Feasibility Study for Trans-border Biosphere Reserve Osogovo

The Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation started the implementation of a new project named “Feasibility Study for Trans-border Biosphere Reserve Osogovo”. The realization of the project bearing the acronym TRANSBIORES is possible through provision of funding by the European Union through IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Bulgaria – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation - Belasitsa Branch is the leading partner in the project and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food, University Ss. Cyril and Methodius – Skopje, represented by its regional office in Strumica, is the partnering organization from the Macedonian side.
The total value of the budget is EUR 145 003,77: 85% are IPA funds, and 15% are National public contribution.
The project implementation period is from 13th May until the 12th November 2015.
Project goals
The project aims at achieving a sustainable cross-border development of the Osogovo region. In a long term the project supports the implementation of the Biosphere reserves concept which in accordance to the “Man and Biosphere“ program of UNESCO is dedicated to sustainable development of local communities. The Biosphere reserve offers possibilities for combining economic and social benefits for local people with the protection of valuable natural resources in a certain region.
The task of the Biosphere reserve is to achieve a sustainable balance between nature protection, economic development and preservation of the cultural values of a region.
The project is related to the initiative „European Green Belt“, which aims at conservation of the largest Pan-European ecological network stretching along the former “Iron Curtain”. The initiative helps for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources by the local communities along the former border.
A further aim of the project is to turn Osogovo into a model region for trans-border cooperation for sustainable development, an example that could be applicable in other border areas as well.
Project activities
In order to define Osogovo’s potential for a Biosphere reserve series of researches for the natural, cultural and economic features of the region will be done; a sociological research will show the opinions and attitudes of local people and institutions towards nature protection and sustainable development in the region. Experts in the respective fields will take care for the necessary researches and will prepare reports on the whole territory of Osogovo (Bulgarian and Macedonian part).
On the basis of all researches undertaken, a full feasibility study will be compiled to present common analyses of the collected data and recommendations. The documentation will serve as basis for development of a model project for implementation of the outcomes and the recommendations of the study. The final document with the attached experts’ reports will be issued in Bulgarian, Macedonian and English languages.
In case of a positive evaluation of Osogovo’s potential for a Biosphere reserve the information will be supplied to all stakeholders in a suitable form for preparation of other projects focused on nature conservation and nature-friendly use of resources, as well as for possible nomination of Osogovo for Biosphere reserve.