© Bogdan Boev
Northwestern Bulgaria is unhfortunately known as the least developed region of the country, without perspectives and innovative undertakings or with less and less people that are living there. However, we at BSPB believe that this less-known, often neglected region has its “miracles” and prerequisites for a better life. Emblematic bird species such as the Sea eagle, the Lesser spotted eagle and the Dalmatian pelican, for whose protection BSPB is actively working, are only part of the natural wealth of ancient Moesia. In the next few months we will try to change, at least a little, the negative stereotypes associated with this beautiful part of Bulgaria.
At the end of April we started the project “Moesian natural treasures – support for environmentally friendly tourism and bird conservation along the Danube and Western Stara Planina.” Implemented by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) with financial support from the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the project lasts for six months.
At this initial stage, the territorial scope of the project includes European ecological network Natura 2000 zones, located along the Danube River, as well as in the Western Balkan Mountains. Knowing that the region is extremely rich in natural and cultural resources, the main goal of the project team will be to prepare a detailed and focused analysis of the potential for development of nature tourism, as well as the promotion of such activities that using the rich biodiversity in the region will contribute to the well-being of the people living there.
Our main concept is grounded on the principle that the biological diversity of a country is an important asset for it and its citizens, and that we are all obliged to protect and use it sustainably. Nature tourism is one of the ways to use this asset wisely, without overexploiting or harming it, because in addition to enjoying the natural resources, tourists have the opportunity to contribute directly to nature conservation in the area.
One of the key activities in the project will be the development of a concept for a voluntary standard “Pro Birds”, the main purpose of which will be to help local entrepreneurs to offer and develop services based on environmentally friendly business. Other project activities are related to collecting and analyzing information about the natural and cultural potential and offered tourist services and attractions in the area; creation of a web-based information system for the cultural and natural heritage; holding meetings with representatives of local (municipal) authorities, entrepreneurs, teachers and active people from the region; conducting field research on biodiversity in the project region; publishing and distribution of information materials aimed at promoting the region and others.
The project “Moesian Natural Treasures – Support for Nature-Friendly Tourism and Bird Conservation along Danube and Western Stara Planina” is funded by the America for Bulgaria Foundation. The America for Bulgaria Foundation is an independent, non-governmental, and non-political American charity that works in partnership with Bulgarian organizations to strengthen the private sector and democratic institutions in the country. For more information: www.us4bg.org .