Underwater Fishing Club “Chernomorets” Burgas Launched Eco-initiative


With the beginning of the season the Burgas club “Chernomoretz” started an eco-initiative for clean water. The contestants of the most successful team over the years are provoking other clubs and enthusiasts in underwater and sport fishing in the country to join the international campaign #onefishoneplastic, along with them. Diving is not just about catching, but also cleaning the sea. Anyone who hit fish but finds plastic waste to “capture” it too.

“The goals are two – not to overdo the catch (and a fish is enough) and to clean the sea from the waste. You can be a good example, after once you catch fish and waste, take pictures of them and share the picture on Facebook.” It will be great if this idea is shared by more people and we hope that our thinking about the sea will change, even with such small steps”, write the competitors of “Chernomoretz” – Burgas on the club’s website on Facebook.


World Oceans Day 2019: 5 Ways You Can Help Protect Our Oceans


Today it’s World Oceans Day – the day to celebrate the majesty of the world’s oceans and raise awareness about their preservation.

Why are they so important? The world’s oceans generate an estimated 70% of the earth’s oxygen. They regulate the globe’s climate and weather. They support marine life. They provide us with food, and ingredients for many of our medicines.

In short, healthy oceans contributes to a healthy earth. But our oceans and marine life are under threat: from pollution and overfishing, to name just two of the challenges they face.

World Oceans Day is a celebration of the globe’s oceans. It is made up of a series of events all over the world and each year is themed.

The conservation focus of the day is to inspire a worldwide fight against plastic pollution.

The United Nation’s World Oceans Day designated theme this year is “Gender and Oceans”. This is to highlight the important role gender equality has to play in ensuring effective conservation of our oceans, seas and marine life.

The day will be used to publicise the advancement of gender equality in such ocean-related areas as marine scientific research, migration by sea and human trafficking, and policy-making.



5 ways to help protect our oceans:

  1. Focus on your plastic use

Although recycling processes are ever-developing, when it comes to plastic, it’s best not to use it at all. Take a reusable cup to the coffee shop, use a reusable carrier bag at the supermarket, choose loose vegetables and fruit, say ‘no’ to plastic straws… There are many things you can (and should!) do.

  1. Buy sustainable fish and seafood

We might love our cod and chips, and that tuna sarnie at the canteen. The bad news is we’re running out of their main ingredient. The good news is there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

Ask your fishmonger for currently sustainable options, such as hake, dab, mackerel or pollack. If you’re unsure if the fish you want to buy is sustainable, look it up in the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide.

  1. Visit a beach to pick up waste

Or else, why not join a community beach clean event.

  1. Support charities supporting the oceans

From The Marine Conservation Society to Plastic Oceans UK, there are a number of charities you can support to help the world’s oceans and seas.

You can also sponsor marine animals – why not a whale or dolphin through the Hebridean Dolphin and Whale Trust?

  1. Talk about the oceans

Keep the conversation going. It’s great to be getting involved on World Oceans Day itself, but there are other 364 days in the year.

Keep thinking about ways to help, spread the word in your local community, and if you go to a beach this summer – anywhere in the world – keep an eye out that plastic, and if safe to do so, pick it up.


Media Release: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’



Current global response insufficient;
‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature;
Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good

Most comprehensive assessment of its kind;
1,000,000 species threatened with extinction


Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

“The member States of IPBES Plenary have now acknowledged that, by its very nature, transformative change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but also that such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good,” Watson said.

The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the most comprehensive ever completed. It is the first intergovernmental Report of its kind and builds on the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005, introducing innovative ways of evaluating evidence.

Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades.

Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the Report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net’. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point,” said Prof. Sandra Díaz (Argentina), who co-chaired the Assessment with Prof. Josef Settele (Germany) and Prof. Eduardo S. Brondízio (Brazil and USA). “The diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.”

The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reefforming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.

“Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” said Prof. Settele. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”

To increase the policy-relevance of the Report, the assessment’s authors have ranked, for the first time at this scale and based on a thorough analysis of the available evidence, the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far. These culprits are, in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.

The Report notes that, since 1980, greenhouse gas emissions have doubled, raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius – with climate change already impacting nature from the level of ecosystems to that of genetics – impacts expected to increase over the coming decades, in some cases surpassing the impact of land and sea use change and other drivers.

Despite progress to conserve nature and implement policies, the Report also finds that global goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories, and goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors. With good progress on components of only four of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, it is likely that most will be missed by the 2020 deadline. Current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80% (35 out of 44) of the assessed targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 13, 14 and 15). Loss of biodiversity is therefore shown to be not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue as well.

“To better understand and, more importantly, to address the main causes of damage to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, we need to understand the history and global interconnection of complex demographic and economic indirect drivers of change, as well as the social values that underpin them,” said Prof. Brondízio. “Key indirect drivers include increased population and per capita consumption; technological innovation, which in some cases has lowered and in other cases increased the damage to nature; and, critically, issues of governance and accountability. A pattern that emerges is one of global interconnectivity and ‘telecoupling’ – with resource extraction and production often occurring in one part of the world to satisfy the needs of distant consumers in other regions.”

Other notable findings of the Report include:

  • Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
  • More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
  • The value of agricultural crop production has increased by about 300% since 1970, raw timber harvest has risen by 45% and approximately 60 billion tons of renewable and nonrenewable resources are now extracted globally every year – having nearly doubled since 1980.
  • Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss and 100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.
  • In 2015, 33% of marine fish stocks were being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% were maximally sustainably fished, with just 7% harvested at levels lower than what can be sustainably fished.
  • Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.
  • Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.
  • Negative trends in nature will continue to 2050 and beyond in all of the policy scenarios explored in the Report, except those that include transformative change – due to the projected impacts of increasing land-use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change, although with significant differences between regions.

The Report also presents a wide range of illustrative actions for sustainability and pathways for achieving them across and between sectors such as agriculture, forestry, marine systems, freshwater systems, urban areas, energy, finance and many others. It highlights the importance of, among others, adopting integrated management and cross-sectoral approaches that take into account the trade-offs of food and energy production, infrastructure, freshwater and coastal management, and biodiversity conservation.

Also identified as a key element of more sustainable future policies is the evolution of global financial and economic systems to build a global sustainable economy, steering away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth.

“IPBES presents the authoritative science, knowledge and the policy options to decisionmakers for their consideration,” said IPBES Executive Secretary, Dr. Anne Larigauderie. “We thank the hundreds of experts, from around the world, who have volunteered their time and knowledge to help address the loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity – a truly global and generational threat to human well-being.”

The IPBES Media Team

IUCN Endorses Global ‘Oceans Plastics Charter’


At the recent Nature Champions Summit in Canada, IUCN signed onto the Canada-led Oceans Plastics Charter. This five-part plan symbolises global commitment at the highest levels to rethink the world’s relationship with plastics and shift economies towards zero plastic waste.

The Ocean Plastics Charter championed by Canada and endorsed by the European Union, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom at the G7 Summit last June, is a landmark agreement outlining concrete steps to eradicate plastic pollution. The Charter recognises the need for urgent action by all sectors of society to address and prevent the far-reaching devastating impacts of marine litter on the health and sustainability of our oceans, seas and coastal communities.

The Charter provides a framework to prevent mismanagement of plastic waste and ensure that plastics are designed to be recovered so they can be reused or recycled. It also highlights the importance of not treating plastic as a single-use product, and includes recycling and recycled content targets and a commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic use and associated waste.

Besides IUCN, the Charter has now been signed by more than 20 countries and over 50 businesses and organisations around the world.

This is a sign that momentum is building around the world to tackle plastic pollution. The Charter is in line with IUCN’s global ‘Close the Plastic Tap’ programme which advocates a lifecycle management approach to plastics. Endorsement of the Charter contributes to this work and will allow IUCN to build on established partnerships and encourage new collaborations to tackle the plastics issue,” said Cyriaque Sendashonga, Global Director, IUCN Policy and Programme Group, after attending the Nature Champions Summit.


Marking the European Green Week 2019 in Burgas




The European Green Week is the largest annual European environmental policy event that attracts participants from governmental circles, industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and the media to carry out a unique exchange of ideas and best practices as well as motivating the citizens to participate in EU nature conservation actions and to make their own contribution.

To celebrate the European Green Week 2019 in the framework of a joint initiative of the European Commission, the Via Pontica Foundation, in partnership with the Municipality of Burgas, the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water, the Boulevart Project and the Municipality of Kameno chose to gather pupils, guests and citizens in the Eco Park for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya “.

The event was held on 30 May 2019 and included:

1 / Open Doors – Visit of the Bratovo – Waste Landfill and Open Expert Lecture – Separation of Waste, Storage of Hazardous and Specific Waste, Presentation of Recycling Plants and Composting Plant for Biodegradable Waste.

2 / Eco Park for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya”

a/ Are You Able to Compost? – Get acquainted with this eco-friendly practice through which people can turn food and biological waste into humus, thus helping nature.

b / Give Me a Flower! – Smile Capture Initiative

c / Competition for Separate Collection of Waste

d / Quiz on “Environment”

The children have enriched their knowledge of ecology and have sincerely enjoyed the beautiful flora and fauna of the Vaya Ecopark.

The event was attended by Ms. Ruska Boyadzhieva – Deputy Mayor of European Policies and Environment, Mr. Pavlin Mihov – Director of the Environment Directorate – Municipality of Burgas, Ms. Daniela Alexieva – Innovative Systems – Burgas and experts from Burgas Municipality.

The Chairman of the Commission for Environment and Water in 44 National Assembly Ivelina Vassileva and Deputy Governor Prof. Sevdalina Turmanova sent greeting addresses for the start of the event.




















Photos: Venelin Todorov and Vanya Yancheva

Participation in the Training for Beneficiaries of the 1st Call for Proposals on Black Sea Basin ENI CBC Programme 2014-2020


Via Pontica Foundation team, involved in project management of the „Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal Areas”, priority 2.2. “Awareness Raising and Joint Actions for Reducing River and Marine Litter”, Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020” and partners from Burgas Municipality, took part in the training for beneficiaries of the 1st call for proposals on Black Sea Basin ENI CBC Programme 2014-2020. The event was held on 22 May 2019 in Cherno More Hotel, Varna, Bulgaria.

The training session aimed to increase the beneficiaries’ capacity to ensure smooth and correct implementation of the funded projects, to present basic rules and regulations, related to correct and accurate reporting of activities and resources used, to share practical examples and case studies from the previous programming period and other implemented projects to avoid mistakes and violations and to improve the working environment.

The following topics were discussed:

-Overview of the general rules for project implementation

-Established FLC system and procedures and rules for providing national co-financing

-Reporting: Progress, Intermediate and Final Reports – in eMS Internal and external communication – information and visibility rules

-Modifications (through Notification or Addendum) to the Grant Contract

-Internal project monitoring External Monitoring – frequency, aspects which will be monitored

-Expenditure Verification-general context and specific rules

-On the spot verification

On World Bee Day: Slow Food Europe Part of the Action to Save the Bees


On World Bee Day, beekeepers across Europe fear that member states will undermine the ban on bee-killing neonicotinoids by opening the door to similarly harmful pesticides. Slow Food Europe is part of a joint Europe-wide action to demand bee-friendly pesticide standards in Europe.

Around 75% of global food crops rely on animal pollination. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN), today’s species are facing extinction rates 100 to 1 000 times higher than normal due to human impacts. The introduction of pesticides has sent the equilibrium between agriculture and the bees into crisis, harming non-target species, leaving pesticide residue in the environment and the food chain even many years after their use. The recent FAO report on biodiversity has shown significant declines in the number of birds and insects, in particular bees and other pollinators, naming pesticides as one of the main drivers.

Slow Food Europe is concerned that, in the absence of strict European safety rules, many bee-killing pesticides will continue to be used, and more will come to the market, rendering the much-celebrated ban of three neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe last year redundant. Slow Food Europe is certain that to save the bees, the EU needs to outlaw all bee-killing pesticides, not just three of them.

Symbolically, on World Bee Day, representatives of EU Member States gather to discuss the implementation of toxicity assessment standards, known as the Bee Guidance Document, developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2013. However, EFSA only fully applied the new rules in the assessment of three neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam), which were banned in the EU in 2018. Until today, EU national governments have failed to endorse the use of the 2013 Bee Guidance Document in all other pesticide decisions. The EU Ombudsman has recognized recently that the process of the Bee Guidance Document adoption “constitutes maladministration” as the Commission has refused to grant public access to the positions of Members States.

Slow Food Europe actively advocates for the full implementation of the Bee Guidance Document and is part of a joint coalition of civil society organizations asking decision-makers to save the bees and for greater transparency in the risk assessment process. On May 9, the most recent joint action took place in several European cities: beekeepers and environmental groups handed in a petition signed by over 230,000 Europeans to their national agriculture ministers in 7 European capitals asking to improve the way the EU tests all new pesticides. Slow Food’s local group of beekeepers and activists addressed these concerns to the Ministry of Agriculture in Rome and, ahead of the meeting in Brussels, asked the Italian government to effectively protect bees from harmful pesticides.

On World Bee Day, Slow Food has also launched an international “Slow Bees” action, aiming to rise in defense of pollinators and provide the greater resonance, outreach, and visibility to the threats bees and other pollinators, plants and biodiversity face today. The worldwide mobilization to act will be launched online, using hashtags #onetreeforahive  #plantoneforpollinators #slowtreesforbees.

Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe

New Report on World Bee Day Paints Bleak Picture of Extinction and Decline

World Bee Day: 20 May 2019



Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity – a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day, which coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.

2018 was the first observance of World Bee Day.

2019 celebrations

The main purpose of the events is to spread awareness of the significance of bees and other pollinators for our survival. We must realise that simply proclaiming World Bee Day does not do much for bees and other pollinators; the main work aiming towards their preservation still needs to be undertaken and World Bee Day is an excellent opportunity in this regard. Beekeepers and nature conservationists would like to ask everybody to help improve the conditions for bees, thus improving conditions for the survival of people. No major steps are needed; what counts is each and every action that facilitates the existence of bees.



Every individual can contribute to the preservation of bees and other pollinators:

  • Plant nectar-bearing flowers for decorative purposes on balconies, terraces, and gardens.
  • Buy honey and other hive products from your nearest local beekeeper.
  • Raise awareness among children and adolescents on the importance of bees and express your support for beekeepers.
  • Set up a pollinator farm on your balcony, terrace, or garden; you can either make it yourself or buy at any home furnishings store.
  • Preserve old meadows – which feature a more diverse array of flowers – and sow nectar-bearing plants.
  • Cut grass on meadows only after the nectar-bearing plants have finished blooming.
  • Offer suitable farming locations for the temporary or permanent settlement of bees so that they have suitable pasture; as a consequence, they will pollinate our plants, which will thereby bear more fruit.
  • Use pesticides that do not harm bees, and spray them in windless weather, either early in the morning or late at night, when bees withdraw from blossoms.
  • Mulch blooming plants in orchards and vineyards before spraying them with pesticides so that they do not attract bees after being sprayed.


Fascination of Plants Day 18 May 2019

The 18th of May will be the 5th international Fascination of Plants Day, organised by thousands of scientists, teachers, companies and farmers under the umbrella of EPSO to celebrate plants in all their diversity and wonder.

The goal of this activity is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and the production of plant-based non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals.

Many plant science institutions, universities, schools, botanical gardens and museums, together with farmers and industry, have opened their doors during the Fascination of Plants Day in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

This year the events will be held worldwide on and around the international Fascination of Plants Day on 18th May 2019. Already 49 countries have confirmed their participation. Many plant science institutions, universities, botanical gardens, and museums, together with farmers and companies, will open their doors with a variety of plant-based interactive events for all the family. Find out what will happen near you and who to contact on your country’s page at www.plantday18may.org.

EU Green Week 2019


EU Green Week 2019 takes place from 13 to 17 May. The official opening event – to be attended by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella and by the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Region, Adam Struzik – will be hosted by the Mazowieckie Region and held in Warsaw, Poland on 13 May.

The EU Green Week high-level conference is scheduled for 15 to 17 May in Brussels. Open to environmental stakeholders and the wider public, it also includes the European Week for Waste Reduction award ceremony hosted by the EU Committee of the Regions and the LIFE award ceremony on 15 and 16 May respectively.

An occasion for discussion

Organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment for nearly 20 years and attracting leading figures from across the globe, Green Week is the biggest annual occasion for discussion of EU environmental policy. It fosters debate among European-, national- and local-level stakeholders in order to generate input into policymaking and implementation.

These debates support the growth of a Europe-wide community of actors involved in environmental capacity building and sharing of practices, as well as motivating citizens to engage with EU environmental efforts and make their own contributions.

The 2019 theme

EU environmental laws have a huge impact on our lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and encourage recycling. But to make a real difference, they must be implemented in full.

On 27 March 2019, the European Commission published a set of reports on the state of implementation of environmental laws in Europe: the Environmental Implementation Review. EU Green Week 2019 will weigh up the findings of this Review, asking questions like: How do EU environmental laws benefit citizens? What does successful implementation look like? Why and where do implementation gaps exist? How can stakeholders take ownership of EU laws? And how can the EU facilitate this while making sure citizens’ voices are heard?

Partner events

Like every year, the EU Green Week will include many partner events organised around Europe in April and May by a large variety of stakeholders, including local authorities, NGOs and businesses. Examples include: a mock trial on a problem related to application of environmental legislation organised by students at Lyon Law School on 26 April; a living lab

in Gothenburg on 8 May, which enables suppliers of fossil-free products to present them to potential buyers such as Hoppet, a fossil-free preschool; and the Know What’s Below workshop on underwater heritage conservation on 15 to 19 May, largely held on a boat off Italy’s Aegadian Islands.

#MyGreenAction challenge

Running from 21 March to 10 May, the #MyGreenAction challenge invites young Europeans to share photos, videos or illustrations of actions they take to ensure a greener future via their own Instagram or Twitter accounts, or below official European Commission #MyGreenAction challenge Facebook posts. Every two weeks, three submissions will be chosen to feature on Commission social media channels and the best 10 entries overall will be included in a summary video to be shown at the EU Green Week.

European elections

EU Green Week 2019 takes place during the run-up to the European elections on 23 to 26 May. By demonstrating the added value of the EU’s environmental work in recent years, it represents an opportunity to promote fully informed democratic engagement (especially among first-time voters).

See more:

The EU Environmental Implementation Review: Common challenges and how to combine efforts to deliver better results