The project involves the civil society of the most vulnerable and poor regions in Bulgaria – the mountains, in discussions and initiatives towards sustainable development and nature protection in these regions. The territorial scope of the project includes parts of Southwest Bulgaria – mountain regions from the West Aegean River Basin (Struma and Mesta) and parts from the East Aegean River Basin (West Rhodopi). These are regions where civil society’s awareness about sustainable development is low. Development of strategic plans and other policy documents related to economic planning follows the top-down approach without any civil society participation and consideration of sustainable development principles. The latter is the main reason for ongoing depopulation of the region and for local economic activities that destroy the regions’ natural resources without bringing any added value for the local population.
In order to overcome these problems the project partners – BALKANI Wildlife Society as Executing Agency (EA) and the local partners – Bikearea Association – Velingrad Branch and Fishermen Society Balkanka – 2009 initiated broad public network engaging both active citizens and experts at local and national level. Active discussions related to development of plans, programs and projects in the field of forestry, water and territorial planning were organized. As a result of the discussions, opinion statements and civil proposals on important strategic documents were developed. The project included also advocacy campaigns and local civic support for the developed statements and proposals.
- Forming 10 groups of local supporters, united in and supported by a common national network (as mountain resources are a national treasure whose value needs recognition by the society as a whole).
- Information regarding natural resources in the mountain areas collected, analysed and made available to the public (through social networks, live meetings, etc.).
- Organised public discussions, based on the information provided (through a dedicated internet platform – http://prozrachniplanini.org/ and live meetings in the areas of activity of the 10 local groups).
- Development of expert civil proposals and advocacy, including active work with the institutions.
OBJECTIVES / OUTCOMES AND IMPACT
- Capacity building for environmental NGOs and civil society groups through creation of supporters network.
- Development of innovative and sustainable model for information sharing and civil society participation in natural mountain resources management and creation of tools to implement the model.
- Better understanding and solutions to local problems related to management of forest and water resources and spatial planning in disadvantaged mountain regions.
The project developed working model for sustainable management of natural resources in Bulgaria with active civil society participation in accordance with the Aarhus Convention principles, contributing to better consideration of environmental and social issues by the development and implementation of sector policies, strategies, action plans, programs and projects, in the context of sustainable development.
Executing agency: BALKANI Wildlife Society Association,