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Balkani: Save the Kresna Gorge

It has been more than 20 years now that Bulgarian environmental NGOs, including the SEENET member “Balkani Wildlife Society”, together with local communities have been fighting to protect the “Kresna Gorge”, its rich biodiversity and its people from the EU commission funded trans-European highway.

Balkani Wildlife Society, SEENET member organization from Bulgaria, has been conducting the "Save Kresna Gorge” campaign since 1997, aiming to preserve the Kresna Gorge - an important site for biodiversity in southwestern Bulgaria, with very high species richness, NATURA 2000 area, bio-corridor, bio-geographical border - which is endangered by the “Struma Мotorway”, part of the trans-European highway.

Several Bulgarian environmental NGOs are working together with Balkani in a coalition for this campaign – the “Save Kresna Gorge” coalition - which is the longest-lasting nature conservation campaign in Bulgaria. Years 2019 and 2020 are expected to be crucial in this campaign.

The “Save Kresna Gorge” coalition is advocating for the construction of an alternative route that will save Kresna Gorge’s invaluable nature and provide local people with local road access and opportunities for tourism. The final outcome of the campaign depends on the final decisions taken by authorities, both Bulgarian and European.

Here you can see the campaign’s latest video.

In 2019 Balkani Wildlife Society actively participated in preparing notifications and complaints to the European Commission and the Bern Convention institutions. Balkani also organized a series of meetings and media events in the local town of Kresna to support the campaign.

During the last three months of 2019 Balkani Wildlife Society has an important task within this campaign for which they need support from the SEENET network and its members . The task is to assist the residents of the city of Kresna in collecting signatures in support of their own national citizen initiative and sending them to the Bulgarian Government and the European Commission. This is the first organized action of local people in support of Save Kresna Gorge campaign, and still needs some organized support to succeed.

The citizens initiative is directed to the Bulgarian Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission, an appeal backed by a subscription which has legal force for the Bulgarian government - they would need to consider it and to answer the demands in the appeal. The initiative started about 4 months ago, but it was not completed - the local people, initiators from the town themselves, failed to collect the necessary signatures, probably because of the elections taking place at that time. As the elections are now over, Balkani wants to help Kresna’s local community to make the initiative happen. With this aim, Balkani is applying for a “support to SEENET members” subgrant to bring volunteers to Kresna to meet and support local people collecting signatures during end of November/beginning of December. Besides, support from the rest of SEENET members in terms of solidarity photos and messages and visibility to our campaign, as well as a letter of support directed to the Bern Convention delegates will be more than welcomed.

Campaign’s Facebook page

Campaign's webpage

#SaveKresnaGorge wemove.eu online petition video

Here you can still sign the online petition to the Bulgarian Government and the European Commission.

11.11.2019.