We will mark 30 years of “Natura 2000” in the European Union

17 May, 2022 | 14:51

May 21 marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of the “Natura 2000” network of protected areas in the European Union (EU), which is one of the most successful instruments for preserving Europe’s rich natural heritage.

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) will celebrate the anniversary with various initiatives by its regional structures throughout the country, together with NGOs, schools, and kindergartens. The Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Water, the Directorates of National Parks, the Basin Directorates, and the Executive Environment Agency will organize seminars, discussion workshops, information days, open lessons, cleaning of protected areas, exhibitions, carnival processions, and creative competitions for children and students.

Through these initiatives, the MOEW will manifest its engagement and concerns, present its management policy, and raise public awareness of the importance of the ecological network with its biodiversity and the need for all of us to be committed to its protection.

You can get acquainted with the program of specific events here and are welcome to participate.

The 30th anniversary will be celebrated on 18 May in Brussels with a ceremony awarding the European “Natura 2000” prize, whereby the winners in six categories will be announced. Bulgaria has four nominations for the award, one of which is jointly with Greece and Cyprus.

The festive ceremony will be broadcast live on the following websites:

EbS: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/ebs/live/1

SCIC: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/high-level-ceremony-for-announcing-the-winners-of-the-natura-2000-award-2022

The EU Habitats Directive was adopted on 21 May 1992. This directive, together with the EU Birds Directive (adopted in 1979), establishes the EU’s “Natura 2000” network of protected areas. To mark the creation of the network and to honor the efforts of all those who have contributed to its management, May 21 has been declared European Natura 2000 Day with 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.

Today, the network covers more than 27 000 protected areas in the EU on land and at sea. In Bulgaria, 340 protected areas have been identified, covering 34.9% of the national territory - 120 protected areas for the protection of wild birds (23.1% of the territory) and 233 protected areas for the protection of natural habitats (30.3% of the territory), whereby 13 protected areas for the protection of natural habitats coincide with protected areas under the Birds Directive.