History

HISTORY OF GREEN BALKANS


In late 1970s, biologists – researchers and students from the Bulgarian Ornithological Centre and Plovdiv University, established an informal group of nature-lovers that not only studied Bulgaria’s unique flora and fauna, but also took an active civil stand. In 1980s the group carried out numerous expeditions to study the biological diversity of Bulgaria and develop proposals for the designation of new protected areas. 

In 1988, the former totalitarian regime in Bulgaria perpetrated one of the gravest crimes against the European biological diversity. Hundreds of thousand tons of poisonous chemicals (rodenticides) were spread over a huge part of the country’s territory, causing the death of more than a million wild birds wintering in Bulgaria. In December 1988, the informal group of students and researchers from Plovdiv University and the Institute of Ecology gathered carcasses of dead birds and organized the first ecological demonstration in the country. This small group of nature-lovers got the support of the public, thus a new organization came into being – GREEN BALKANS.

In 1992, the regional societies established in the country were united into a national network entitled GREEN BALKANS Federation of Nature Conservation NGOs. 

In late 2008, GREEN BALKANS Network reached a membership of 4,500 individual members united in 4 regional offices and 25 correspondent centers. 

For its almost 20 years’ existence, the Organization, supported by its partners and donors, such as the EU PHARE Program, USAID, GEF, REC, UNDP, WWF, EURONATUR, has implemented more than 110 nature conservation projects. The direct investments, amounting to $ 3,5 million, involve projects managed by Green Balkans or in partnership with other organizations. Two big conservation projects for the Danube and the Western Rhodope Mountains, for the amount of about € 20 million, have been initiated by Green Balkans, WWF DCP, and the UNDP office in Bulgaria. 

Green Balkans’ volunteers and civil groups implemented more than 400 actions, 180 of which were of national significance. Many of these actions were mass protest demonstrations that managed to prevent the perpetration of serious crimes against the nature of Bulgaria.