site.btaConservation Organizations Baulk Against Idea of Protected Area Territorial Management Plans
The For the Nature Coalition, uniting several conservation associations and civic groups, opposed the adoption of the draft amendments to the Biodiversity Act (BDA), submitted in June by the Council of Ministers. The amendments concern the management of the European environmental network Natura 2000. WWF's Katerina Rakovska told BTA that the most problematic point is the proposal for territorial management plans for protected areas drawn up at the level of the regional environment and water inspectorates.
The problem is that the very idea of a plan for a piece of a protected area contradicts the directive itself, which requires conservation measures to be at area level, she said. Otherwise, there should be an amendment to the BDA because reform is needed under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), she said.
Territorial plans make the idea of conservation and preventive measures at the level of the zone meaningless, they do not solve the problem of the infringement procedure against Bulgaria for non-compliance with its obligations under the Habitats Directive, For the Nature commented in their position. They insist on the declaration of conservation measures under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, as well as the designation of management bodies for protected areas. Third, the coalition demands that the specific conservation objectives and priorities be developed and regulated by law.
Rakovska pointed out that the draft law for changes in the BDA was prepared by the caretaker government and accepted by the current regular Government. However, she said, environmentalists had previously given negative opinions on territorial management plans for protected areas. The Government bill has not yet come up for discussion in parliament's leading Environment and Water Committee.
The reasoning of the proposed bill states that the reasons that necessitated the development of the amendments are directly related to the need to establish management bodies for the Natura 2000 network and the implementation of the relevant regulation under the Recovery and Resilience Plan. Attention is drawn to the fact that Bulgaria has delayed the designation of 194 out of 229 habitat protection areas. As regards the territorial management plans, the reasoning states that they are to apply to the territories of the protected areas and parts thereof 'falling within the territorial scope of the relevant regional environmental and water inspectorate'.
"When protected areas fall within the scope of national parks under the Protected Areas Act, territorial management plans for protected areas will be developed for the territories of the respective national park," the reasoning further states. It also specifies that a Black Sea management plan will be developed for protected areas or parts of protected areas that fall within the maritime space.
The management authority for the Natura 2000 network at national level is the Minister of Environment and Water, the bill says. The reasons also state that specific and detailed conservation objectives will be introduced as a term in the legislation.