests would mean another severe blow to biodiversity. To prevent the risks associated with the increased use of forest biomass for energy purposes, WWF, Habitat for Humanity and partners are working to limit its additional demand and to supply alternatives.
Photo: © WWF Bulgaria

In this regard, the WWF offices in Central and Eastern Europe together with Habitat for Humanity in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, the Regional Center for Energy Policy Research (REKK) and the Energy Agency – Plovdiv held a regional conference dedicated to “Biomass and a just transition”. The event took part in Sofia, Bulgaria and focused on forest biomass policies and their use for energy in the European Union and in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. It provided an opportunity for exchange of experience, discussions and awareness raising on a topic that is still a little known in our country.

The conference was attended by politicians, experts and scientists from Bulgaria and the region, as well as representatives of the non-governmental and public sectors. The event was personally opened by Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov.

“If we do not have a certification on the wood, it means that we are burning some bad quality wood with more humidity. Which means air pollution for the citizens. Today the statistic is dramatic, especially for Bulgaria, especially for Sofia. Thousands of people are dying on earlier phase of life, because of the air pollution. Even the governments are ambitious enough, if the non-governmental sector, the business and the citizens do not change their everyday activities and livelihood, we cannot achieve the targets”,said Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov.

The participants reviewed the criteria for the sustainability of biomass and gave their recommendations for its effective utilization in the member states. The conference also focused on the practical dimensions of the use of biomass for energy purposes. Special attention was paid to an important problem that is becoming increasingly worrying in the region – the energy poverty.

WWF experts shared the results of a survey conducted among households heating with wood. It aimed to establish living conditions, energy investments, the degree of dependence on firewood, as well as the possibility of heating their homes.

“Unfortunately, energy poverty is a reality here, and the most vulnerable households, especially those outside the heating cities, rely on solid fuel and biomass, burned with inefficient appliances in unrenovated homes. At WWF, we believe that in addition to energy aid, long-term measures are needed for a real and ecologically sustainable energy transition, which would allow households to receive affordable green energy and at the same time save the forests. We hope that in the near future there will be political will and institutional support for these decisions”, commented Diana Dimitrova, conservation director of WWF Bulgaria.

The survey also shows that 38% of Bulgarian households have at least one room in their home that they do not use due to inability to heat. About half of these households have invested in wall and window insulation, and see electricity as a possible alternative to firewood. On average, households in Bulgaria buy 12 m3 of wood per season, which costs them about 900 leva. 46% of the surveyed households understand that the pollution of the environment by burning wood is a serious problem, but they find it the cheapest way to heat.

On the second day of the conference, Mincho Benov, National Director of Habitat Bulgaria, presented ways to support municipalities to alleviate the dependence on the use of firewood among the low-income local communities.

See the in-person conference program here: “Biomass and a just transition”


The conference is organized within the BioScreen CEE and LIFE Bio-Balance projects.

“Biomass and just energy transition” conference


“Biomass and just energy transition” is the central theme of the regional conference, organised by the environmental organisation WWF CEE in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

Join us online via Zoom here: https://bit.ly/3nmjlwy, password: 828072.

6 July 09:30 – 16:30
7 July 10:00 – 13:00

Experts from all across Europe will look at the climate and forest implications of this ineffective practice. Energy alternatives that do not have a negative impact on the environment will also be discussed.

In several panels specialists from different countries will consider the political context of the problem with biomass and the possibilities for its sustainable use. Meanwhile they will search for a solution in alternative energy sources.

Photo: WWF Bulgaria

For additional information, view the full conference program here: “Biomass and just energy transition”


The conference is organized within the BioScreen CEE and LIFE Bio-Balance projects.

Video of the conference „Policies for improvement of the housing conditions of vulnerable groups on municipal and natiоnal level“


On April 14th, 2022 Habitat Bulgaria hosted the conference „Policies for improvement of the housing conditions of vulnerable groups on municipal and natiоnal level“.

The agenda covered housing related issues on local, national and global level. Habitat Bulgaria raised pressing issues like the fact that Bulgaria still hasn’t adopted a National Housing Strategy, and that there is no unified legislation for the regulation of the public provision of housing. The event took place both in-person at Grand Hotel Astoria, Sofia and online. A total of almost 120 participants joined, amongst them representatives of 4 state institutions, 20 municipal administrations, 24 non-governmental organizations, 3 universities and 8 media.

Opening words gave the deputy-minister at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW), arch. Stefan Asparuhov, the secretary of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnics and Integration Issues, Rositsa Ivanova, and Mincho Benov, director of Habitat Bulgaria. Some of the key participants were: arch. Dima Lekova – Acting Director of the Housing Policy Directorate of the MRDPW, Vessela Zvezdanova – Head of the “Strategies and Programs” Department of the MRDPW, eng. Plamen Petrov – expert at the MRDPW, Stefan Radev – Mayor of Sliven Municipality, as well as representatives of a number of municipalities and non-governmental organizations.

Based on the recommendations for improvement of the local housing policies, good practices from other countries with similar profile and strategic directions on European and global level, Habitat Bulgaria presented its recommendations for the national housing policy and regulations. The conference participants agreed upon the idea that, in the first place, it is necessary to adopt a long-term national housing strategy with a horizon up to 2050, with clear vision, priorities and measurable targets set in it, in order to ensure access to quality housing for all. With regard to the Social Services Law, it is important the Bulgarian Government to agree upon establishing of a new service of general economic interest i.e. social housing, for the provision of which the municipalities shall receive compensation from the state.

Watch the full video of the conference herе:

The project „Research Based Arguments for New Housing Policies in Benefit of All” is implemented with financial support of 93,000 Euro, secured by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway within the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The main goal of the project is to contribute to the development of long-term, needs-driven municipal and national housing policies, which will secure safe and adequate housing for Roma.

This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The entire responsibility for the content of the document lies with the Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria Foundation and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria Operator.


Housing without a future?


Has the housing stock in Bulgaria been managed properly? Who should support it?

A national housing strategy for 2018-2030 was drafted in 2018, but it has not yet been adopted.

Learn more about Habitat Bulgaria’s recommendations for improving the local housing policies and practices in the video below.

Habitat Bulgaria is implementing the project „Research Based Arguments for New Housing Policies in Benefit of All” in the period from October, 2019 to April, 2022. The project has been funded within the first call for strategic projects of Active Citizen Fund Bulgaria with the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.