site.btaBulgarian Entrepreneurs Present Innovative Solutions against Climate Risks at COP28
Challenges to social and health systems posed by climate change and their possible solutions, developed by innovative Bulgarian companies, were presented at a panel in the Bulgarian pavilion at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), which is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, between November 30 and December 12. Innovation and Growth Minister Milena Stoycheva and Labour and Social Policy Minister Ivanka Shalapatova opened the event, outlining the efforts of Bulgarian authorities to adapt to the problems that climate change brings to society and institutions in the country.
Stoycheva underlined that Bulgaria has its own delegation at COP 28 for the first time, consisting of innovators from different sectors - representatives of the state authorities, universities, research centrеs, startups, large companies, which itself is an innovative course of action.
"There can be no real innovation without a sustainable business model and thinking about the future and the impact our actions have, without making sustainability central to our policies and thinking about climate neutrality and energy efficiency in every sector. The Innovation and Growth Ministry chooses to support activities that will help our economy be more sustainable, green and environmentally friendly, as well as being socially just. We strive to create intergenerational equity and justice with our economic activity. We believe that healthcare is one of those vital sectors where great change can be achieved through innovation," Stoycheva said.
Shalapatova stressed that this event coincides with the International Day of Disabled Persons, which is a good opportunity to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the lives and quality of life of people in vulnerable situations. "Every day we confront the effects of climate change, which affect different social groups unequally, with the most vulnerable being the ones who are hit hardest. There are many challenges that our social system faces as it tries to adapt to the new climate reality," the Minister said.
Attending the event, Eleni Myrivili, United Nations Human Settlements Programme's Chief Heat Officer, drew attention to the danger that heatwaves caused by climate change pose to human health. In 2023, multiple temperature records were set and heatwaves became the "number one killer" in Europe, she emphasized, adding that according to recent data there have been over 60,000 deaths due to these heatwaves. Again, it is in this respect that the most vulnerable groups are most at risk, she warned. Myrivili said that there is a need to increase awareness of the symptoms and necessary actions in case of heat stroke.
Entrepreneur Denis Ivanov of the Vodoraslo [Algae] project, Konstantin Yordanov of the Agron eco project, Ivaylo Petrov – co-founder of Shemha Health, and Georgi Nachev of Digiburn Health presented their innovative healthcare projects, offering sustainable solutions.
Vodoraslo develops biodegradable algae-based products, mostly packaging. "Everything can be produced from algae. It is important to pay attention not only to the pollution around us, but also to the pollution within us, in our organisms," Denis Ivanov noted.
Georgi Kadrev presented a mobile thermal camera that can help diagnose a range of diseases in a non-invasive and affordable way.
Ivaylo Petrov of Shemha Health raised the topic of improving cancer diagnostics and reducing the carbon footprint of research and treatment, and Georgi Nachev of Digiburn Health described methodologies for improving mental health.