The national policy on nature protection targets the management, control and conservation of biodiversity and protected areas. It is implemented by the Ministry, assisted by Directorate National Office for Protection of Nature, in accordance with the international and national legislation – Environment Protection Act, Biodiversity Act, Protected Areas Act, Medicinal Plants Act, Genetically Modified Organisms Act and strategic documents – National Priority Action Framework for Natura 2000, Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, EU Strategy for Biodiversity, Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, National Plan for Protection of the Most Significant Wetlands.
The Ministry develops and implements the overall national policy on protection of biodiversity, endangered species and protected areas, preparing regulatory and planning documents, conducting procedures for assessment of compatibility of investment proposals and plans, programs and projects with the object and purpose of protected areas, incl. by assessment procedures of environmental impact and environmental assessment; providing assistance to regional inspectorates and directorates of national parks in the implementation of regulations in the sector; keeping records; providing information, etc.
The the country there are 3 national parks, 11 nature parks, 55 reserves, 35 maintained reserves, more than 500 protected areas and 350 natural landmarks. In order to protect and effectively manage the protected areas, management plans are being developed and implemented. A large part of the protected areas of Bulgaria is included in various international networks – the Convention for Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Programme for Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, etc., that place additional responsibilities to ensure sustainable management of our natural resources.
Bulgaria is one of the richest in biodiversity among European countries and ranks third in the EU in percentage of national territory that is included in the European ecological network Natura 2000 (34.4%). As a contribution to the network, the Ministry provides the necessary care for long-term survival of endangered species and habitats in accordance with international agreements on environmental protection and biodiversity. In compliance with the European directives on protection of habitats, flora, fauna and birds, our country protects more than 90 types of natural habitats and over 300 species of plants and animals.