Most significant achievements

TНЕ 30 MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVMENTS OF GREEN BALKANS WORK


(in chronological order):

  • Green Balkans is the only nature conservation organization in Bulgaria that got the trust of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the World Bank (WB) to run a project funded by these institutions. The project is implemented in one of the most significant wetlands along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast; it aims at preserving the biological diversity and securing sustainable use of the natural resources of the Pomorie Lake.
     
  • Together with the other NGOs from “Preserve Bulgaria’s Nature” coalition, Green Balkans drew huge public interest to the “hot” issues related to the destruction of Bulgaria’s nature. The vigorous support of citizens and the media prevented the obliteration of Strandja Nature Park, cutting of NATURA 2000 Network, as well as numerous infringements within protected areas and NATURA 2000 sites.
     
  • Since 2002, Green Balkans has been the main factor and coordinator in the establishment of NATURA 2000 network in Bulgaria, giving its invaluable support to the State. As a result, 225 protected zones, covering 30% of the country’s territory, have been proposed. The expert potential of the scientific institutions of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, NGOs, universities, etc. was mobilized to work on these issues. In the period 2003-2007, more than 150 experts implemented field studies amounting to over 8,000 man-days. The team developed methodologies and analyses of the national coverage of natural habitats and populations of target NATURA 2000 species. Financial resource amounting to BGN 1.5 million was successfully managed.
     
  • Green Balkans is the only organization in Bulgaria accredited as a Benchmark organization by the Conservation Volunteers Alliance (CVA), as a recognition of the high standards of working with volunteers.
     
  • The team of Green Balkans – Stara Zagora was chosen by the Ministry of Environment and Waters to establish and administer one of the five CITES Rescue Centers in Bulgaria.
     
  • Green Balkans’ project “Support for the sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe”, funded by PHARE-Partnership, was distinguished as one of the 40 best practices in the world among 700 participants in the “Best practices in Improving the Living Environment” competition organized by Dubai Municipality.
     
  • As a result of the Organization’s professionalism and reputation among state and local authorities and the NGO community, Green Balkans’ representatives are involved in numerous national and regional inter-departmental committees related to biodiversity conservation and forest protection.
     
  • Multi-year program along the Maritsa river valley (conservation of wetlands, restoration of habitats of rare bird species, studying and control over the extraction of inert materials); international working group for the establishment of a bio-corridor and biodiversity restoration.
     
  • Implementation of a program for conservation and long-term management of the biological diversity of floodplain forests on the Bulgarian Danube islands; also including the publishing of two strategic documents – a concept and a strategy with an Action Plan.
     
  • Since 1999, more than 1,000 children and youth participate in Green Balkans’ Youth Educational Program on annual basis. 100 of them are actively involved in various nature conservation activities and support the protection of wildlife.
     
  • 130 orphans, living in orphanage institutions, involved in the educational programs organized by Green Balkans, including excursions in the wild and nature conservation actions.
     
  • Long-term – 10-year program for the preservation of the biological diversity of the Western Rhodopes. Results: prepared documentation for the designation of the biggest nature park in the country – Western Rhodopes Nature Park (6 550 sq.km.); implemented the biggest campaign ever for designation of a protected area in Bulgaria – in more than 23 municipalities and 100 settlements; capacity development – 60 trained representatives of local authorities and experts; support for the establishment of 6 local societies for sustainable development and nature conservation; published “Concept for sustainable development of the Western Rhodopes”.
     
  • More than 120 local experts – ecologists and specialists in natural resource management have been trained and involved in the educational projects and programs implemented by Green Balkans.
     
  • Establishment of Bulgaria’s first voluntary system for protection of forests from poachers and fires. More than 120 anti-poaching and fire-extinguishing actions have been carried out. Tens of legal proceedings have been initiated and administrative penalties have been imposed on government officials as a result of the signals of infringements and poaching forwarded by Green Balkans.
     
  • “Ornithological Data Base” – the Organization’s long work resulted in the establishment of a data base of the dynamics and state of the populations of rare bird species in various parts of the country.
     
  • With the financial support of EECONET Action Fund and EURONATUR, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, more than 1,000 decares of land were purchased in the Coastal Dobrudja region, thus providing a “security zone” of critical significance for the survival of the globally threatened Red-breasted Goose.
     
  • Restoration of the Sandwich Tern population – as a result of the implemented conservation activities and the embankment islands built in the Pomorie Lake, the species’ population increased from 6 breeding pairs in 1996-97 to more than 1300 pairs in 2004.
     
  • Conservation of the Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) – a long program, implemented since 1989, resulted in an evident increase in the population numbers in the country.
     
  • Recovery of the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) – as a result of the multi-year program in support of the last colony of Black Vultures on the Balkan Peninsula, the species’ population in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains is slowly increasing. The only nest in Bulgaria for the past 110 years was found by Green Balkans’ expedition in 1994.
     
  • Program for captivity breeding and release of raptors. Since 2001, the team working under the program has been successfully breeding rare raptors in captivity.
     
  • Establishing and maintaining the first and only Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in the country. The facility has recovered and released back into the wild more than 150 species of rare and threatened birds – Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Imperial and Golden Eagles, Vultures, Red-breasted Geese, etc. Almost 45% of the patients are successfully recovered and released back into the wild.
     
  • A successful 20-year conservation program for conservation of the wintering sites of the Pygmy Cormorant (status, distribution, conservation and protection of the wintering sites). Publishing the first action plan for species management in the country.
     
  • Long-lasting conservation programme on the territory of 650 ha lands and wetlands for conservation of the habitats of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca), wetlands restoration and sustainable natural resourse management.
     
  • Studying and submitting proposals for the designation of 26 new protected areas with a total area of more than 680,000 ha, also including Persina Nature Park – result of Green Balkans’ expert and voluntary efforts.
     
  • National public and media campaign, including protests against the amendment to the Environment Act. The amendment required cancellation of the procedure under EIA/Environment Impact Assessment. The campaign was successful.
     
  • Public support for the reform in nature conservation legislation (a program consisting of 7 projects, 1994-2002). As a result, 145 texts (articles) elaborated and proposed by Green Balkans became part of the national legislation (Protected Natural Areas Act, Biological Diversity Act, Forest Act, etc.).
     
  • Ratification by the Bulgarian parliament of the Convention for biological diversity, a direct result of the large-scale campaign of Green Balkans.
     
  • National protest before the Parliament and the Government, aiming at discontinuation of the use of poisons against wolves, that has caused mass poisoning of rare predatory birds. The campaign had a success.
     
  • Co-authorship of a team of the society in the compilation of the Bulgarian national strategy for conservation of the biological diversity.
     
  • National campaign against the usage of rodenticides, that has caused poisoning of more than 1 million birds. In 1988, as a result of the protests of Green Balkans, the spattering of poisons by aircrafts has been ceased.