WWF and other NGOs in the For the Nature coalition have won a second court case against the government of Bulgaria’s plans to open Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bulgaria’s…..
SOFIA, BULGARIA – The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is one of the biggest discoveries in the last 30 years in Bulgaria. Attracting many tourists from all parts of Bulgaria, the tomb has already gained popularity at the international level thanks to its presence on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Two national parks in Bulgaria are threatened by construction plans according to a letter sent last week to the European Commission by representatives of all major political groups in the European Parliament. The MEPs call on the Commission to launch an infringement procedure against Bulgaria as a matter of urgency.
A critical situation in two areas protected under EU law in Bulgaria.
Pirin is home to iconic species such as brown bears, grey wolves and the lesser spotted eagle
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has issued a draft decision on Pirin in which it requests the Bulgarian government to ensure that a full strategic environmental assessment for the new management plan of Pirin National Park is undertaken as a matter of priority. The government is asked also not implement the December 2017 amendments to the current management plan and refrain from introducing any new amendments. The decision is set to be approved at the World Heritage Committee at the end of June 2018 in Bahrain.
Responding to the draft decision, Katerina Rakovska, WWF-Bulgaria conservation expert, said:
“We welcome the draft decision as it is in line with Bulgarian and European law and international commitments. It confirms what WWF and partner NGOs have been insisting on, together with our supporters who have been taking to the streets for five months now in more than 20 cities in Bulgaria and dozens more around the world. We are concerned, however, that the government may try to water down the draft decision before it is set for adoption at the World Heritage Committee in June 2018.”
Read more from source: Bulgarian government must ensure plans for Pirin are environmentally a
WWF and other NGOs of the For the Naturecoalition have won a court case against the government of Bulgaria’s plans to open Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bulgaria’s premier protected area, up to construction.
In March 2017, the Bulgarian environmental minister decided that the draft management plan for Pirin National Park did not require a Strategic Environmental Assessment. The plan permits construction on an area that is 12.5-times larger than currently permitted area and could lead to commercial logging affecting nearly 60 per cent of the park (currently no commercial logging is permitted in the park). Development of the plan has been financed by the EU.
The court’s decision requires the government to ensure that the appropriate environmental assessments are made.
“This is great news for Pirin and its supporters who have been taking to the streets for four months now in more than 20 cities in Bulgaria and dozens more around the world. This decision means the government must now ensure that all threats to Pirin are assessed and avoided”,said Katerina Rakovska, WWF-Bulgaria conservation expert.
Read more from source: WWF wins an important court case for Pirin
Pirin national park has become an example of the Bulgarian government’s unwillingness to establish the rule of law. When all eyes in Europe are on Bulgaria because of its Presidency of the EU Council, we need to see a strong message from the EU, writes Veselina Kavrakova.
Baykusheva mura – the name alone sounds mythical and, at 1,300 years-old, it is believed to be the oldest pine tree on the Balkan peninsula. This ancient tree is located in the Pirin National Park in Bulgaria, which is also home to brown bears, wolves, chamois and the rarest woodpecker in Europe. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an EU Natura 2000 area, and a protected area under Bulgarian law.
One would think that such protection under three different legal regimes should be sufficient to keep destruction at bay. Alas, it’s not. Instead, the Bulgarian government decided to open up almost half of Pirin National Park to construction, and this just days before taking over the EU Presidency.
Read more from source: Is Pirin a ‘paper park’? Holding Bulgaria to account for breaking EU nature laws
Like many Westerners, I imagined a gritty, gray and boring post-Communist Balkans.
“Bulgaria? Nobody goes there!” said my husband when I mentioned it.
Admittedly Bulgaria had never really been high on my list of places to visit, but fate brought me an opportunity to meet an old friend in the capital, Sofia. Like many Westerners, I imagined a gritty, gray and boring post-Communist, post-Yugoslavia Balkans. However, I had once read that Bulgarians nod their heads for “no” and shake them for “yes”, and I thought it might be interesting in an offbeat way to at least see that for myself.
I was surprised to find that Bulgaria is also a place with ancient history and spirituality like in Rome and Greece, walkable cities with ornate architecture and good wine like western Europe, and Middle Eastern flair inherited from centuries in the Ottoman Empire.
The more I looked the more I wanted to see.
Sofia historic interests
Unless you’re a scholar of ancient history, you might not realize that Bulgaria was part of the Roman Empire from around the 1st century. Recently-excavated archaeological remains were woven into the fabric of modern Sofia.
Source: Bulgaria? Nobody goes there!