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Study trip to Norway for exchange of know-how and integration of the Norwegian knowledge in the project implementation

06/10/2014
During the period of 02-08.06.2014 part of the Bulgarian project team had the opportunity to participate in a study visit to Norway for exchange of know-how and integration of the Norwegian knowledge into the project implementation.

The Norwegian Environmental Agency - a project partner of Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) in the “GIS” project, organized and hosted the study visit which resulted into a series of interesting and valuable meetings with useful insides and information.

The Bulgarian representatives visited the following institutions and NGOs based in Trondheim, Norway: Norwegian environmental agency – Miljødirektoratet, Norwegian Ornithological Society – member of Birdlife International, Norwegian society for the Conservation of Nature – member of Friends of the Earth International, Nature Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norwegian Biodiversity Information Center (NBID) and Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU).
 
The Bulgarian participants had the chance to get familiar with the different methods used in building and maintaining web-based platforms and presenting spatial data related to sustainable local and regional development to the general public. The visit in Norway enhanced the face to face consultations between project partners and made the communication and transfer of knowledge and methods more efficient and successful. The discussions provided space for the Bulgarian participants to get familiar with the Norwegian practices used and select good examples, which could be then transferred to Bulgaria and help for the successful integration of Norwegian experience into the project.
 
Special attention was put on the importance of sharing information between as many as possible stakeholders, governmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as the general public. The Norwegian experience clearly demonstrated to the Bulgarian participants that in today’s society advantage is given to those organizations which know how to process the information they have, share it and thus find partners and increase their own capacity and potential for development.
 
The Norwegian organizations presented various topics, related to creating web-based platforms, providing access not only to spatial data but also other data, which is relevant to environment protection, sustainable planning and use of natural resources. The focus was put on the way they are structured, as well as their maintenance. The Norwegian experts also presented their experience for overcoming challenges, related to providing public access to sensitive to the environment information, as well as the methods used to prevent harmful use of such information.
 
Special attention was put on the main types of information, related to nature conservation, the methods used to group that data and turning it into easily accessible data base, as well as flow of information between national institutions, NGOs and the general public. In addition, the compliance of the Norwegian information systems with the INSPIRE requirements, as well as with other standards for sharing information were also examined. Plus the responsibilities of the various institutions and the Norwegian model for providing public access to information, as well as the cooperation between those institutions in assuring improving this public access were also presented. Special attention was put on grouping the information and presenting the data-bases to the public in the most user friendly way possible for providing easy access while also fulfilling the needs of the general public.
 
The Bulgarian experts presented to their Norwegian colleagues the work of Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF), as well as its main goal and the expected results which will be achieved through the successful implementation of the project “Building Capacity of Non-governemental Organizations, Youth and Citizens for Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Strenghtenting the Monitoring Skills and Advocacy of Policies for Regional Sustainable Development”. In addition, the challenges related to building a system for providing spatial data to other NGOs, institutions and the general public were also discussed. The experience and knowledge of the Norwegian partners in the field were very valuable and helped in the process of generating good solutions and ideas, which could enhance the successful implementation of the project, such as including non-professionals in the process of information gathering and methods of implementing quality control of the information provided by citizens, which are not experts in the field of environment protection and sustainable regional development, property rights, as well as rights of use and licensed information. Meeting all those institutions and organization provided an opportunity for BFF experts to discuss further cooperation possibilities between them and their Norwegian colleagues.
 
The study visit for exchange of experience in Norway is part of the implementation of project ”Building Capacity of Non-governemental Organizations, Youth and Citizens for Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Strenghtenting the Monitoring Skills and Advocacy of Policies for Regional Sustainable Development” funded by the NGO Program in Bulgaria under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. More information about the program can be found on http://www.ngogrants.bg/

This document is created with the financial support of the NGO Program in Bulgaria under the Financial mechanism of the European Economic Area. The Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation bears the full responsibility for the content of the document and under no circumstances can be assumed that the content of the document reflects the official opinion of the Financial mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the NGO Program in Bulgaria.