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.



Sofia traditionally celebrates European Mobility Week. In 2023, the slogan of the campaign is: "Save energy". The aim is to promote the use of public transport, active mobility, the reduction of car dependence and the development of transport infrastructure for a just green transition.

On 22 September, in Europe's traditional Car-Free Day, part of the European Mobility Week campaign, we presented the AeroSolfd project, which develops new solutions for retrofitting confined spaces for cleaner air. Sofia is actively involved in the Aerosolfd project. A stop from the Sofia metro was selected to test innovative air purifiers, which are being developed within the project. The results of the operation of air filtration devices and the effect on dust pollution measurements from brake systems will be an important element of the development and rapid implementation of affordable solutions for retrofitting the urban environment.

AeroSolfd is co-funded by the European Union under Horizon Europe.


The project is funded under HORIZON Innovation Actions.



On September 18, 2023, the public discussion "The Next Generation of Sofia Citizens" was held at the American Center of Sofia Library, organized by Sofia Development Association, with the participation of representatives of various refugee communities, Sofia Municipality, the UNHCR, the Bulgarian Red Cross, NGOs and students from Sofia.

Our guests and speakers were Valentina Solodkaya, who fled the war in Ukraine to Sofia; Rodi Namo, who was also forced to leave his home in Syria because of the war in his homeland; Fay Eshkevari from Iran, a journalist and women's rights advocate; Eric David Holsey from the USA, who found his way to Bulgaria because of his love of history and has been talking about our country's past on his blog for almost ten years. Special guests were also the students from the National School of Finance and Economics in Sofia, who in June this year won a hackathon organized by Sofia Development Association and dedicated to the topic of inclusion and integration of refugees. Photographs taken by Alexander Aleksov from the same high school during their school campaign were exhibited in the library.

Discussion moderator Yuriy Valkovski prompted our guests to reflect on the questions what does it mean to be a Sofiyaner? Is it easy to love Sofia? Favourite and less favorite spots in the city? Of course, the city looks different in the eyes and hearts of each of the "new" Sofiyaners. For Fay Eshkeveri, the urban environment is both welcoming, but also in certain spaces limiting. Sofia's parks and the opportunity to interact with different people, have access to arts, sports and entertainment within walking distance is of utmost importance to Eric. Music and dance make Rodi Namo smile and are one of his ways of making new friends. The feeling of freedom and safety, of being able to go out on the street without fear, and the ease with which children make new friendships, make Valentina Solodka's life meaningful today.

There are challenges in the path of the new residents, it was made clear by Boris Cheshirkov (UNHCR). Challenges both in terms of the development of the city and the integration of refugees. Nevertheless, there is a growing network of people and organizations that partner to welcome and support refugees. Specifically, Sofia Municipality has created many new forms of support and opportunities for integration, one of which is the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals.

In the end, the participants in the discussion united around the idea of Sofia as an "open city", as Malina Edreva, chairperson of the Standing Committee on Education, Culture, Science and Cultural Diversity at the Sofia Municipal Council, aptly put it. A city in which we must continue to create conditions and opportunities for dialogue and exchange between different communities and different cultures, without fear and without prejudice.

The discussion "The Next Generation of Sofia Citizens" takes place in the framework of the project "Support for the Development of Integration Policies and Services for Refugees in Sofia," funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Bulgaria. We will have more discussions and meetings with people who have chosen Sofia and Bulgaria to be their home. To get involved, follow our posts on this website, on the SofiaLab website, and become part of the Viber group through which we share news and event invitations.

The project Support for the Development of Integration Policy Framework and Service Provision for Refugees in Sofia is supported by UNHCR – Bulgaria.









UNHCR visibility vertical Blue CMYK v2015SDA vertical combo color


Following three years of intensive work, co-creation events and cooperation with policy makers in four territories, the project RRI-LEADERS is coming to an end. The RRI-LEADERS final Policy Conference will bring together diverse participants from across Europe: project partners in ongoing or recently completed RRI-focused projects – RRI-LEADERS, RIPEET, WBC-INCO.NET, TetRRIS, TeRRItoria, ENTRANCES, stakeholders from the city of Sofia (Bulgaria), the region of Western Macedonia (Greece), the municipality of Thalwil (Switzerland), the city of Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain), RRI policy supporters, regional development agencies, business and industry associations, decision-makers in STI at different levels of governance (local, regional, national), as well as representatives of the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, the Committee of the Regions.

We invite partners and experts to join us in Brussels for the conference which will take place in the Committee of the Regions on 19 October 2023, from 9 am to 5 pm. Follow the link below to register for the event,

We look forward to meeting you there.


SofiaCoin Rewards the Most Active Participants in the European Mobility Week – “Save Energy"

Sofia Development Association encourages all citizens of Sofia to participate in this year's edition of the "European Mobility Week," which will take place from September 16th to September 22nd. Two of the most active users of the SofiaCoin app will have the opportunity to receive an award.

One of the ways each of us can contribute to energy conservation and environmental protection is by walking or cycling. This is where SofiaCoin comes in, the popular mobility app in the city.

The user who covers the longest distance on their bicycle during the "European Mobility Week" will receive a fantastic reward - a Scandinavian moss painting provided by MOSSaika. And the most active pedestrian will receive a gift card for Vuzrazhdane Theater, containing two tickets for a performance of your choice.

All participants registered in the app have an equal chance to win. Kilometers covered only during Mobility Week (September 16-22, 2023) are collected and calculated, so everyone has an equal chance to win, regardless of whether they have accumulated kilometers before this period!

This year, the city of Sofia will join the "European Mobility Week" initiative, which calls on citizens to engage in sustainable forms of transportation and efficient energy use. The culmination of the initiative is the Car-Free Day, celebrated on September 22nd.

European Mobility Week and the SofiaCoin initiative provide an excellent opportunity for Sofia's citizens to engage in a more sustainable way of life and support efforts to protect the environment. Sofia can become a cleaner, healthier, and more pleasant city for all of us, and everyone can contribute to this process. Don't forget to download SofiaCoin and participate in the competition for the most active pedestrian or cyclist during Mobility Week. Let's save energy together and make Sofia a cleaner and more sustainable place to live!

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. This is the first Bulgarian project selected for funding by UIA.



SDA’s partner, the Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR) celebrated its 10th anniversary with a 2-day conference in Pomorie on September 12 and 13, 2023. The conference brought together experts and practitioners on refugee and migration law to discuss current trends and ongoing problems for asylum seekers on the territory of Bulgaria. Various issues such as access to territory, asylum procedures, services to unaccompanied minors and other were deliberated by the conference participants. A representative of SDA also took part in the event, as many of the questions at hand are relevant to the work of the Bureau for Information and Services to third country nationals, coordinated by SDA in cooperation with local NGOs, including FAR.

The project Support for the Development of Integration Policy Framework and Service Provision for Refugees in Sofia is supported by UNHCR – Bulgaria.



 UNHCR visibility vertical Blue CMYK v2015  


Read the second newsletter of the RRI-LEADERS project. The new publication features contributions from the partner territories in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Switzerland, and offers insight into initiatives to improve policymaking through the integration of research and innovation approaches. The newsletter is dedicated to Sofia and the city’s ambition to to strengthen the role of research and innovation in policymaking, and, through dialogue and exchange with local and national stakeholders, to pursue strategic planning which is anticipatory, responsive, and inclusive.

2nd RRI-Leaders Newsletter

July 2023



 RRI Leaders is funded by Horizon2020.


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