The main ideas and novelties behind INNOAIR project were presented at the 7th edition of the European Congress of Local Authorities in Mikolajki, Poland, 11-12 April 2022.

The Congress represents a platform for exchange of views and for meetings of leaders of local and regional authorities from Poland with representatives of the state administration, NGOs, business and their partners from abroad.

Two of the partners under INNOAIR project were also among the invited participants to the event - Yana Docheva, Head of International Cooperation Department at NAMRB and Gergana Ugrinska, Head of International Activities Department at Urban Mobility Centre – Sofia.

In the framework of the session, focused on the topic of turning green investments into a benefit to all, Yana Docheva shared with the participants that Bulgaria and Poland face common challenges, priorities and goals in achieving environmental change, but have different starting points. Green transformations begins at the local level, local authorities know best the needs of the citizens, that is why municipalities should be the role model for carrying out the activities in implementing the upcoming changes. "We need to focus on what lies ahead for local authorities, because our energy and environmental transformation did not begin yesterday, but many years ago. Some municipalities are more advanced in implementing green ideas, others are just beginning. This highlights the differences in the problems we have to deal with" said Yana Docheva, emphasizing that if we want to achieve the expectations for climate neutrality and safe environment, we need mutual cooperation between citizens, business and the state.

Regarding the role of local authorities and businesses in finding environmental solutions, she presented the project "INNOAIR", implemented by Sofia Municipality in partnership with 2 universities, 2 NGOs, 2 companies and one national institute. With this innovative idea for green public transport on demand, the municipality aims to propose a qualitative change in the way mobility is organized in the capital city. Based on users’ requests submitted via an online application, an optimal route of transportation by electric buses is created, covering the maximum number of passengers. The innovation aims to improve accessibility and the cooperation with the business sector to develop and integrate the project, with the academia for data collection and analysis, as well as with the NGO sector to raise awareness and change consumer behaviour is the win-win combination for successful project implementation, shared with the participants Ms. Docheva.

This year the forum brought together more than 1,500 participants from local, regional and executive authorities from Poland, Bulgaria, Israel, Italy, Sweden, Finland, France, the Republic of Northern Macedonia and Albania. MPs, partner associations, associations and business representatives also took part.