We invite you to join our campaign
The Place for Future campaign evolved as a continuation of the eponymous project, which was carried out with the financial assistance of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe, CEE Trust.
- 4.ANALIS and Ideas
- 5. The UNIVERSITY
- Publications in English
- Publications in Français
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- April 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- July 2009
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Tagsanalis A Place For Future civil participation cultural heritage Culture of the Future debates of the future education campaigns Enviornmentalists crews Enviornmental Menagement NBU Enviornmental NGOs For Students For the Nature Georgi Stefanov Gergana Kosturkova grassroots green art green classics green documents green history green practics green volunteers Kalin Nenov Lections New Culture and Spirituality Our Movies Petar Kanev Political Science NBU practical education Practice seminaire-discussion Students Auteurs Sustainable Development trainingship Traveling Seminair TRAVELING UNIVERSITY University Outdoor University Outdoor in Vitosha Mountain WITH OUR SUPPORT Витоша Непознатата Витоша Нов български университет арх. Мартин Микуш ас. Радосвета Кръстанова гмо наука на бъдещето
Shtastlivetsa Association - The Happy Ones
I. HERE AND NOW
II. FUTURE IN THE PAST
III. UNIVERSIY DISCIPLINES
IV. CULTURE OF THE FUTURE
V. UNIVERSITY OUTDOOR
VI. A PLECE FOR AUTEOURS
VII. DIARY OF THE CAMPAIGN
- дебати на бъдещето
- практическо обучение
- пътуващ университет
- с наша подкрепа
- семинар - дискусия
VIII. A PLACE FOR COMMUNICATION
VIIII. WHO WE ARE
X. A PLACE FOR MEETINGS - links
- граждански инициативи
- екологични организации
- нова култура и духовност
- образователни кампании
- Община Чипровци
- Природен парк Витоша
- природозащитни групи
Y. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT and CIVIL PARTICIPATION - Programe documets
- Наръчник на гражданина в ЕС
- Орхуска конвенция
- Устойчиво развитие: Доклад на Брундланд пред ООН: “Нашето общо бъдеще”
Sustainable development and civil participation are not only key priorities for the future of the European Union. They are also key projects for the future of us all.
PLACE FOR FUTURE presents real examples of civil participation and good practices of sustainable development in an academic environment.
A key word of the project is interaction.
Introducing a wide public debate into universities, the project provides opportunities for interaction between active members of civil society and the academic community.
PLACE FOR FUTURE integrates the issues of real civil participation into students’ education as part of the project for sustainable development of our society.
University environment is the natural place for visions and innovative projects for the future to be born. University education is meant to create an intellectual elite – competent specialists with active stances on civil issues.
PLACE FOR FUTURE contributes to this goal.
The project combines two aspects. First, by organizing various events in an academic environment, we support active civil initiatives. And second, in this way PLACE FOR FUTURE incorporates innovative forms of training into higher education. The students acquire knowledge and experience not only for the theoretical but also for the practical aspect of civil participation, as a basic element of sustainable development.
The two aspects of the PLACE FOR FUTURE project determine the two target groups: the university community and the spontaneous civil initiatives dealing with concrete issues. Some of the actors in these two sectors actually span both of them.
These two aspects also determine the innovative and interdisciplinary nature of the project.
The PLACE FOR FUTURE project integrates the practical dimensions of civil participation and sustainable development into university education. It introduces relevant issues and trends into specific courses and subjects, by carrying out cаse studies, writing reports and diploma theses, and participation in practices and internships in the non-governmental sector, team project work, summer field work and traveling seminars.
The involvement of our academic partners gives civil initiatives the opportunity to get specific expert and professional help. On the other side, the experience of civil initiatives enriches university education with concrete good practices and topics for educational activities.
The unique Resource Fund of the PLACE FOR FUTURE project allows original student and civil initiatives to be realized.
The wide public debate in an academic environment is carried out by the team and partners of PLACE FOR FUTURE through a series of thematic and conceptually related events – seminars, discussions, round-table talks, experience exchange meetings, exhibitions, ateliers, projections, press conferences.
The partnering departments, faculties and non-governmental organizations provide expert, logistic, and administrative assistance for the realization of the project’s aims.
PLACE FOR FUTURE
- Informing the academic milieu of the existing civil initiatives for environmental conservation and sustainable development
- Students’ and professors’ commitment to support these civil initiatives
- Creating an academic space for ideas and experience sharing and exchange
- Encouraging and stimulating the network of already existing active university and inter-university student groups or initiatives tackling with various current environmental protection and sustainable development issues
- Improving civil initiatives’ capacity via sharing effective practices and expert support by professors and NGO experts
- Integration of the core Project’s sustainable development concepts and practices into the students’ curricula and professors’ schedules as internships and traineeships
- (1) Could we Save Bulgaria’s Nature? - Debate with the participation of For the Nature Coalition and representatives of partnering Departments at New Bulgarian University /October 23, 2008, New Bulgarian University, hall 409, Building 1/
- (2) Nature With no Borders - discussion with David Morand, head of France – Rila Association /October 28, 2008, New Bulgarian University, Small Aula/
- (3) Оfficial presentation of Place for Future Project /aims, core concepts, activities, team members, Project’s partners; screening of a short documentary about the project created and directed by NBU students /October 30, 2008, New Bulgarian University, hall 409, Building 1/
- (10) My Vitosha - seminar-discussion about Vitosha Nature Park with the participation of partnering NGOs /Katerina Rakovska /WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme/, Aleksander Dunchev /Association of Bulgarian Parks/, Nadezhda Maksimova /For the Nature Coalition/, University Club for Ecology and Sustainable Development in Sofia University UNECO and Place for Future students/ /December 11, 2008, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Rector’s Office, Auditorium 65/
- a Place for Future short documentary directed and produced by NBU students Elena Koleva and GrigorAtanasov from the Cinema, Advertisement and Show Business Department at NBU; screened at the Official presentation of Place for Future Project /October 30, 2008, New Bulgarian University/
- involvement of NBU’s Student Council in organizing and logistically supporting Bulgaria – a Country with no Future or а Place for Future photo exhibition (see pt. 6 below)
- (8) Water - screening of The Great Secret of Water, followed by a lecture by Prof. Vassil Simeonov /Sofia University/, a screening of the Place for Future documentary and a discussion /November 05, 2008, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridsky, Rector’s Office, Auditorium 65/ - organized in collaboration with the University Club for Ecology and Sustainable Development in Sofia University UNECO
- (11) A public discussion of problems, the current state of and future plans for urban development of the Student Campus area Studentski grad, organised by a students’ intiative committee, including the Association for Development and Public Control of Student Hostels and Canteens SROKSOS and other students NGOs, supported by Place for Future; attended by the Vice-minister of Health Stoyan Stoyanov /December 16, 2008, Seminar Hall of American University, Student Campus area Studentski grad, Sofia/
- (12) Water 2 - screening of The Great Secret of Water ІІ, presentations by students and discussion of the issues of water resources and supply in Bulgaria – organized by the University Club for Ecology and Sustainable Development in Sofia University UNECO and supported by Place for Future /December 17, 2008, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridsky, Rector’s Office, Auditorium 65/
- (14) Culture of the Future – Projects and Practices for Sustainable Development - a BA course at Sofia University, Department of Culture’s Theory and History /Thursdays, 1.15 – 3.00 p.m., Department of Culture’s Theory and History, Block 1, hall 410; director and lecturer of the Course: Petar Kanev, PhD in Philosophy/
- (15) Non-governmental Organizations and Management – a module within Comparative Politics and International Affairs MA Programme at the Political Science Department, NBU /Thursdays, 6.00 – 7.30 p.m., hall 602, Building 2, NBU; director and lecturer of the Module: Ass. Prof. Radosveta Krestanova/
- (16) European Projects – a module within the Comparative Politics and International Affairs MA Programme at Political Science Department, NBU /Thursdays, in various institutions and organizations involved in the implementation of EU Operational Programs’ projects; director and lecturer of the Module: ass. Prof. Radosveta Krestanova/
- (5) Youth in the Green Movement – seminar with the participation of Project team members and students from partnering Departments at NBU – Mass Communications, Economics and Business Administration and Political Science Departments /October 11, 2008, NBU, Building 1, hall 409/
- (6) The BIG Little Choices – lecture by Kalin Nenov and Architect Martin Mikush and discussion with students from various departments at NBU /November 12, 2008, NBU, hall 214, Building 1/
- (7) The BIG Little Compost - a workshop demonstrating the construction of a compost container by NBU students; organised and supervised by Martin Mikush, Yuliana Nascova and Kalin Nenov /November 14, 2008, back yard of NBU/
- (9) Planting trees at the Dragoman Marsh, with the participation of students involved in Place for Future; organised and supervised by Georgi Stefanov and partnering NGOs – Balkani Wildlife Society and The Centre for Environmental Information and Education /December 06, 2008, Dragoman/
- (13) Sofia – a City for People – a round table about civil participation in the Sofia Municipality Council and topical problems of Sofia, with the participation of representatives of civil initiatives related to various urban issues /December 18, 2008, NBU, Building 1, hall 409/
- (4) Bulgaria – a Country with no Future or a Place for Future photo exhibition, in collaboration with NBU’s Student Council /October 30-November 7, 2008, Small Aula, NBU/
- Arch. Martin Mikush – Saving a Tree, the Citizen’s Way; Bulgarian Centre for Non-Profit Law - counseling on NGO law
- A survey measuring awareness about civil organizations and initiatives and civic culture among academic circles; some 200 quizzes collected, processed, analyzed and summarized
- Martin Valchev, a Cultural Studies student, doing an internship at Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation
- Gabriela Petrova, Gergana Kosturkova, Violeta Krusteva – Cultural Studies students, doing an internship at Shtastlivetza Sofia Civil Association
- ongoing negotiations with Vitosha Nature Park and the Municipality of Chiprovtsi
Аchievements and lessons:
- Successful integration of project activities into the curricula
- Team has expanded, involving active students
- Topicality of project accounts for extra activities and events, eg. (11), media, academic and public interest
- Stimulating our NGO partners to offer more internships
- Preparation of summer traineeships
Probably you have heard of civil initiatives such as Save Irakli or Sofia - A City for People. PLACE FOR FUTURE gives you the opportunity to meet their participants – live and in person. Because civil community in Bulgaria is not only an abstract term or a nice wish – it has its actual incarnations in real living people and concrete communities…
• Interaction among civil initiatives and communities on the one hand, and between civil initiatives, and university lecturers and students on the other – communication, debates, discussions, mutual training, practical examples and common work…
For a living social connection of solidarity and help among various civil and professional communities, between active civil groups and the academic community…
In this interaction, through experience exchange and practical exercises related to their professional realization, students acquire skills for an integrated approach to reality and for being socially active, and develop their civil competency.
• Involving the potential of expert representatives of the academic environment and the partnering non-governmental organizations; and engaging students by direct participation in the project activities as part of their training through:
- Offering academic credits for specialized courses connected to the project
- Independent work
- Course projects and theses
- Internships in NGO or another partnering organization
- Summer practice
- Travelling seminar
- Participation in round-table talks, discussions, seminars
- Providing opportunities for independent initiatives
Experience has convinced us that questioning and protesting are not enough to build a future from our surrounding environment.
We have devoted ourselves to this project because it is necessary to offer solutions together for a kind of development that has future.
There’s а place for you.
You can always find us at place.for.future -at- gmail.com.
Shtastlivetza Sofia Civil Association was founded in the beginning of 2006 as a spontaneous civil initiative (initially known as the Initiative Committee for Cleanness and Legality) in response to the problems of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The idea of the association is to bring together concerned citizens from different professional and social areas in joint actions on key issues of public interest.
The main objectives in the Shtastlivetza statute include: Achieving real and effective civil control over the work and decisions of state and municipal authorities; participation in the decision making and implementing processes; Improving the living environment of the people in Sofia; Achieving transparency and awareness of the citizens of the actions of state and municipal authorities.
In Shtastlivetza, we are connected by the values and practices of civil competency and activity, the awareness of the necessity of civil education, the protection of nature, including human nature and the love of people, life and living nature – the love that brings happiness.
The name Shtastlivetza (’The Happy One’ in Bulgarian) largely expresses the values uniting the association. It combines the byname of our most famous citizen and environmentalist - the great democrat and life-affirming writer Aleko Konstantinov; the most popular region in the Vitosha mountain; and happiness: the state of mind that one enters when participating in the public processes actively and with a pure heart.
The association strives for creating interconnections between people with common values and fostering a wide public debate on the major issues connected to our natural living environment.
So far Shtastlivetza has initiated and participated in a variety of events – public discussions, press conferences, media appearances, meetings with institution representatives, rallies, petitions, debates, lectures, happenings and performances, exhibitions, workshops…
In 2006, Shtastlivetsa members were part of the permanent civil participation in the Sofia Municipal Commission of Environment, Waters and Forests (with the right to put forward statements, recommendations and proposals, all to be voted by the commission). The association is an active participant in the public debates and all the issues related to the new Sofia Spatial Plan discussions. Since our early existence, we have been members of the ZERO WASTE civil coalition for the comprehensive resolution of the Sofia waste problem. In this connection, the association successfully carried out a project for civil advocacy under the Open Society Institute in Sofia (2006) and became an active participant in the Eco-family civil coalition.
Since the spring of 2006, all members of the association have actively participated in the campaign for protecting Irakli and the virgin places along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, and together with other civil groups and organizations have contributed to organizing a petition for Irakli and the Black Sea coast, public campaigns and university seminars about Irakli and about implementing the European network of protected areas Natura 2000 in its full version.
Since the spring of 2006, Shtastlivetza is an active member of the FOR THE NATURE Coalition.
Since 2008, the association, together with a partnering interdisciplinary team, is carrying out the university project for civil participation and sustainable development PLACE FOR FUTURE, supported by the CEE Trust. The project is the major personal contribution of Shtastlivetza to the comprehensive activity of the FOR THE NATURE coalition. It aims to create a large civil forum in a university environment and introduce the subjects of civil participation and sustainable development as a practical activity in the curricula of various university programmes.
The board of managers of Shtastlivetza” is: Chairman – Ass. Prof. Radosveta Krastanova, and members Lyudmila Ivanova and Dr. Petar Kanev.
For the period 2006-2008, Shtastlivetsa Sofia Civil Association has taken part in the following initiatives and actions:
- Official communication with competent authorities on a local, national and European level and application of the legislative regulations for information access together with other civil initiatives, organizations and active students from New Bulgarian University, Sofia University, Southwestern University, University for Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, University of National and World Economy and other universities;
- Launching and organizing petitions and presenting them to the competent authorities (petition for preservation and protection of the Black Sea coastline and Bulgarian nature in the Bulgarian National Assembly on 23 Jan 2007 and in the European Parliament on 21 April 2007);
- Organization and holding of consultative public meetings and debates;
- Appointments and discussions with representatives of competent environmental authorities – Мinistry of Environment and Waters, Parliamentary Commission of Environment, Waters and Forests, Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Waters;
- Permanent civil participation in the Sofia Municipal Commission of Environment, Waters and Forests (with the right to put forward statements, recommendations and proposals, all to be voted by the commission);
- New Sofia Spatial Plan discussions - participated with official recommendations and statements;
- Co-organizing and participating in rallies and demonstrations against the illegal garbage baling, incl. a joint rally of all civil initiatives and NGOs committed to resolving Sofia’s garbage crisis;
- Co-organizing and participating in rallies and other events in defence of Natura 2000, Irakli, Rila, Strandja, along with other civil initiatives and NGOs;
- Organizing and holding discussions, seminars and other academic events concerning the main topics of interest for the Shtastlivetsa Association (seminar-discussion “Europe, Natura 2000, civil society”, debate with Stavros Dimas - EU Environment Commissioner, student event “What did you do for the Earth?” on the occasion of 22 April 2007, Earth’s Day, screening and discussion of the documentary Water in New Bulgarian University under the “Beautiful Science – Living Memory” project, “Urban planning, regulation, nature and sustainable development” debate at the University for Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy - Sofia);
- Launching and carrying out a journalistic investigation: a documentary concerning the garbage crisis in Sofia (Nova TV broadcast – Na chisto (”On a Clean Slate”) broadcasting - Promedia Production);
- Preparation, publication and distribution of information materials, announcements, reports (Bluelink, News bg, Mediapool, Save Irakli, For the Nature - forthenature.org); media events – interviews, participation in TV broadcasts and discussions (Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National Television, 24 Hours newspaper, etc.); maintaining a mailing list and blog of Shtastlivetsa
- Preparation, publication and distribution of reviews and scientific reports on civil participation in nature protection in Bulgaria (Bluelink, For The Nature site, Save Irakli site, scientific symposia published by New Bulgarian University);
- Cooperating with and supporting civil initiatives (Save Irakli, Save Rila, Save Strandja)
- Initiation and participation in environmental coalitions (Zero Waste coalition, For The Nature coalition);
- Field trips for research and documentation of particular environmental protection issues;
- Conducting individual expert consultations for interested local parties and people and for representatives of civil initiatives;
- Filing a case against the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Waters (RIEW) – Sofia for violating environmental legislation;
- Forming a team committed to implementing an inter-university civil campaign promoting the principles and values of civil participation and sustainable development - the Place for Future team;
- Strengthening the existing partnerships and creating new ones with members of civil initiatives, NGOs and the academic circles.
The Association funding for 2006 amounted to the grant received under Performing Genuine Civil Control over the Activities of the Sofia Municipality, the Concessionaires and the State Institutions Aimed at a Proper (Environmentally and Publicly Acceptable) Solution to the Sofia Waste Crisis: a 5-month project funded by Open Society Institute, Sofia, carried out within the framework of Vindication campaigns for improving local policies, and implemented within the period April – November 2006. The principal recipient of the above project was Shtastlivetsa Sofia Civil Association (formerly known as The Initiative Committee for Cleanness and Legality).
The project grant (5000 BGN) was spent for carrying out journalistic investigations and field trips to the sites of interest, organizing exhibitions, drafting and translating experts’ statements.
For 2007, the generated revenue of Shtastlivetsa Association was solely from membership fees and amounted to 840 BGN. The implementation of all of the above activities is co-funded and supported by environmental NGOs, civil initiatives, and New Bulgarian University and University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy’s Departments.
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Excerpts from the Stastlivetsa Statute
Scope of activities
Art. 5. The association performs activities for the benefit of the public, namely, actions directed at the expansion of civil control over the work and decisions of all state and municipal authorities; participation in the making and implementation of their decisions
Chief goals of the association
Art. 6. The chief goals of the association are:
1. Achieving a genuine and effective civil control over the work and decisions of all state and municipal authorities; participation in the making and implementation of their decisions
2. Improving the living environment of Sofia’s citizens
3. Achieving transparency and a high level of citizens’ awareness with regard to the actions of state and municipal authorities
Means to accomplish the goals of the association
Art. 7. The means used by the association to accomplish its goals are:
1. Contacts with governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations
2. Publications, media appearances
3. Organizing rallies, demonstrations, protests and other activities not prohibited by law
4. Organizing seminars, conferences, round tables…
5. Organizing exhibitions, literary readings, performances, happenings and other cultural events
TEAM AND NEW MEMBERS
On its last general meeting in February 2009, Shtastlivetsa admitted the following new members:
Gergana Kosturkova, Violeta Krusteva, Gabriela Petrova, Yuliana Naskova, Dimitar Dimov, Georgi Stefanov, Rostislav Kandilarov, Teodor Vasilev, Lora
The people who are part of the team of Place for Future but are not members of Shtastlivetza are:
Martin Mikush, Neli Stankova
Active assistants in the project also are:
Yordanka Dineva, Nadezhda Maksimova, Galina Slavova, Borislav Sandov
For the Nature Coalition of Civil and Environmental Organizations
Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT)
Centre for Environmental Information and Education (CEIE)
Municipal Council at the Municipality of Chiprovtsi
Several Departments at New Bulgarian University
Balkani Wildlife Society
UNECO University Club, Sofia University
WWF: Danube-Carpathian Programme
Za Zemiata Environmental Association
Department of Cultural Studies at the Southwestern University Neofit Rilski
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation
Faculty of Philosophy at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
Department of Cultural Studies within the Faculty of Philosophy at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
Directorate of Vitosha Nature Park
- Review of all project related documentation (proposals, reports, monitoring reports, memos etc)
- Review of all financial documentation related to the projects
- Review of all periodicals – newsletters, reports, reviews and handbooks created within the project as well as films
- Review of all websites and forums related to the projects
- Review of media exposure materials
- A set of interviews with project teams, organization boards, beneficiaries, partner organizations.
- Petar Kanev – Shtastlivetsa
- Radosveta Krustanova – Shtastlivetsa
- Martin Mikush – Shtastlivetsa
- Georgi Stefanov – Shtastlivetsa, WWF
- Dimitar Dimov – student, intern
- Gergana Kosturkova – student, intern
- Juliana Naskova – Shtastlivetsa volunteer, Red House employee
- Ludmila Grekova - Shtastlivetsa Financial Manager
- Anna Krusteva – NBU
- Rossen Stoyanov – NBU
- Toma Belev – Vitosha park
- Ivan Popov – student, intern
- До каква степен вашата организация адресира истинските нужди на целевата група с която работи?/ To what extend do the organization reflects the real needs of the community it serves?
- Споделени и разбрани ли са целите и мисията на организацията от хората в нея? / Do people in the organization understand and share the mission and goals?
- Имало ли е голяма промяна в организацията в последните две години? Каква и до какво е довела? Как я оценявате? /
- Коя група или човек са движещата сила в организацията? / What group or person constitutes leadership in the organization?
- Как е организирано събирането, анализирането и разпространението на информация в организацията? / How are the collection, analysis and dissemination of information organized in the organization?
- Как организацията използва събраната информация от наблюдение, оценка и отчети?/ How does the organization use the generated information by the monitoring, evaluation and reporting system?
- Как организацията планира, оценява и отчита дейността си? / How does the organization plan, evaluate and report on its program activities?
- Имат ли служителите в организацията длъжностни характеристики?/ Do the organization employees have job descriptions?
- Съобразени ли са длъжностните характеристики с мисията на организацията и уменията на хората от екипа? / Are the job tasks and descriptions consistent with mission of the organization and skills of the staff?
- По какъв начин е постигнато разнообразие в организацията от гледна точка на състав на екипа (целевата група, външни експерти, представители на малцинствени групи или групи в неравностойно положение)? / In what ways is the diversity of the organizations target group reflected in the composition of the staff?
- Колко често се провеждат срещи на екипа, събиране на екипа за стратегически дискусии? / Are there staff meetings held and how often?
- Има ли в организацията редовен процес по планиране на бюджета? А за стратегическо и оперативно планиране? / Does the organization have a regular budget planning process?
- Какви са настоящите източници на финансиране на организацията?/ What are the existing sources of the organization’s financial resources?
- Има ли организацията достъп до технически специализиран опит, когато има потребност от това? / Does the organization have access to technical sectorial experience when required?
- Как организацията измерва резултатите, които постига? / How does the organization measure achievements of results and impact?
- Какви са отношенията на организацията с : целевата група; местна власт; НПО; местен бизнес; медии; донори? / What is the relationship of the organization with: Stakeholders; Local government; NGOs working in the area, or other NGOs; Local businesses; Media; Funders
- Демонстрира ли организацията дух на сътрудничество с други организации, както частни, така и публични? Ако да, с кого и в каква област? / Does the organization promote collaborative efforts (what and how) with other sectors of the community, both private and public?
- Как организацията демонстрира, че общността за която работи участва активно в програмите и дейностите й?/ How can the organization demonstrate that the community it serves are active participants in programs and activities?
- Част ли е организацията от някакви мрежи или коалиции? Какви? / Is the organization member of any coalitions or networks?
- Какво бихте искали да постигнете организационно отношение и какви са параметрите на промяна, които искате да постигнете? / What would you like to achieve as an organization?
- От какво има нужда организацията според вас, за да постигне набелязаните цели? / What organizational development needs does the organization have?
- От кога познавате организацията? / How long have you known the organization?
- Виждате ли промяна в организацията в последните две години и ако да, то в каква посока? / Do you see change in the organization in the last two years and if yes, what kind of change?
- Как по-точно бяхте въвлечени в този проект? / How were you involved in this project?
- Кое вървеше добре във взаимната ви работа и пред какви предизвикателства се изправяхте? Как се справихте с тях? / What went well in your joint work and what were the challenges that you faced? How did you deal with them?
- Смятате ли, че организацията има правилен подход към институциите ангажирани с решаването на проблемите които са поставени от проекта/организацията? Какво може да се подобри в този респект? / Do you think the organization has the right approach towards the institutions involved with the solution of the problems addressed in the project/or by the organization? What can be improved in this respect?
- Как оценявате работата и отношенията между организацията и големите институции въвлечени в работата (например: съд, университет, министерство, парламент, НПО и др)? / How do you assess the work and the relationships between the organization and the big institutions involved in the project (court, ministry, university, NGOs etc)?
- Какво би следвало да промени в работата си организацията в следващите две години? / What would you say needs to be changed in the work the organization does in the next two years?
- Колко често се виждахте, общувахте, чувахте в рамките на проекта? / How often did you meet within the project?
- Удовлетворени ли сте от работата и участието си в този проект? / Are you satisfied with the work and participation in this project?
- Разкажете за основната идея и цели на проекта?/ Could you talk about the main idea and goals of this project?
- Кое проработи добре и както беше предварително планирано и кое не се получи по план? Защо? / What went well and as initially planned and what didn’t work out? Why?
- Имаше ли непредвидени събития и аспекти, които наложиха промяна в проекта? / Were there any unplanned events or aspects that made it necessary to change the project?
- Колко голям беше екипа по проекта? Остана ли той в същия състав? Как вървеше комуникацията и работата в екипа по проекта? / How big was the project team? Did it stay in its original number? How was the communication and team work within this project?
- Успяхте ли да достигнете до широката публика с материалите и информацията, които произведохте и разпространявахте? Каква обратна връзка получихте? / Did you manage to reach out to the general public with the information and materials you have disseminated through the project? What was the feedback you got?
- Как ще продължи работата по този проект след края му? / How will you continue the work on the issue after the project end?
- Кои са големите постижения и резултати от този проект?/ What are the major results of the project according to you?
- От какво имате нужда, за да продължите работата по тази инициатива? Има ли нещо, с което искате да надградите работата и постигнатото? / What kind of resources and support do you need in order to continue working on the issues and build on the achieved?
- Удовлетворени ли сте от работата си по този проект? / Are you satisfied with the work you have done with this project?
- Как оценявате работата си с Тръста? / How do you assess your work with the CEE Trust?
More About this Site
However, not long ago I had a similar conversation with two of my students. They were complaining against the ignorance in Bulgaria and just like Aleko, were asking themselves “Switzerland or…?” When I asked them if they were not a piece of the same picture, they started a heated argument – their parents were different, they had chance upon relatives, teachers, friends, they were born in good social environment, they had genetically set talents. I asked them if their negative observations concern me. “In no way. How could you even think of it?” My parents? – Obviously no – being my parents they have, to a great extent, formed me, to be the person I am now. I started to extend the range of suspects – named other colleagues, lecturers, my students’ relatives – here the answer was all the same: “We are not talking about these people; they are from those OTHER people… You know what we are talking about, don’t pretend you do not understand.”
It turns out that when it comes to being concrete, the conversation sinks in schizophrenia – those conclusions refer to the OTHERS, but not for me, my parents, and my friends.
And it is so because…
The Bulgarian as an individual is a measure of intelligence, resourcefulness and adaptability, of success and flexibility, but only when they are in another, well organized, standardized and cultivated environment…
The conclusion goes without saying – I am capable and gifted, the problem is either in the system, or in the OTHERS. The way to escape is to run. Run out- abroad, or run in – in ourselves, in the more and more limited circle of friends.
Our dreams reach the same – we dream how to escape from the reality in Bulgaria, not how to make it better. Because the way to live better in Bulgaria is to work together with the OTHERS, and to work with them we must have our own, but common project for future…
A little civil association from a little settlement nearby Sofia, succeeded through a referendum to announce that it objects to go on living near a radioactive dung-hill.
A few organizations, associations, groups, and just citizens got over their differences, joined their efforts and created the coalition For the Nature
There are even more examples. What is nice, is that they are much more that we can even imagine. What is bad is that these people fairly know each other and this makes them weak and vulnerable. They miss a tribune, a meeting place, a room to share their experience, to talk about their problems and successes, to pass their message.
We decided PLACE FOR PUTURE to be this place. A place where students, lecturers, experts, lovers of nature, or just people with bright, active position, could meet each other. A place where good examples become visible. A place where, everyone, who is interested, can find information, learn something and pass it to the others, that way expanding the network of aware and active people.
We plan this place to settle in the university area, and to become a centre of information, discussions, debates, a tribune for the good practices, which medias hardly, rarely and tendentiously do (not) reflect. PLACE FOR FUTURE already finds its place in the educational programs of the departments, faculties, universities.
PLACE FOR FUTURE is a community of joint people, for whom the professional competency complements the civil expression, and the civil position creates bright personalities.
Our aim is to show, that among us there are people, living in the present, but creating future by their actions. People, who do not wait for the Good to come, but are happy with the timely, even small, actions. This way we will demonstrate that public society and civil activity in Bulgaria are not only a good wish, something living in politicos’ fantasies, but a real state.
We wish to make the island of public community a significant archipelago.
And my personal wish is to convince my students and colleagues to join this project, in order to extend its message and pass it like a baton…
There is an idea of succession, stability, development…
There is an idea of Future…
Arch. Martin Mikush
Total freezing of the central parts of the city, liberal urban outskirts, high-tech global modal transport- all of them in inviolable nature.
I believe this vision is feasible! It’s a matter of will and considered decision which scenario of progress to choose. I would leave the apocalyptic pictures to the literacy practices. The time for experiments with our common home is over. What is left is to look at the bottom of the one. At the bottom of life: To be together in our dreams, to keep moving, but carefully.
I wish our project, which definitely is pilot and innovative as a spirit and conception, to become a stable center of ideas, strategies, plans, places, and people, and mainly to help the stable development in places, which are already affected or are going to be affected by Bulgarian greed for short-term profits. By the proper people, and events, and purposive synergy to present the project and to draw as many as possible concerned people in it. To make other people take interest, to make them consider and plan their own life in another way, starting to account and counteract the factors pollution, noise, ugly, unsystematic, uncomfortable housing development, and pulling down. To start thinking and practically acting for the sustainable development in their home, neighborhood, town, country… To clear the environment protection and the green idea from the collected clichés, and the exhaustion of the inaction of institutions, with impudent, unscrupulous leaders in their head, and to infuse new ideas and strategies for the work with people and reaction against Bulgarian brains and criminal carelessness. I imagine, that the people, involved in this project, will have created AN IDEA, much as active citizens, responsible for their and the next generations’ life and progress.
I wish our target group to start realizing, for example, that the Black Sea coast belongs to every Bulgarian, it is unique, and it is only a part of the unique places in our country. The stable and normal progress of the Black Sea coast is a benefit of every Bulgarian, not only during their holiday. This applies to every other part of the nature in Bulgaria.
I wish the result of this project, after a year, to be a network of students, aiming sustainable development of the environment and the protection of nature. We will call them THINK TANK. And, after the project, they will start to plan their life according to the principles of the sustainable development, and to work in universities, awakening their colleagues and lecturers. They will start working in the local society, in their neighborhood, among their relatives, acquaintances, friends. They will pass their experience to a wide range of people, take part in other events, and initiate events by themselves.
In my view, in the project we should stake on the provocation, the challenge, the personal example, the non-traditional presentation of ideas and conceptions, and the individual approach. Apart from the ordinary, conventional presentations, meetings, discussions and round-table discussions, to provoke our target group with something, which after being visually presented to them, make them think the whole day…
The main idea of PLACE FOR FUTURE is TRAINING, INFORMATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL.
But I wish this project TO BE REMEMBERED AND USED as a successful, working model.
It was in the summer of 2007: a hot, very hot summer, as well for the weather, as for the emotions of the young, protesting people, in the streets, defending the nature, our nature, Bulgarian nature, of which all of us are so proud, but hurried in everyday works, we have forgotten about its uniqueness.
Probably most of the spectators on the sidewalks and in the cars were very interested in what these young people wanted. For protests for higher wages or pensions, were common events, but these young people wanted something else: to have a future, and an opportunity to ensure their children at least with what they had had- a sip of fresh air, clean mountain water, and places, that can take your breath away…
Then, in the heat of the big city, on a meeting for a mug of beer, came the idea for the project “PLACE FOR FUTURE”. Tired of all the things happening around us, the total neglecting of laws, and the way we rapidly lose our unique nature, Petar and Radi were looking for followers, together with whom to realize the idea of “PLACE FOR FUTURE”.
For me, the idea was clear and absolutely timely. Only a few years earlier, in the beginning of the millennium, the problems were much less, but the people working in the sphere of environment protection also were a few dozens. I can definitely say that things are much different now.
Today there is a new generation of people. People, who realize that a lot of things depend on them, that they can change their future, and that a false step today, would surely lead to difficulties tomorrow. We rely exactly on people like these, people with public-spirited conscience, people with ideas, responsible to the up-coming generations, people who have realized where humanity goes, and the fatal consequences we can come to, if we do not take measures, NOW AND IMMEDIATELY.
My personal view coincide the whole conception of the project. The aim of PLACE FOR FUTURE is to unite the liberty-loving people, with “unaffected souls”, who have a vision of the important things in our existence, and in the same time to help each other. There are a lot of these people in the university circles, and this is why the main field of activity is right there. These young active people are tomorrow’s heralds of the idea of the new modern future.
PLACE FOR FUTURE is a project, which aims to unite and help all these active students and citizens, who, in certain moments, have been misunderstood by their colleagues, friends, and relatives. PLACE FOR FUTURE is just the field of activity and enriching ourselves with others’ ideas.
PLACE FOR FUTURE has one main aim – to create a premise for a better future, with many happy people and less problems.
PLACE WITHOUT FUTURE?
I don’t know how to name, what happens with everything alive- souls, people, animals, nature- nowadays, here in Bulgaria, especially on the Black Sea coast. Chalga-Pop folk music, kitsch, ignorance, criminality, corruption – these words are weak, trite and insufficient to describe the disgusting reality we are sinking in. I think the most accurate metaphor is slops.
The slops gradually flood everything and everyone – words, people, Medias, towns, seas, and mountains. The least we can do is to state freely and clearly, that we do not want it! And this won’t be a little act, if we do it all the possible ways, by all the possible means – however and whenever everyone can, but what is most important – uninterruptedly and constantly, really all of us. I will start with a small act against the slops – something inmost. It is also a dedication to all the people, who made something despite the despair, the misery, the tiredness, the personal obligations, and the problems, and despite the slops.
I wrote this text in the heat of the campaign „Save Irakli” in summer 2006. Since then my pessimism and despair become paler with every little thing against the slops, I do daily. This is the result, when someone makes something little every day, and in the little things originates a community of people, a common spirit, a common mood, a moving from one place to another…
PLACE FOR FUTURE
Not a dream, not a project, not a Utopia. A real existing place, where a lot of little revolutions happen… They start inside you, inside your head, inside your body, and your mind – and they come outside you, for example, because you are not alone, and ferry from one to another like a chain reaction, like the energy through the neurons.
When, a few years ago, the coincidence of circumstances throw me in a concrete problem, several consecutive lightening flashed across my mind:
It is not possible a nightmare like this to happen!
It is not possible such dedicated, worthy people to exist nowadays! Why I haven’t heard of them?
It is impossible these people to be so many! I have never imagined they exist, and they have been around us all the time! They are not seen in the Medias, nobody knows about them, who could imagine there exists a civil movement in our country?
How will I look upon myself, if I do not support these people somehow?
We are not alone!
Oh, what can happen! There is a magic, a good sorcery, the wonder is with us!
This movement is like the life, once entered it, the only way back is a suicide…
In a few years the PLACE FOR FUTURE sprouted and grew up. It needs a lot of cares, and we will probably not see the product of it. The care of it- this is the gift we get. And we need the place for future, because it can happen even on a place without future. And if the solidarity, active civil position, social connection among people are still a forgotten memory from the distant past for us, I think this can change, as we start from the beginning like pioneers, today- not tomorrow, here- not anywhere else. A lot of little daily examples, sustainable and constant, create the real communities of people, society, culture, politics, and development. Do they still make sense? Only they make sense. The sense of the mantra of sustainable development.
Everything started from the emotions and in their shock new horizons gradually spread out – the necessity of more common sense, more awareness, and more light. And the place where this can happen is the place where people learn and develop. A place where future sprouts is the education. What will this future be depends on each of us.
We often hear that every effort is useless, except from the effort to regularize your own life at the expense of the others, that there are no common values, but only objective occurrences. One common value however is inside us – the preservation of life. To defeat life means to be dead.
I am happy we have succeeded so far, and I can repeat my one-time words.
I dedicate this project to all the people, who made something despite the despair, the misery, the tiredness, the personal obligations, and the problems, and despite the slops.
Civil society: The term “civil society” has been used for the first time by Aristotle. In its original context it had been directly related to the government of the polis of Athens…
Types of democratic practices: …
Sustainable development: The term has been introduced by the UN. Its translation in Bulgarian (“устойчиво развитие”) is not absolutely accurate, because it is a bit ambiguous and unclear. (In our forum, we are trying - together - to come up with a more accurate translation.) In this case, sustainability implies a long-term development that improves over time; one that holds a promise not only for the present time, but especially for the near and far future… Sustainable development is a type of development that has a future…
Forum process: Even in the dawn of mankind, people came together to discuss how to regulate their activities. Meeting and talking to other people has been a necessity and a priceless social activity over the years, transcending national boundaries and religious beliefs. Given a modern structure, certain traditional forms could become strong and effective communication tools. The forum is one of the methods that can be used for structuring a discussion. Its democratic nature enhances the participation process: the forum happens in front of people’s eyes and is open to everyone; it presents information transparently, makes sure that all points of view are considered equally, and guarantees the visibility of the results.
Main aim of the forum process: Achieving better communication between the interested parties and improving the quality of life as a whole. In terms of political science, this can also be seen as improving government.
Soon in the GLOSSARY:
Ecology: the ambiguousness of the word oikos in Ancient Greek very accurately expresses the meaning we put into the word ecology in our everyday life. Oikos – where our “eco” comes from - means home, house, cosmos, world, universe - the universe is our common home. Logos is an even more ambiguous word – although we often use it for science and knowledge, it means word, state, fire (and in a figurative sense, a distinct dynamic of interconnections ) …
In this sense, Ecology, both as a science and social movement, is always connected with:
What is energy and can we speak of energy of the future?
The glossary of Place for Future that we are constructing will give you answers as well as supply questions like:
- Why it is necessary to bring back the authentic meaning of words and terms that we use every day?
- Are there non-relative values?
And many others….
To be continued.
Radosveta Krestanova, Ph.D, presentation at Nottingham: On spontaneous civil movements in defence of Bulgarian natureRadosveta Krestanova, Ph.D, presentation at Nottingham: On spontaneous civil movements in defence of Bulgarian nature http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dckf2vn7_7c9nmf9hk
Radosveta Krestanova, Ph.D, presentation at Nottingham: On spontaneous civil movements in defence of Bulgarian nature
Radosveta Krestanova - presentation at Nottingham University
In order to understand the selection of the topic and its importance, a brief excursus into the risen and development of the environmental movement in Bulgaria is necessary.
Therefore, I would like to present some of the most considerable stages in the evolution of the new environmental movement in Bulgaria.
Firstly I would label this movement as “new”, as in the end of 80ies of previous century Bulgaria already experienced the first so-called green wave, which was grounded in the dissident protests in the end of the totalitarian regime.
I. THE CASES
1. Save Irakli Campaign
The first considerable civic mobilisation was been related to Irakli - a quite picturesque and untouched place, one of the last nine places that has evaded the Black Sea saeside urbanization.
Save Irakli Campaign has been ofircially launched in the spring of 2006 because of the investment plans of some companies /group of investors, associated with a offshore Swiss company founded in Bulgaria, to develop the area by building hotels, despite the place’s status – half of it is protected by law and is a potential NATURA 2000 site. The people from Save Irakli Campaign managed in due time to hold various activities and to attract enormous public support. Only within a year the citizen group evolved in national campaign, including people from many big towns in Bulgaria. Famous Bulgarian actors, film directors and intellectuals supprted the environmentalists. The groups’ activities are specific – they use non- conventional approaches, vision, layout and striking messages, as you can see on these photos.
Here you can see two of the most successful actions:
- The procession of the natural mad capes, held in February 2007. The message was that normal people, who are aware of the real dangers and issues, are been taken as MAD CAPES, and so they turn into endangered species, as they do demand that their rights shoud be protected and they should be treated in accordance to the law of species in danger
- The second event called The Longest kiss in the entire history of st. Valenitine’s Day, and in the hole green movements history or A Kiss for Irakly, summoned in February 14th 2008 hundreds of enamoured activists in front of National Theater in Sofia.
The Campaigns’ activites are not organized solely on the base of holding effective direct actions although they do attract a considerable public support. The campaign became visible at a national and european level due to active dialogue with the relevant institutions, strongly lobbying on executive and judicial authorities, organizing requests and petitions and filing court lawsuits.
On January 23, 2007, the environmentalists handed in at the National Assembly of Bulgaria 50 000 signatures petition of Bulgarian and foreign citizens standing out for defending Irakli and the whole Black Sea coastline. The same petition was been officially submitted in in the European Parliament as a proof for the considerable public concern of the Bulgarians for the Black Sea coastline’s hyper building.
The second considerable civic campaign was named Save Strandja .
Strandja mountain is situated in the south eastern part of Bulgaria, has unique flora, fauna and landscape and is listed among the five EU first priority protected sites in South- Eastern Europe. Strandja has a statute of natural park. The campaign started quite spontaneously and evolved really fast. The reason for initiating it was the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court to abolish the , legal statute of the park. At the back of this absurd decision were the economic concerns of CRASH 2000 investment company and pressure of the local authorities. CRASH 2000 erected this hotel and tries to legalize it.
“Save Strandja campaign” was the most rapidly evolving and most effective of all held so far. The explanation for this success are related with the new technologies, permitting successive and permanent spreading out of the news – the ones who have been informed messaged sms and emails to their acquaintances, upload and post the info on all websites and blogs which engandred a spontaneous reactions. Few hours later all these people that has been in the current of the news of the court’s decision met and gathered at two of the focal places in the capital. Unofficially they have been between 1000 and 2000. Most part of them did not know each other and decided just in time how to act out without scenario. By stepping out on the roads and completely blocking the traffic /and virtually obstructing by sitting-in one of the major boulevards/. The police accused all of breaching the peace and arrested about 20 people some of them minor.
Nevertheless the result was quite clear. By this action /called flash mob/ the Campaign hit the news for the day. The events was broadly covered by all media in Bulgaria and many media in abroad. The public largely supported the protesters. This have been strongly backed up by the sociological agencies and their polls– According to NCAPO (National Center for Analysis of the Public Opinion) in July 2007 77 percent of the Bulgarian citizens did support the Campaign, exceeding the support of teachers, pensionners and taxi drivers, held almost at the same time. Consequently, only two weeks later due to the strong public pressure the Parliament invalidated its Act, thus restoring the previous statute of the Park.
The next campaign is NATURA 2000
The reason of its emergence was been provoked again by some senior decision – this time of the Council of Ministers– to reduce the Bulgarian protected areas in NATURA 2000 Network from 34 to 18 per cent.
In the part that has been dropped out there are places that every Bulgarian cherishes and loves to visit and relax by – these are one of the most picturesque, lovely and stunning places at the Black sea coast and up in the mountains. The official reason was that the scope’s borders had to be explicitly defined, and the non- official – grey sphere economic concerns together with political authority’s representation.
The campaign has been run without break for 8 months by peaceful sit in protests each Thursday/the day for the ordinary Council of Ministers’ session/ in front of the building of the headquarters of the Council of Ministers. Environmentalists continually diversify repertories of their sit-ins – each event was been held thematically and follows its own scenario such as – gathering coins for paying the future fines imposed by EU, “Cotton ear – caps” protest - showing the lack of dialogue between the protesters and the state institutions, masquerade event, at which there’s a transgression of sexes’ roles – men are women and vice versa – to demonstrate that noting goes normal in the country, but things are inverted and insane.
The output was successful: the Council of Ministers decided to recuperate a considerable part of the territories. Notice that this is due not only because of all protests, but because of a combination of tremendous exterior lobbying and permanent pressure from inside - by sending requests and petitions, elaborating expert stands and constant warnings to the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The last campaign that I will present / most current one/ is Save Rila Campaign.
Rila is maybe the most known Bulgarian mountain range - a mythical place and mysterious centre of the esoteric White Brotherhood Movement, established in the end of the 19th century by the Bulgarian Peter Danov – The Teacher. The mountain nowadays still attracts not only fans of еxtreme sports but people with different spiritual needs, men with certain spiritual inclination. Rila Crew was initiated again on the same basis stated already – a decision for extension of existing ski racing tracks by violating and destroying some protected territories, hyper building and concreting the places all over. The construction and the building of an enormous ski resort is pending and the construction as well of artificial eighth lake near the famous 7 Rila lakes, that will be tooled up with synthetic snow.
For quite a short time, this team consisted mainly of university students and young experts won great public support not only in Bulgaria but also from abroad. A clear evidence is the France- Rila Campaign, initiated by French citizen, who works on European level due to the activity of a Bulgarian, Dutch, German, Macedonian , Belgium and French citizens.
The united endeavours of Rila crew and Rila – France Campaign put the campaign in the agenda of the European Commission and the European Parliament. In the scope of the Campaign’s activities, there are few court lawsuits, petitions and written requests, meetings with representatives of the European Commission. Recently a group of euro-commissioners visited Rila on the ground of many complaints of Citizens for Saving Rila for violating many national and European laws. The considerable public support for the campaign is obvious by public petition for Saving Rila which collected 150 000 (hundred fifty thousand) signatures.
At the end of 2006, some of these citizen groups and campaigns merged into the most outstanding ecological and environmental NGOs and founded ForTheNature Coalition. This Coalition is actually the most sustainable and considerable accomplishment of Bulgarian civil environmental movement and can be regarded as an essential social and political factor. The structure is not homogeneous - citizen groups as Rila Crew, leagued together with civil associations even with NGOs around a particular problematic issue. The coalition does not have a legal status and does make solutions based on the difficult democratic consensus principle. The organization is been managed on horizontal principle and re-creates network characteristic to the smaller civic groups and initiatives.
Last but not least I would like to point out that in the last years in Bulgaria there’s a considerable expansion of local initiatives and foundation of local lobby citizen groups and active initiative committees at places where there’s a need for deciding particular issues in given district, a metropolitan area or a community.
Just an example – There is a network of initiative committees within Sofia metropolitan, initiated and evolving because of waste disposal crisis of the city.
 initiated by a group of citizens, self-organized in defence of one of the last preserved sites along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The citizens from Save Irakli group have been actively involved in almost all actions in protection of Bulgarian nature in the past years, as their activities had been supported by the most important nature conservation organizations in Bulgaria
Find further information at: www.daspasimirakli.com.
 Find further information at: http://www.bnr.bg/RadioBulgaria/Emission_English/Theme_Science_And_Nature/Material/strandjaprotest.htm
 For more information see http://www.natura2000bg.org/natura/eng/index1.php
Guardian: Architecture: Bulgarian eco town ‘the biggest mistake of Norman Foster’s career’, say protestersGuardian: Architecture: Bulgarian eco town ‘the biggest mistake of Norman Foster’s career’, say protesters
· ‘Green’ resort threatens last area of unspoilt coast
· Design is sympathetic to habitats, architect says
Kate Connolly in Karadere beach
The Guardian, Monday July 14, 2008
An artist’s impression of the resort, which is designed to provide carbon-neutral living for 15,000 people
An hour-long stroll through an oak forest, past clusters of blackberries, St John’s wort, olive trees and butterflies, ends with the rewarding sight of soft, white sands and gently breaking waves.
On Karadere beach, in north-east Bulgaria, a smattering of families have set up camp for the summer, as they have done for years. But this year the happy-go-lucky mood has been punctured by fears that the small corner of paradise is under imminent threat by Bulgaria’s first carbon-neutral resort.
Having been considered ripe for development since the collapse of communism 19 years ago, the area is set to be turned into a luxury €1bn (£780m) settlement. Dubbed the Black Sea Gardens, it will include five new hill towns, artificial lakes, a marina and an extensive leisure area and will be self-sustaining, thanks to biomass power and construction from local, natural resources, say the developers.
But the 540-acre (219-hectare) development, spearheaded by the British architect Sir Norman Foster, has enraged Bulgaria’s growing band of ecologists.
They say it will destroy the Black Sea coast’s last remaining virgin stretches of beach and will have a devastating effect on the rich biodiversity of an area which has environmental protection status under the EU’s Natura 2000 programme, which aims to protect endangered species and habitats.
But the Bulgarian government’s failure to enact regulations outlawing extensive developments in such areas has allowed coastal constructions to go ahead almost unhindered. Now there is hardly a stretch of the country’s 220-mile coastline untouched by overdeveloped resorts. Locals are often restricted from accessing beaches whose entrances are flanked by security guards.
Construction of the Black Sea Gardens project, which Foster and Partner’s website describes as “a series of car-free hill towns in an unspoilt setting of oak forests, meadows and river gorges”, is due to start next year. Under the plans, 15,000 inhabitants of Sky Village, Wilderness Village, Meadow Village, Cape Village and Sea Village will be encouraged to leave their cars outside the settlements and go by foot, or use pools of electric cars and shuttle buses instead.
Sky is the first village due to be built, with the backing of a British-Bulgarian investment group. US, Russian and Saudi Arabian investors have expressed an interest in the other hill towns, according to the Bulgarian co-architects, Projects Ltd, which describes the resort as having something for every holidaymaker - “from sportish Club Med types to more contemplative, sleepy types”.
Foster and Partners did not provide anyone to talk to the Guardian, but in a press release it stressed that the resort is designed to blend in with its environment. “The residential clusters are tightly packed and integrated into the contours of the landscape, preserving the majority of its site as virgin terrain,” it read.
Detractors say while the plans might be of a much higher standard than the depressing array of substandard constructions hugging the Black Sea, the sheer scale of the resort will do lasting damage to the natural habitat. The settlements will eat into untouched oak forests, and the invasion of thousands of people and new roads will disturb one of Europe’s major migratory routes for millions of birds, known as via pontica, they say.
“I ask myself whether Norman Foster really knows what he’s getting himself in to,” said Todor Karastoyanov, a musician and protester against the project who frequents the beach and married his wife, Boriana, there last summer.
“We want to try to stop him from making the biggest mistake of his career by building here, because it’s immoral and he might not know that.”
Biliana Voutchkova, a concert violinist holidaying on Karadere beach with her family, as she has done since her childhood, said: “This has been a magnet for those wishing to spend time away from civilisation and to enjoy nature, but soon it will be lost forever and we’ll only realise the consequences once it’s too late.” Dimiter Georgiev, an ornithologist from nearby Varna, said the habitats of numerous species would be “directly disturbed and destroyed by this construction”, including those of otters, butterflies, woodpeckers, honey buzzards, lesser spotted eagles and red-backed shrikes. “We know from experience that these species don’t move elsewhere, they just disappear,” he said, citing the demise of several species of lark, shrike and bunting in areas given over to resort developments.
“We’re not against mass tourism but it should be planned in a proper way, with areas set aside for wildlife to breed. But the problem is so much of the coastal areas have been developed, there’s now hardly any space left, which means the ecosystem’s resilience is greatly weakened, so any new site does not have the moral right to call itself ‘eco’.”
Foster has yet to visit the site, but he has been involved in discussions between the British and Bulgarian teams, according to Georgi Stanishev, the director of Projects Ltd. Stanishev, brother of Bulgaria’s prime minister Sergei Stanishev, insisted that Black Sea Gardens was environmentally ethical and was breaking no laws.
“What we as the Bulgarian team of architects and Foster and Partners are doing is absolutely adequate to the legislation and the laws of this country,” he said, adding that the construction would be sympathetic to its surroundings.
The project was conceived as an antidote to the over-development along the rest of the Black Sea coastline, he said.
Opponents say they will not let the project go ahead without a fight.
“We’re planning to hold protests in Sofia, as well as concerts,’ said Nadezhda Miksimova, of the campaign group For the Nature. “And we will set up a protest camp on the beach itself.”
Financial statement and activities implemented by Shtastlivetza Sofia Civil Association (SSCA) (2006-2008)
- Official communication with the respective authorities on local, national and European level and application of the legislative regulations for data access together with other civil initiatives ,organizations and active students;
- Launching, realizing and handing in petitions to the respective authorities; (petition for preservation and protection for the Black Sea coastline and for the Bulgarian nature in the Bulgarian National Assembly and in the European Parliament);
- Organization and holding of consultative open meetings and debates;
- appointments and discussions with representatives from respective environmental and nature protection Departments and Units –Мministry of waters and environment, parliamental Commission of waters, forests and environment;
- permanent civil participation in the Municipal Commission for of waters, forests and environment (entitled to deposit standpoint papers, recommendations, subject to commission’s voting and approval );
- New Sofia Urban Plan discussions - participation by means of official recommendations and standpoint papers;
- co- organization and realization of protest marchings and demonstrations against the illegal garbage packing, incl. a common demonstrations of all civil initiatives and NGOs, committed to Sofia’s garbage crisis resolving;
- co- organization and participation in NATURA 200, Save Irakli, Save Strandja and Save Rila protest marchings and demonstrations along with NGOs and other civil initiatives;
- organization and carrying out in academic environment debates, seminars and other events concerning the main filed of interest and priorities of Shtastlivetza Association (debate with Stavros Dimas - EU Environment Commissioner, NATURA 200 seminar with a following debate, students action for the Earth Day and films screening in New Bulgarian University, “Urban planning, regulation, nature and sustainable development” debate in University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy- Sofia) ;
- launching and realization of a journalistic investigation (documentary, concerning the garbage crisis in Sofia ( Nova TV broadcast– Na chisto broadcasting- Promedia Production) ;
- drafting, preparation, publication and distribution of informational materials, announcements, reposrts (Bluelink, News bg, Mediapool, Save Irakli, For the Nature (forthenature.org), media events – interviews, participation in TV broadcasts and discussions (Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National Television, 24 hours newspaper, etc.); maintaining mail list and blog of the coalition.
- Preparation, publication and distribution of reviews and scientific reports on the topic of civil participation in nature protection in Bulgaria (Bluelink, For The Nature Coalition site, Save Irakli site, science collections of New Bulgarian University);
- active support of and cooperation with civil initiatives (Save Irakli, Save Rila, Save Strandja
- initiation and participation in environmental protection coalitions (Zero Waste coalition, For The Nature in Bulgaria coalition);
- business trips for research and documentation of particular environmental protection causes
- conducting individual expert consultations to interested local parties and people and to representatives of civil initiatives
- filing a case against the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Waters (RIEW) – Sofia for violating the ecological legislation
- forming a team committed to implementing a University civil campaign for promotion of principles and values of civil participation and sustainable development;
- strengthening of the partnerships established and creating new ones with agents from civil initiatives, NGOs and academic milieus.