Building capacity and new models for stakeholder’s involvement in the management of Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria

The project started in 2013 with analysis of good practice from the EU and Switzerland. Working group was established to prepare a model for public participation involving MοEW (Ministry of Environment and Waters) / NNPS, NGOs, associations of farmers and land users in Natura 2000. The management models have been elaborated and piloted in three sites (selected according: variety of environmental objectives, regimes, complexity of the anthropogenic factor, protection status) 21 workshops and meetings with stakeholders have been conducted. The main findings and recommendations have been published in hardcopy and electronic versions. At the end of the project a National Conference held and changes in legislation / procedures to integrate models of stakeholder’s participation have been proposed. The trainings and awareness raising campaign also have been important project components, accompanying all the other activities.


The main objective is to build capacity and create models of stakeholder’s participation in the management process of Natura 2000 protected sites in Bulgaria. Natura 2000 is the main EU instrument for nature conservation and sustainable development in natural areas. It introduces the integrated approach for nature conservation in all areas of social and economic life and the preservation of traditional relationships between humans and environment. Achieving of these objectives requires the involvement of different stakeholders in the planning, management and direct protection of natural areas - from owners and land users to policy makers, including officials, engineers and investors.

National project. Specific activities in three pilot regions in Bulgaria:

  • Western Stara Planina
  • Western Rhodopes Mountain
  • Western slopes of Rila Mountain (SPA Kocherinovo)


Executive Agency

Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe – branch Bulgaria

7 Paris Str., Office 17, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria

Phone: (359-2) 983-4817

Fax: (359-2) 983-5217



Project Manager: Ventzislav Vassilev

  • Тraining, competitions and educational activities have been carried out and simulation games for shared decision making about the protected sites have been organized
  • Working together with state authorities, municipalities, forestry enterprises, environmental NGOs, associations of farmers and land-users in Natura 2000, we created the models for participatory governance of the protected sites.
  • We have analysed the best practice in the involvement of stakeholders in the management process of protected sites and other nature areas in the EU and Switzerland.
  • Our experts have carefully analysed the stakeholders, economic uses and conservation value of the Western Rhodopes, Western Stara Planina, Kocherinovo and Dobrudja.
  • Report on main findings and recommendations was developed and presented at the National Conference at the end of year 2015.


“I am especially glad to see the synergies being developed between the Swiss-funded projects in nature conservation field in Bulgaria. I see huge potential for replication of our BG activities in neighboring countries. Using the results of your study looks very important to me.” Pierre Galland, Swiss Advisor

The project does not involve partners officially. However in the course of our work some important partnership relations have been established. The project team expresses special gratitude to:

  • National Nature Protection Service at MOEW;
  • District information center – Smolyan;
  • Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Waters – Smolyan;
  • District information center – Montana;
  • Municipality of Kocherinovo.