Commissioner Sinkevičius and Jury member César Luena MEP presented the Communication award 2022 to Elena Stoeva and, on screen, Bogdana Andonova of Green Balkans for their application “Natura 2000 in Bulgaria: New Horizons”.
About the project
- Main applicant
Green Balkans NGO
- Countries involved
- Main N2000 site
Sinite kamani (BG0000164)
Natura 2000 in Bulgaria: New Horizons is a high-profile media campaign implemented by a unique partnership of a national environmental NGO (Green Balkans) and three media partners (AD Darik, AD Economedia and BG TOP MUSIC EOOD BG TOP (HOBBY TV)), with an impressive outreach estimated at 4.5 million people.
Elena Tilova, manager of the “Natura 2000 in Bulgaria – New Horizons“ project said: “I am thrilled that the award has been given to a Bulgarian project. I take the award as a recognition of the contribution of non-government organisations, such as Green Balkans, to nature conservation. For me, this is the result of the excellent partnership with our media partners, thanks to whom our messages reach the people. The success is evidence of the great power of information, through which public attitudes can change and our rich natural heritage can be preserved for future generations".
The ongoing campaign aims specifically to raise awareness about the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria. This initiative is funded by the EU LIFE programme and the project partnership’s own funds until the end of 2023. It uses easily identifiable flagship species, such as the Imperial Eagle and the Bearded Vulture, and important habitats to interpret and communicate key issues such as the deterioration of Natura 2000 protected zones.
The partners have implemented a broad range of actions including the organisation of national events, audio and video productions, articles in national media, and webinars on the benefits of Natura 2000 for business involving different sectors combined with economic analyses.
Based on the reach of the various media channels (subscribers, individual visits to Natura 2000, New Horizons publications, etc.), the organisers believe that 62% of the Bulgarian population will be reached by the actions, and that a change in attitude or behaviour may be expected for about 10% of this audience (450 000 people).
What’s more, the intervention facilitated an effective access to national level media for citizen organisations, thus giving them a voice. It also catalysed the interest of other national media in nature-related issues. As a result, topics such as the construction of hotels on coastal dunes were widely discussed and brought firmly into the national consciousness.
The Bulgarian winners’ local event was held on 27 May 2023 and celebrated the successful initiative “”. The project, which was funded by the LIFE programme, won the 2022 edition of the Natura 2000 Award, Communication category. The partners of the winning application, Green Balkans (national environmental NGO) and three media organisations - AD Darik, AD Economedia and BG TOP MUSIC EOOD BG TOP (HOBBY TV) - hosted the half-day event at the Muzeiko – the Children’s Museum in the country’s capital, Sofia.
The first part of the programme focused on celebrating the Natura 2000 Award and presenting the winning application’s goals and main achievements. People and organisations that contributed to the winning achievements also received honorary diplomas. Iva Obretenova, from the Nature Conservation Unit of the Directorate General for the Environment, delivered a video message on behalf of the European Commission.
Following the celebration, representatives of several nature parks, Sofia Zoo, as well as various environmental NGOs presented their work to the museum’s visitors at information stands. Children learned about biodiversity in Bulgaria through board games, while the Wildlife Rescue Centre department of Green Balkans presented birds with permanent disabilities that have been trained to be at ease with humans. The event was topped off by various artistic exhibitions centred around Bulgarian nature and the Green Balkans project which could also be enjoyed by visitors.