The Minister of Interior Boyko Rashkov Opened a Round Table Conference on the Volunteer Formations - Important and Valuable Part in the Fight against Disasters and Fires
The UNWE hosted a Round Table Conference on the Voluntary Formations - Important and Valuable Part in the Fight against Disasters and Fires organized by the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General - Ministry of Interior.
A special guest at the event was the resigning Minister of Interior Boyko Rashkov.
The Rector of UNWE Prof. Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov and Minister Boyko Rashkov
Among the official guests were also Chief Commissioner Nikolay Nikolov, Director of the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General - Ministry of Interior, Blagoy Stanchev, Parliamentary Secretary of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, Senior Commissioner Krasimir Shotarov, Director of Operational Activities Directorate at Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General, Dr. Sofia Stoimenova, Secretary General of the Bulgarian Red Cross.
The Rector Prof. Dr. Dimitar Dimitrov greeted the participants in the event with "Welcome to the UNWE!" and noted that over the years the UNWE has a very good partnership with the Ministry of Interior and the Fire Safety and Population Protection General Directorate which brings an added value to the training in Economics of Defence and Security offered by our university. “We are very happy to have the opportunity to host such an event and to help for the modeling and facilitating the discussion on the protection of populations in disasters and fires and the organization of voluntary formations - an area which becomes increasingly important on the background of climate changes and the challenges the world faces”.
Minister Boyko Rashkov expressed thankfulness to Prof. Dimitrov for his assistance and noted that he doesn`t feel exactly as a guest because he is a lecturer at the UNWE. He welcomed the organizers and participants in the Forum and outlined: "The fight with natural disasters and their consequences becomes larger and larger part of our daily lives. Enhancing the security of society is a priority and an important part of the overall security policy. For any modern state, the protection of population in the event of fires and natural disasters as well as the protection of property, cultural and material assets is an important and responsible task. In the modern conditions the only way to achieve a more successful outcome in this battle is through uniting the efforts and capacities of the state and civil society. The whole of society needs a sustainable system to provide better protection. In this system, in addition to the fire safety and public protection authorities the citizens have an increasingly important and active role to play by participating in voluntary formations to prevent or manage disasters, fires and emergencies and to deal with their consequences. The process of creation and development of the volunteer formations as part of the unified rescue system of the country has been lunched in 2012 and I am glad that today it continues running with full force. With the new strategy adopted in 2021 we will build up what has been achieved so far and will work to form a resource of trained, equipped and capable of independent action volunteer formations to ensure the protection of the population in partnership with local authorities, businesses, schools and NGOs", said Minister Rashkov.
Blagoy Stanchev greeted the attendees on behalf of Engineer Daniel Panov, Chairman of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria: "I applaud the organizers and hosts of this Forum for choosing this topic and setting it on the focus of public attention because it is both important and significant to our society's ability to respond to disasters. Voluntary formations are an element, but an extremely important element, of national emergency protection policies", said Blagoy Stanchev and added: "the voluntary formations are municipal structures, the municipalities are the main driver and initiator but in any case I do not want to underestimate the main and significant role of Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General in supporting this process as in terms of legal regulation of the work of voluntary formations and as also in practice".
Chief Commissioner Nikolay Nikolov presented the Strategy for Development of Voluntary Formations for Prevention or Control of Disasters, Fires and Other Emergencies in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2021-2030. He made an analysis of the situation about the activities of the voluntary formations so far, featured the vision for their development and the strategic objectives set in the document. Commissioner Nikolov paid attention to the fact that "the voluntary formations are an additional and valuable resource of each municipality for support and independent action in case of fires, disasters and emergencies. The efforts of only one institution are not able to develop the voluntary movement to the maximum extent. By working together to support, promote, sustain and strengthen volunteering, we will be more effective and able to meet the challenges we face as well as more adaptable to the changing environment", pointed out Commissioner Nikolov and emphasized that "by appreciating the role and place of volunteer groups and raising the prestige of volunteer activity we will be able to reach a larger part of the population, to increase the interest of society in this activity and to turn it into a tradition".
"I welcome the updated Strategy and the plans to pay more attention to the voluntary participation of civil society in the future, to mobilize those who want to help because we all see that we live in a changed world with more and more frequent disasters, climate changes and various other surprising events, said Dr. Sofia Stoimenova and outlined: "As an organization that has been working with volunteers for years and has trained volunteer formations we with our experience want to be partners and will help creating more and more volunteer formations. I would like to emphasize that we have had very good cooperation with the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General over the years, we have held a lot of training on the interaction of the different teams in the rescue system and this should continue."
"Over the next 10-year period we will continue to work extremely hard to reach a point where volunteers are a highly respected community in Bulgaria, to be given the respect they deserve as people who give up part of their free time to help society and to be a model for teenagers to follow in their footsteps. Today the Round Table Conference is attended by volunteers - 10th grade pupils from the town of Belovo who are an example in this respect", said Senior Commissioner Krasimir Shotarov, Director of the Directorate of Operational Activities Diretorate at Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General.
Dr. Yassen Tsvetkov, President of the National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria, took part in the Round Table Conference delivering a report on the Challenges and Perspectives of the National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria. Georgy Vlaykov, Head of the volunteer formation Emergency Rescue of Plovdiv presented the activities of the organization.
In the Forum took part representatives of the regional administrations of Smolyan, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, volunteer formation Emergency Rescue of Plovdiv, National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria, volunteers - 10th grade pupils from the town of Belovo, employees of the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General.
With the volunteers – 10th grade pupils from the town of Belovo