Natura 2000 and biodiversity conservation in Bulgaria – challenges and solutions

As part of the European Union, Bulgaria has a strong commitment to the protection of biodiversity and the most valuable landscapes of Europe. With nearly 35 % of the country’s territory declared part of the Natura 2000 European environmental network, the country has enormous potential to make a significant contribution to achieving the overall conservation objectives.

Unfortunately, however, the Bulgarian state has been experiencing serious difficulties in implementing EU and national environmental legislation for 15 years.

This document summarizes the results of an expert analysis of biodiversity and NATURA 2000 network management issues in the context of European nature conservation efforts. In addition to presenting the challenges, experts propose recommendations and solutions to address the identified problems:

  • establishment of conservation objectives and conservation measures of sites under the Habitats Directive;
  • Reporting to the European Environment Agency on the conservation status of natural habitats and species of community interest;
  • Strategic planning of activities in NATURA 2000 network.

The critical analysis was prepared as part of the project “Civil Initiative for an Effective Biodiversity Policy”, implemented by Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (BEPF), Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and BALKANI Wildlife Society. The authors of the study are Andrey Kovatchev, Katerina Rakovska, Petko Tsvetkov, Assoc. Prof. Petar Schurulinkov, PhD, Assoc. Prof. Rosen Tsonev, PhD, Simeon Arangelov and Chavdar Gussev. The analysis refers to documents published by 2020 with the exception of the National Framework for NATURA 2000 Priority Actions which went under public consultations in 2021.

This document was created with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The entire responsibility for the content of the document lies with the Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (BEPF), and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria.