|Projektträger:||Stiftung Europäisches Naturerbe (EuroNatur)
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|Telefon:||+49 7732 9272 0|
Zielsetzung und Anlass des Vorhabens
The territory of the Belasitsa Mountain is located in the border triangle of Bulgaria, Greece and FYR Macedonia in the core of the Balkan Green Belt, the southernmost strip of the European Green Belt. Belasitsa Mountain is characterised by a rich biodiversity like natural forest ecosystems of native old grown chestnut (Castanea sativa) and Fagus sylvatica, intact and representative communities and eco-systems in the alpine zone, and wetlands. The area is of high importance for the conservation of different bird species too.
Despite the high ecological value of the Belasitsa Mountain and its legal protection currently several ex-amples of inappropriate land use can be observed, like intensive timber logging, overexploitation of non-timber forest products, and construction of micro water power plants in sensitive locations. In order to guarantee the protection of livelihoods for the benefit of people and biodiversity it is necessary to develop strategies which integrate nature conservation with social development.
The overall goal of the project is to contribute to joint long-term conservation and promotion of the unique biodiversity of the transboundary Belasitsa Mountains. The project activities focus on environmental education and the development and promotion of ecotourism offers as closely interrelated approaches. The following specific objectives have been defined:
1.) Develop international partnership for the conservation of Belasitsa, including exchange of know-how and capacity building.
2.) Promote benefits of economic development measures (e.g. ecotourism) as a long term tool for nature protection.
3.) Raise general public awareness of the values of Belasitsa as unique nature site.
Darstellung der Arbeitsschritte und der angewandten MethodenIn order to enhance sustainable development of the area, focusing in an equal way on ecological, social and economic aspects, transboundary cooperation is of high importance. At the same time, awareness on the high natural values of the area and the chances involved (e.g. ecotourism) needs to be risen on local, national and international level. Consequently, the project activities focus on environmental educa-tion and development and promotion of ecotourism offers.
The project is based upon a strong transboundary cooperation as an integral part of all activities in order to enhance the contact and cooperation of key players in nature conservation and sustainable development in all three countries.
Ergebnisse und Diskussion
Overall the project was implemented in its full extend as originally planned. The project implementation considerably contributed to joint long-term conservation and promotion of the unique biodiversity of the transboundary Belasitsa Mountains. The activities were fulfilled on the territory of all three countries Bulgaria, Greece and FYR Macedonia sharing the mountain as well as in Germany.
More than 350 people were directly involved in the project activities, more than 14,000 people visited the “The Incredible Belasitsa” photo exhibition. Twenty nine separate events were organized and performed within the project duration. All this points out the impact had and has in and for the area. The project implementation led to improved partnerships in the region, promoted sustainable and nature friendly economic development and increased public awareness of the values of Belasitsa.
Due to the exchange of experience and numerous presentations of good practices in the field of ecotourism during project implementation, awareness among many of the direct beneficiaries of the project was significantly raised concerning the (economic) potential of nature based tourism.
A very important project result is the creation of a common image of the international Belasitsa region. Before the start of the current project only few people regarded Belasitsa as “one”, but thought of it as an area divided by borders and as part of three countries. By continuously and consistently promoting Belasitsa as one area rather than pointing out national borders during project implementation, perception of locals and tourist service providers has significantly changed. Today, the area is regarded as a common area, not taking into account the respective country as much as formerly. One can easily hear local tourist services providers speaking of the advantages the international region brings and without relying solely on what a single country offers.
An important step forward in building a common image of the international region was the elaboration and distribution of the Joint catalogue of ecotourism services and products which is the first occasion in the history of the area when tourist services and attractions from the whole international region are gathered in one publication.
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Präsentation
Web-portal about the project as well as the Belasitsa region: www.belasitsa.com
Brochure about the Belasitsa region:
https://www.euronatur.org/fileadmin/docs/projekte/Belasitsa_Transboundery_Cooperation_2016.pdf and https://www.euronatur.org/fileadmin/docs/projekte/Belasitsa_Discover_Belasitsas_Treasures_2016.pdf
The photo exhibition “The Incredible Belasitsa” visited four different locations in Bulgaria and attracted more than 14.000 people during the project duration.
Probably the most important outcome of the Belasitsa Beyond Borders project implementation is bringing people together. Thanks to all project events and products, thanks to mutual work with partners from different countries we managed to bring tourist services providers, governmental and non-governmental organisations and local people together. They are unified by the beautiful Belasitsa Mountain and by their common ideas for the future development of the region.
|Förderzeitraum:||20.12.2012 - 30.09.2016 (3 Jahre und 9 Monate)|