Project name: Informed citizen participation in favor of nature

Partners: Association of parks in Bulgaria and BALKANI Wildlife Society

Goals

The main goal of the project is to improve the opportunities for civic participation in the local government through increasing awareness and advocacy skills of local people for preserving nature.

We aim to answer the numerous alerts about environmental issues sent by citizens around Bulgaria. The overall goal is to achieve systematic change within the environmental legislation and practice through civil training and expert work for some of the most shocking cases.

Aims

The main focus lies on increasing the awareness and application of the following laws and regulations:

  • Spatial Development Act
  • Act on the Black Sea Coast Spatial Development
  • Administrative Procedure Code
  • Access to Public Information Act
  • Law on Direct Civic Participation
  • Environmental Protection Act
  • Biological Diversity Act
  • Law of the Forests
  • Protected Areas Act
  • Law for underground natural resources, etc.

Where are we working?

In the period 2020-2021, we are organizing training sessions in every Bulgarian district. 

Urgency, local people’s vulnerability to political and economical pressure, and significance for systematic change in environmental law are the criteria to choose the cases we support extensively. 

When?

The project duration is from November 1st, 2019, until October 31st, 2021.

Project activities:

Here are the specific activities planned:

  • Informing and training of local activist groups within Bulgaria: 36 training courses about civic participation and consultations of local people regarding local environmental issues in all 28 Bulgarian districts. Presenting the following laws and their application: Biological Diversity Act, Environmental Protection Act, Biological Diversity Act, Law of the Forests, Spatial Development Act, Administrative Procedure Code, Access to Public Information Act, Law on Direct Civic Participation, Protected Areas Act, Law for the underground natural resources, etc.
  • Green advocacy: support for ten significant environmental cases, including problem analysis and possible solutions, expert statements, sending signals, and complaints to responsible institutions, external expert and legal help, monitoring, and PR. Examples of issues: investment projects for construction in protected areas and NATURA 2000 sites, small hydropower plants, quarries, river pollution, illegal logging, etc. 
  • Drafting a Regulation on the civic participation of citizens in local self-government: The Regulation aims to make it easier for citizens to participate in decision making on the local level. The draft will be presented to municipalities and political party representatives. The goal is to have the Regulation adopted in at least one Municipality.
  • Fundraising campaigns for advocacy: the campaigns aim to raise funds to support civic participation in significant environmental protection cases. 

Project management and promotionof: the project, environmental protection legislation, good practices in civic participation through organization and participation in events, press releases, media, publications on partner’s websites, the Coalition of NGOs For the Nature, social media, etc.

The project “Informed citizen participation in favor of nature” is executed with the financial support of 159 500 EUR provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway through the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism.

The main goal of the project is to improve the opportunities for civic participation in the local government through increasing awareness and advocacy skills of local people for preserving nature.