Meeting of Burgas NGOs


On March 10, at 17:00, a working meeting of Burgas NGOs was held in the Community Center of Hamalogika, Burgas. Via Pontica Foundation Project Coordinator attended the event, which was initiated by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. More than twenty NGO representatives from the Burgas Region participated in the consideration of issues, related to the promotion of the role of the non-governmental sector in Bulgarian society.
There were two main topics discussed: updating the Register of existing organizations on the territory of the municipality and discussion on the upcoming election of members of the Civil Society Development Council.

The Civil Society Development Council is an advisory body to the Council of Ministers, established on the basis of Art. 4 of the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act. The Council has the functions to develop and implement a policy to support the development of civil society in Bulgaria. Fourteen non-governmental organizations are expected to be included in its structure, which will work under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev. The focus is the process of creating, implementing and reporting on the Strategy for Supporting the Development of Civic Organizations. The members of the Council are yet to determine and vote.

All colleagues from the non-governmental sector agreed that it would be good practice for such meetings to be initiated on a regular basis so that they could work together on important and relevant topics related to policy-making and practice at national level in line with sustainable and responsible development of our country and society.


The Use of Plant Protection Products Is Restricted for Conservation Purposes of Bee Families


The use of Plant Protection Products (PPP) is restricted for conservation purposes of bee families. The changes aim at introducing more restrictive time constraints when performing treatments. This is envisaged by the Draft amendment of Ordinance No. 13 of 2016 on the Measures for the Protection of Bees and Bee Families from poisoning and the ways of carrying out plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities. Opinions and proposals on it may be submitted within 30 days.

Plant protection products identified as “Hazardous to the bees” will only be used during the dark part of the day with ground handling equipment. This will be done in accordance with the procedure for disclosure of plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities.

Any systemic action insecticides not identified as “Hazardous to the bees” will be used on the land or aviation technology from sunset until 2 hours after sunrise. Plant protection products other than those listed will be applied by sunset until 10:00 a.m. of the next day, with aviation or ground equipment.Low-risk, microbial-based PPP will be used with ground or aviation equipment without a time limit.

The amendments to the Ordinance provide for a ban on PPP treatment, disinfection and disinfestation preparations for flowering vegetation areas, pastureland, water areas and treatment outside the buffer zones designated when the PPP is authorized. The use of food bait substances for bees is prohibited, except in the case of the addition of repellents.

To improve the control over the use of PPPs, inspections will be launched by inspectors from the Regional Food Safety Directorates (RFAs) and the Regional Directorates of Agriculture. Including weekends, they will be available for unregistered processing alerts.

The amendments to Ordinance No. 13 also provide for an improvement of the notification mechanism through the establishment of an electronic platform for the disclosure of plant protection, disinfection and disinfestation activities. Through it, the owners of apiaries will be informed about upcoming treatments with ground or aviation equipment and take timely measures by them to protect the bee families from poisoning.

The proposals seek to ensure a better protection of bees and bee families by strengthening the control, regulation of all measures and procedures related to the protection of bees from poisoning.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

EU Must Stop Importing Food Treated with Banned Pesticides


Read the full letter to European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides HERE.


The European Commission needs to decide whether or not to allow residues of pesticides that are not allowed in the EU because they have been classified as mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction . According to an investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory

, the previous Commission was open to allowing so-called “import tolerances” (residue levels that can be detected) also for these highly dangerous pesticides. Now the new Commission has to take the final decision.

The discussion comes at a time when the Von der Leyen Commission has said that it wants to reduce the use and risk of pesticides.

At the same time, the EU continues to export pesticides that it has banned for use and sale within Europe due to health and environmental concerns. For example, in 2018, France and Denmark exported 12.7 tons of the insecticide malathion to 23 non-EU countries. France and Germany also exported the insecticide cyfluthrin, and Germany exported the plant growth regulator cyanamide and the herbicides acetochlor and tepraloxydim, according to official records. All these chemicals are ‘highly hazardous’ and not allowed for use in the EU.

The EU also imports residues of highly hazardous pesticides in agricultural products. For example, residues of the herbicide glufosinate, which may damage fertility or foetuses are permitted in fruits, nuts, soya and meat. Likewise, residues of carbendazim, which may cause genetic defects are permitted in cereals, vegetables, fruits and nuts. These pesticides were not banned by the EU but withdrawn from the market by their manufacturers when it became clear that they did not meet EU’s approval criteria.

This means a pesticide which is banned for use in Europe can be sold to a third country, used on crops, and then imported back into Europe as a residue.

A wide range of NGOs have written to the EU Commission to say that this cannot happen

. The EU needs to be consistent. If a pesticide isn’t allowed, it shouldn’t be exported, nor imported as a residue.

by Greenpeace European Unit


Stamps with the Theme World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Were Donated to the Via Pontica Foundation


A collection of WWF-themed postage stamps have been donated to the Via Pontica Foundation. It presents some of the most amazing wild birds and animals in the world.


See the Katalog Postage Stamps WWF 2019 HERE


The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of humanity’s footprint on the environment.

It is the world’s largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries with the help of 7,000 employees and over 5 million volunteers, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects. WWF is a foundation, with 55% of funding from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources (such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID) and 8% from corporations in 2014.



WWF has been active in Bulgaria since the early 1990s. Conservation activities initially focused on the lower Danube and its tributaries, but have since expanded into a comprehensive programme that includes work on forest protection and sustainable forestry management (FSC), protected areas, freshwater as well as agriculture and rural development. In 2006, WWF established a registered organisation in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria also uses wild birds and animals as its theme for a series of postage stamps to highlight the active work on biodiversity conservation and restoration and the guaranteeing the sustainable development in the country.

Some of the most beautiful birds found along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast were depicted in a series of four postage stamps, which was put into use on February 1, 2019. The initiator of the branding was the Via Pontica Foundation.


Via Pontica Bird Migratory Route Sheet

Great Crested Grebe      Podiceps cristatus

Little Egret                        Egretta garzetta

Great White Pelican      Pelecanus onocrotalus

Pygmy Cormorant         Microcarbo pygmaeus


Postage Stamps Validation-01.02.2019


A New Approach to the Management of the Protected Areas of the European Natura 2000 Network in Bulgaria


On February 28, the team of the Via Pontica Foundation took part in the first regional event for the Burgas Region on the topic: “Supporting a Better Understanding of the Natura 2000 Management Approach in Bulgaria”. The event is implemented within the framework of the Natura 2000 Knowledge project under the Operational Program Environment. A total of three national campaigns is foreseen in all regional cities to present and introduce the new management approach, which is the fruit of intense analysis, evaluation of successful work models and exploration of other countries’ experiences through field missions.

At the heart of the national campaign are the two directives that set out the Natura 2000 framework in Bulgaria, namely the Habitats Directive, which defines 234 protected areas in Bulgaria and the Birds Directive, which defines 120 protected areas in Bulgaria.



In the presentation panels, experts from the Ministry of Environment and Water presented the new priority framework for action through a hybrid / territorial / management approach, whereby our country fulfills its obligations under the two directives by providing for adequate conservation, administrative and contractual measures.

The eight principles of European harmonization of Natura 2000 management in Bulgaria were presented, for implementation, followed by the introduction of four new units, whose work sets out a four-step approach for setting goals.

In numbers, the geographical coverage of NATURA 2000 in Bulgaria is just over 35% of the country’s territory, with the Burgas region, accounting for 441,924 ha, which places it second after the Haskovo region.

This means that engagement at the regional level must be extremely high. The implementation of the developed management and communication framework will involve 140 experts throughout the country, of which 120 are allocated to regional structures. Due to the above data, 13 specialists are foreseen for the Burgas region. Human resources will be the basis for carrying out the planned activities from national to regional level and their scientific and capacity collateral.



All stakeholders were aware of the envisaged changes to the legal and regulatory framework, and it should be noted that the Law on Amendments to the Biodiversity Act was submitted for approval to the Council of Ministers, together with the necessary justification and financial analysis.

The clearly defined governance framework, supported by the establishment of a National Advisory Board and the 16 territorial managing authorities involved, will have the task of putting in place concrete measures for the implementation of the national standards set within six years. The establishment of a stakeholder committee is foreseen as a first step at local level.

In conclusion, it can be summarized that state-level support is also provided for the development and management of each specific action plan, but high-quality and intensive work is expected from all stakeholders at the local level to use and apply the knowledge of local structures, experts and their deep knowledge of problems and opportunities when implementing specific measures, goals and objectives.

It is envisaged that a new priority action framework will be presented at the second workshop.

Measures to Reduce Marine Litter


On February 20, 2020, Information Day was held in the city of Burgas, at the Flora Exhibition Center of the Seaside Park, Hall # 2, on the Call for proposals “Small Grant Scheme for Marine Litter Reduction Measures” under the Outcome 2: “Assessment, Monitoring and Management System of Marine Waters Developed” under the Environment Protection and Climate Change Programme of EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021.

Members of the RedMarLitter BSB552 “Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal AreasProject team, implemented jointly with Burgas Municipality, University of Constanta-Romania, Tbilisi State University-Georgia and lead partner the Via Pontica Foundation-Bulgaria, attended the event.

Welcoming remarks by Deputy Minister  Atanaska Nikolova and Prof. Dr. Sevdalina Turmanova – Chairman of the Municipal Council of Burgas, launched the presentation panel, focusing discussion on the basic concepts, eligible applicants and partners, partnership agreement, budget completion and other specific conditions.

“This year, Bulgaria has focused its efforts on preserving the unique protection of the Black Sea in order to develop quality tourism, fisheries and aquaculture and make our cities cleaner and more attractive. According to the European Commission, between 150 thousand and 500 thousand tons of waste per year fall into the world’s oceans and seas, so the problem is with micro plastics that go into our bodies, so we are targeting local authorities to actively involve citizens in this policy. Be active in the preparation of project proposals, “said Deputy Minister Atanaska Nikolova.

The European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 provides funding from the grants assured by the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

The aim is to reduce economic and social disparities in Europe and to strengthen bilateral relations between donor countries and beneficiary countries by financing several priority sectors, including the environment, civil society and others.

The aim of the Small Grant Scheme is to finance projects implementing initiatives for the reduction of the amount of marine litter, including training and awareness-raising regarding marine pollution.

In line with all the measures taken under the RedMarLiter Project and in its desire to enrich and upgrade the established cooperation with other partners under the Black Sea Basin 2014-2020 Operational Program, the Via Pontica Foundation actively pursues all possibilities for solving this problem of international importance.

The Postage Stamp Catalog 2019, Containing the Series of Postage Stamps, Initiated by the Via Pontica Foundation, Has Been Published

The catalog of postage stamps 2019 with detailed information and images of all Bulgarian stamps and blocks printed in 2019 has been published.

Among them is a series of postage stamps initiated by the Via Pontica Foundation with four of the most beautiful waterfowl species on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast – the Great White Pelican, Eurasian Bittern, Little Egret and Pigmy Cormorant.

This was one of the events,  through which the Via Pontica Foundation celebrated World Wetlands Day – 02 February and promote the richness of biodiversity in some of the most important and significant for Bulgaria wetlands – Burgas, to change people’s attitudes towards the protected areas and direct the public energy towards awareness of the opportunities, benefits and responsibilities of biodiversity and species, so as to have a clean nature for the generations after us.



Who Are the Awarded Children Who Participated in the Ecopower Competition



On the occasion of February 2, the World Wetlands Day, the Via Pontica Foundation and the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya organized the Ecopower Competition for the most interesting environmental comic book: Superheroes in Wetlands Conservation and the Environment.



The jury of the competition: Mitko Ivanov – artist and historian, Ms. Milena Yarmova, Chief Expert of RIEW and Anna Yancheva Project Coordinator of Via Pontica Foundation works with exceptional professionalism and positivism and distinguished the following participants:



  1. Catherine Skarleva, NBU “Michael Lakatnik” – voucher for a free visit to Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya, board game and advertising materials2. Victoria Stoyanova, Lyuben Karavelov Primary School – board game and advertising materials

    3. Presian Tanchev, “Hristo Botev” Primary School, Sarafovo – board game and promotional materials



In addition to the prizes awarded for the first three places provided by the Via Pontica Foundation, Chief Expert Ms. Milena Yarmova from RIEW Burgas and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Svetla Dalakchieva from the Natural History Museum-Burgas, also expressed their desire to distinguish several works with non-standard awards.



The two teams, Natalie, Andrea and Alex from the A.G. Kozhakafaliya Primary School and Deyan, Joanna, Yana, Samuel, Iveta and Nedelcho from the NBU “Michael Lakatnik”, who presented electronic and watercolor comics will have the opportunity to spend a day working in the respective institutions to get acquainted with the activities of the experts on the protection of wetlands and the environment.

A special award from the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water – Backpack “Young Environmentalist” also received Theo Gotsev from the”A.G. Kozhakafalia” Primary School.



The exhibition of the works of the young creators at the Flora Burgas Exhibition Center, designed for the competition for environmental comics, aroused great interest and approval among the Burgas public.



Young Burgas Citizens Inspired Celebrated World Wetlands Day 2020


Today, 02/07/2020, at the Flora Exposure Center Burgas, the Via Pontica Foundation together with the Municipality of Burgas and RIEW Burgas opened the Wetlands Days 2020. As a full member of Wetlands International and in coordination with the Ramsar Convention on the occasion of 2 February – World Wetlands Day, the Foundation organizes an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of wetland biodiversity. The theme for 2020 is “Wetlands and Biodiversity”.



The events, which were delayed by a few days this year due to the flu vacations, are being held under the patronage of Ms. Yordanka Ananieva, Deputy Mayor of education, health and social affairs. It started with the Ecopower Information Day. More than 50 people – students, teachers, parents, representatives of NGOs and institutions – actively participated in the forum.



The subject line of the event was dedicated to the theme of “Superheroes in wetland conservation and the environment” as the teenagers had the opportunity to present works of comic competition with an environmental focus, to listen to lectures about the richness of the fauna and flora in the wetlands of Burgas region, to share impressions and ideas about environmental protection.



Experts, educators and interest groups presented and defended the message that everyone can be a hero of the day in shared care for nature, biodiversity and wetlands. With innovative techniques instead of academics, the lecturers conducted guest trainings – “superheroes” in protecting wetlands and the environment, fascinatingly telling the participants about the importance of wetlands and biodiversity and making the event unforgettable for young wits.



The children from the Captain Planet Ecoclub at the A.G. Kozhakafalia Elementary School have presented a project of a game-mobile application for migratory birds, which they are developing together with the Via Pontica Foundation and the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism Vaya. The scope in which children are presented to children can be regarded as extremely successful in terms of accessibility and competitive stimulation.



The exhibition of works by young artists created for the eco-friendly comic book competition aroused great interest and approval. A special jury had a difficult task to distinguish the best works. In addition to the prizes awarded for the first three places provided by the Via Pontica Foundation, Chief Expert Milena Yarmova from RIEW Burgas and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Svetla Dalakchieva from the Natural History Museum-Burgas, also expressed their desire to distinguish several works with non-standard awards. The two teams that presented the electronic and watercolor comics will have the opportunity to spend a day working in the respective institutions to get acquainted with the activities of the experts and will appreciate that the Superheroes in the protection of wetlands and the environment are not only on paper.



Via Pontica Foundation expresses its special thanks to the jury of the comic competition consisting of Mitko Ivanov – artist and historian, and Ms. Milena Yarmova, RIEW Chief Expert, who worked with exceptional professionalism and positivism!

Sincere thanks also to the donors: the poet Stoyan Damyanov and the International Trade and Cultural Center “Geopan” represented by Dr. Stefan Peikov!



It should also be noted the involvement, dedication, joy and energy of directors, teachers, social workers and volunteers who embraced the idea and inspired children to create and challenge with non-standard characters, dialogues and solutions for the conservation of natural resources.



As the competition is of great interest, all received works will be exhibited within a week at the Flora EC Round Hall. All citizens and guests of the city are welcome to explore and continue the initiative to protect the thriving life in the wetlands of the Burgas region with further ideas.



With the organization of the Wetlands Days 2020 and the string of initiatives born in collaboration with partners and colleagues, the Via Pontica Foundation team is extremely happy, that for the next year, it has managed to put on the agenda a topic of paramount importance, which has been continued in a series of events and has attracted new adherents and nature lovers.


EUROPARC Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships


Each year, with the support of the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S., EUROPARC awards three scholarships to young conservationists working for the benefit of Protected Areas. Each scholarship is worth €3,000 and enables successful applicants to undertake a study visit on a particular theme to one or more Protected Areas in Europe. Although there are various scholarships for students, there are very few for people who have already started their careers.

Applicants must be under 35 years of age and the deadline to apply is 3 May 2020.

You can find out more information via this link: