BTA interview

site.btaBulgaria Observes International Day for Biological Diversity

Bulgaria Observes International Day for Biological Diversity
Bulgaria Observes International Day for Biological Diversity
National Nature Protection Service Director Miroslav Kalugerov (BTA Photo)

The International Day for Biological Diversity was observed on Wednesday in Bulgaria, a country of 340 protected areas where biodiversity is particularly rich. This year, the theme of the UN-designated day is "Be part of the Plan". This is a call to action to encourage governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, non-governmental organizations, lawmakers, businesses, and individuals to highlight the ways in which they are supporting the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan.

A series of awareness and educational campaigns, competitions, training events, discussions and exhibitions, organized by the Ministry of Environment and Water, are being held in Bulgaria this week, National Nature Protection Service Director Miroslav Kalugerov told BTA in an interview. The programme also includes visiting protected areas and cleaning open spaces. "The plan is to let people know more about the diversity of nature in Bulgaria and to popularize the work of government institutions for its conservation," Kalugerov said.

He noted: "The efforts are targeted mainly at children, to help them understand from an early age why it is important to protect nature. Instilling fondness for the environment in them is important to achieve sustainability in the years to come."

Many of the types of Europe's habitats are found in Bulgaria, and a large part of them are protected, according to Kalugerov. He said the term "biological diversity" is a way to describe the wealth of nature. "Biological species interact to create ecosystems that sustain life. These ecosystems give us clean air, water, food," Kalugerov explained.

"Bulgaria is home to endemic species found exclusively in our territory. We also have old breeds and varieties which have brought about today's types of food," the expert said.

Critically endangered plants in the country include boletes, wild orchids, the Venus slipper, the Achillea thracica and the Lilium rhodopeum. The Red Book of Bulgaria identifies 87 critically endangered animal species, including the Eurasian lynx, the Dalmatian pelican, the great egret, the eastern imperial eagle, and sturgeons.

Kalugerov warned: "We cannot survive if nature is unprotected. However, we often take nature for granted. Nature is faced with serious challenges such as climate change and human activity. Every year, hundreds, even thousands of species become extinct worldwide. Economic investment, for instance, exerts pressure on biological diversity. Preventive procedures prescribed by the law are aimed at assessing the environmental impact of economic activity and giving the greenlight to those investments that are sustainable and do not cause damage to the environment and biological diversity."

Kalugerov highlighted Bulgaria's contribution to Natura 2000, the network of European protected areas, which was established 32 years ago on Tuesday.

He said: "The rules of organization of the Ministry of Environment and Water and its regional offices have already been amended. We now hope to be able to build the administrative capacity and recruit the staff necessary to take on the complex tasks of managing Natura 2000 and biodiversity in Bulgaria."

He noted that the amendments have made protected area management plans compulsory. The requirement is to be fulfilled in the next two or three years. "The aim is to have up-to-date, high-quality plans to enable us to better protect biological diversity," Kalugerov said.

The National Nature Protection Service is implementing the national policy on biological diversity and nature conservation, he went on to say. It steers the policies for protection and sustainable use of biological diversity and genetic resources. "We are in charge of the procedures for designating protected areas under the Protected Areas Act and the procedures for designating Natura 2000 areas under the Biological Diversity Act," he said. The Service is also responsible for drafting and adopting protected area management plans and action plans for endangered species.

"Our policies are aimed to curb the spread of invasive species in Bulgaria. We take care of the stock of medicinal plants. We conduct compatibility assessment procedures for programmes, plans, projects and investment proposals in the framework of Natura 2000. The Ministry of Environment and Water makes efforts to protect nature," Kalugerov said.

/YV/

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By 12:58 on 17.06.2024 Today`s news

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