Nature conservation through local eyes

How to bring local communities, nature specialists and outdoor enthusiasts from different regions of Europe together to promote local development, solidarity and safeguarding of local nature? With the support of the Interreg Volunteer Youth, this week various Bulgarian locals and interested public will have a chance to exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge on nature conservation both in an indoor and outdoor environment, while also learning about the different ways in which the European Cohesion Policy supports local development.

Please also read: Respect Nature

Citizens’ awareness and perception of the EU Cohesion policy

In March 2017, the European Comission carried out a set of surveys and interviews Europe-wide, about the awareness of European citizens of the EU regional policy. Of the 27000 interviewees, about 1000 were Bulgarian citizens. Only 40% of the asked citizens have heard about any EU-funded projects taking place in the area they live. However, 85 % of these people confirmed, that the support had a significantly positive impact on local development. Most people who’ve heard about the Cohesion policy were informed through the internet or national TV channels. However, only a few percent has heard about this topic from local or regional TV. radio or newspapers.

This shows that citizens have a generally positive opinion about the EU Cohesion policy and would prefer to see the continuation of these funds. Awareness rates are nevertheless still low, mostly due to the lack of communication about EU regional funding in local and regional media.

To read more about the general results and country-specific factsheets, visit the Public Opinion website of the European Commission.

Engage locally

That is why Citizens Engagement Activities, focusing on raising awareness and sharing information about EU-funded projects that have in their focus local development are so valuable. In the following week, Bulgarian nature lovers, experts and the general public will participate in an outdoor workshop, where they can explore and experience local nature. Throughout the workshop, nature guides will share their enthusiasm about wild nature and natural processes. They will examine EU-funded projects that have in the past, or are currently focusing on nature conservation and sustainable developmen and identify current threats and issues on a local level, that could be addressed with the support of the EU Cohesion policy.

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