SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.

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SDA Shares Good Practices for Integration of Third Country Nationals in the Labor Market

At the invitation of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SDA presented the activities of the Bureau for Information and Services to Third-Country Nationals at the final international conference of the ERIAS project held on 17.11.2021. The project, in which BCCI is a partner, is a joint initiative of 13 industrial chambers from 5 European countries and aims to improve the capacity of employers to hire migrants and refugees. In this regard, the joint initiative of Sofia Municipality, SDA, and the Bulgarian Red Cross to establish the Bureau for Information and Services to Third-Country Nationals (TCN) is an extremely important step in the process of consolidating the efforts of NGOs and local authorities in Sofia for the provision of information, consultation and training both to TCNs and to local employers. SDA's cooperation with BCCI has a long history; in 2020 BCCI became part of the local coalition for integration of TCNs into the labor market, created by SDA under the UnionMigrantNet project. In 2021 and 2022 SDA will continue its information campaign among employers within the UnionMigrantNet project, and through such collaborations we have the opportunity to reach a significant number of stakeholders at local and national level.

The UMN project is funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

   

 

 

The CONNECTION community of practice meets in Madrid

Representatives of 6 cities and the network EUROCITIES got together in Madrid on November 15-17, 2021, for the second workshop of the community of practice focusing on employment for migrants. Mardrid welcomed Tampere, Finland, Antwerp, Belgium, Sofia, Karditsa, Greece, and Brest, France, to get acquainted with their practices and engage in mutual learning with the support of Migration Work and the project lead partner EUROCITIES.

Project partners received direct impressions from the municipal/community lead integration and employment initiatives, as well as from the work of the regional employment agency and the various stakeholders.

Through action learning partners also assisted each other in refining their action plans for improving migrant employment perspectives.

In the framework of CONNECTION Sofia is piloting the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals that was open in September this year, as an innovative way to unite resources and information flow for the benefit of foreign-born citizens.

 

CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

The COMPAIR project was officially launched: A New Form of Citizen Science for Collaboratively Combating the Climate Change

Harnessing the potential of new digital technologies enables communities to work together to achieve clean air for all. Newly launched innovation initiative COMPAIR, led by Digitaal Vlaanderen, empowers people to become citizen scientists helping them explore what they can do personally to improve air quality and influence urban decision making.

In the beginning of this month the eyes of the world have been centered on Glasgow and the coming together of world leaders to set forth new plans to tackle climate change. Whilst the new targets and measures coming out of COP26 are laudable, it will take more than a gathering of politicians to limit global warming as temperatures rise, crops fail and natural disasters strike. Everyday people from doctors and nurses to teachers, lawyers, researchers, office workers, small business owners, students and the unemployed will also have to band together and help and lead the fight against climate change.

COMPAIR (Community Observation Measurement & Participation in AIR science), a new initiative launched this November, aims to do exactly that. The project will support citizens across Europe, including those with no science background, to use digital sensors to collect local climate data and help them analyse it to co-create new climate friendly behaviours and policies that address sustainability both at home and across the continent.

“The idea behind citizen science is to harness the power of collaborative volunteer research to explore or collect data sets that could not be collected by professional researchers alone” explained Lieven Raes, COMPAIR Project Coordinator from Digital Vlaanderen, at the project launch meeting in Ghent. “Together communities can build nuanced data sets at the micro-local level that will help everyone to understand detailed changes in air quality and hwillow community actions affect it.”

Starting in the cities of Athens, Berlin, Sofia, Plovdiv and the region of Flanders, COMPAIR empower people to design and run air quality experiments around local issues. Easy to use air sensors, both fixed and mobile, will help them capture high quality data that can be used by themselves and by city administrations for research and policy making. New technologies including digital twins and virtual reality apps will make the data visible, understandable and actionable by the citizen on a personal level. This combination of citizen generated data with new technologies will help ensure people can react in real-time to air quality issues, whilst contributing to more evidence-based and sustainable urban policy.

Susie Ruston McAleer, communications lead for COMPAIR, said “it’s critical that climate actions and policy are meaningful and connected to people's lives in their community. They know better than anyone what the problems are in their neighbourhoods, so are best placed to help find solutions to local issues. We want to show people that science and technology can be accessible and fun and that everyone has the capacity to improve the quality of their environment. Every action, no matter how small, scales up to make a big difference to our cities, countries and our planet”.

Sofia Development Association through the Sofia Green team is part of the Consortium of 15 organisations from 6 different European countries, including the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), part of the COMPAIR project that brings together the advanced technical, research and engagement skills needed to improve the quality of citizen science outputs and mainstream it as a valuable resource for urban decision making.

Caption: COMPAIR Pan-European Project Team. Photo courtesy of www.wecompair.eu

COMPAIR is open to anyone interested in improving air quality to help mitigate climate change. Selected participants in the pilot cities - Athens, Berlin, Sofia, Plovdiv and the region of Flanders - get a free digital sensor, citizen science guidance and an online dashboard to visualise their activity. Register your interest at www.wecompair.eu

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Additional Information about the Project

COMPAIR is an Innovation project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101036563.

COMPAIR will run for 3 years, starting in November 2021, working with local authorities and citizens to run citizen science experiments to supplement gaps in official air quality data to (a) co-create more effective social actions and (b) influence city policy. Together these actions will contribute towards healthier and greener cities for all.

Consisting of 15 organisations from 6 different European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, and The Netherlands, the initiative is led by Digitaal Vlaanderen.

COMPAIR will explore how citizen science, if well organized, can contribute to the many elements needed to realize efficient and effective environmental change, such as the availability of reliable data; personal and societal involvement and awareness; open and participation.

SDA supports young innovators for climate change mitigation

On November 10, 2021, within the annual program of the Regional Hub Management & Network Development Bulgaria, coordinated by Cleantech Bulgaria, in which Sofia Development Association and the coordinator of Sofia's candidacy for the Green Capital of Europe - Green Sofia, are members, was held an online meeting with participants from the Young Innovators program of Cleantech Bulgaria. The young people took an active part in the meeting and discussed the challenges facing the city in its aspiration to become the Green Capital of Europe. The objectives of this prestigious European award are fully in line with the priorities of EIT Cleantech for public engagement and raising awareness of the importance to tackle climate change issues at local, national, and EU level.

The RIS Hub Management & Network Development Bulgaria project is supported by EIT Climate-KIC.

 

INNOAIR - part of a round table on "Climate change and public health"

INNOAIR is a good example of measures that are created through cooperation between public authorities and scientific organizations and improve the living environment. The results of such partnerships were an important part of the discussion at the Round Table "Climate Change and Public Health" held on 9 November 2021.

In this regard, the INNOAIR project was presented as a prime example of the successful transfer of scientific knowledge and technological innovations in the public services realm, and the transition to smart mobility in order to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality. The round table, organized by the National Center for Public Health and Analysis (NCPHA), included the Sofia Development Association (SDA) and Cleantech - Bulgaria as well as representatives of the WHO Regional Office, BRC, BAS, Air and Health Association.

SDA, Cleantech and NCPHA are part of a regional hub supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT Climate-KIC. Together, we are taking small steps towards the big goal: reducing the risks of climate change and managing health and clean environment resources more efficiently.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.

   

6 places in Sofia with vertical urban agriculture, thanks to the CityZen project

Urban agriculture is crucial for our sustainable future and it is becoming more and more accessible. Thanks to the CityZen project, now 6 different locations in Sofia have vertical gardens designed by the citizens, and are engaged in urban agriculture!


The vertical gardens were made within 2 design seminars and installed in different locations, including a residential building in Iztok neighbourhood, Sofia Municipality, SofiaTechPark, the supermarket of the Central Cooperative Union, a branch of the Sofia City Library and SofiaLab. Along with the specially designed vertical gardens, the teams of volunteers got everything they needed - pots and boxes, soil, compost, drainage and seedlings. The most important task for the users remains - to take care of the plants. Growing them will enrich their table and will create not only a pleasant atmosphere, but also a cohesive community.

Special thanks to the Khan Bogrov Biological Waste Treatment Plant, which provided compost for the vertical gardens! Thank you all who joined the initiative and continue to support it!

The Sofia Development Association will follow the first harvest of vertical gardens, as well as the effect of urban agriculture on people and places over the next few months. We wish success to the users and we hope that the effect will be completely positive!

The CityZen project is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

         

       

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