The MOEW marks 32 years “Natura 2000” in the European Union

21 May, 2024 | 09:00

May 21, 2024 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas in the European Union (EU). The Ministry of the Environment and Water (MOEW), jointly with the regional inspectorates for environmental and water, the national park directorates, the basin directorates, and the Executive Environment Agency are celebrating the European Natura 2000 Day with numerous events. With this initiative, the MOEW and the regional structures express their commitment, present the management policy, and raise public awareness about the importance of the protection, maintenance and restoration of natural habitats and species of the Natura 2000 ecological network in Bulgaria.

The Ministry's structures have organized information and educational campaigns, visits to protected areas, site clean-ups, open lessons, trainings, discussions, exhibitions, creative competitions for children and students, and other events. To participate in the planned event, please consult the Natura 2000 European Day programme.

At the same time, the European Commission in partnership with, a non-profit platform for recording sightings of wildlife species, plants and fungi, is organizing a BioBlitz "Natura 2000 Day 2024" for EU Member States, and anyone interested can participate. During the BioBlitz, participants have to look for as many plant and/or animal species as possible in a given area over a given period of time. It will take place from 18 May to 26 May, with Bulgaria participating with the "Srebarna" protected area BG0000241- protected under the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive. Interested participants should register on the platform's website or its Obsidentify app. Thus, from 18 May to 26 May, participants will be able to upload their sightings of species, i.e. a photo with location information. The software automatically recognizes the photo material and offers options for plant or animal species, from which the participant should choose the most suitable one, and a team of experts will then verify the sightings. All information collected on the platform is publicly available to the public.

Also on 29 May, during the EU Green Week, an official award ceremony for the 7th European Natura 2000 Awards will take place in Brussels. The awards honor organizations or individuals with a high level of success in nature conservation and environmental protection. At the ceremony, the winners in 5 categories will be announced: transboundary cooperation, working together for nature, marine conservation, terrestrial conservation and communication, including the winner of the EU Citizens' Choice (award) for their contribution to nature conservation.

The MOEW reminds that on 21 May 1992 the EU Habitats Directive was adopted and the LIFE program was approved. This Directive, together with the EU Birds Directive (adopted in 1979), created the EU network of protected areas called Natura 2000. To celebrate the creation of the Natura 2000 network and to honor the efforts of all those who have contributed to its management, a special Declaration signed in 2017 by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Committee of the Regions declared 21 May for European Natura 2000 Day.