Green Belt


Pan-European Green Belt Conference - Realizing Opportunities from the Green Belts

9th Pan-European Green Belt Conference was held 31st October to 3rd November 2016 in Koli National Park, Finland.
The conference gave an insight and outlook on the cooperation and activities along the Green Belt. It focused on solutions and best practices putting into action the vision of the European Green Belt on conserving the ecological network of high-value natural and cultural landscapes while respecting the economic, social and cultural needs of local communities.
In addition, the conference contributed to the development of the European Green Belt as part of Green Infrastructure in Europe as well as to the strategic development of the European Green Belt Initiative.

Furthermore, the Pan-European Conference provided a platform for exchange between all partners along the Green Belt.
The 9th Pan-European Green Belt Conference was attended by more than 125 participants representing all 24 countries along the European Green Belt. They shared best practice examples, experience and knowledge. The conference served as an important market place for exchanging ideas and thoughts about improved preservation and restoration of the European Green Belt and enhanced sustainable development along the European Green Belt.

More info about the conference including conclusions, programme, participants and presentations could be found at:

Green Belt Bike Tour – from Osogovo to Belasitsa

Green Belt Bike Tour – from Osogovo to Belasitsa
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation decided to celebrate the Green Belt Day organizing a bike tour from 22 to 25 September 2016 with nearly 30 participants – mostly friends and supporters of many years' standing. It passed through the mountains Osogovo, Vlahina, Maleshevska, Ograjden and Belasitsa – all of them shared between Bulgaria and Macedonia and still little-known and visited by tourists. The bike route changed twice the side of the border leading the participants through silent mountain villages, century-old beech trees, babbling streams, ex-frontier posts reminding the time of the Iron Curtain, bushes covered with juicy blackberries, cozy small towns with taverns offering delicious local food, picturesque landscapes, beautiful monasteries, impressive waterfalls, cultivated fertile fields…

On 24 September the group arrived in the town of Strumitsa, Macedonia, and honored the Green Belt Day with a small event – a presentation about the essence and Europe wide importance of the Green Belt followed by tasting Macedonian cuisine. Special guests of the dinner were representatives of the Macedonian environmental NGO Planetum and local tourism service providers. Everybody received a specially designed buff as a souvenir of this day.

The tour will remain in our hearts with the vast territories of wilderness, wonderful views, the hospitality of the local people, the authenticy of the regional customs and culture. This part of the Balkan Green Belt has a great potential for sustainable tourism bringing benefits for the local people; preserved nature can go hand in hand with the regions’ development and our initiative just confirmed it.

Biketour travelogue along the Green Belt (22-25 September 2016)

Spotlight on the Balkan Green Belt

Nine countries, nine photo competitions, one goal: Cooperating in an international photo contest, nine organizations from the countries along the Balkan Green Belt, supported by EuroNatur and IUCN, invited nature enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the region along the former Iron Curtain in impressive photos.

Both residents and visitors of the Balkan Green Belt were asked to submit their most beautiful or expressive photos of the region’s unique nature, specific cultural features, and people. Closing date was 30 June 2016, jury meetings in each participating country (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey) to select the winning pictures will take place until 31 July 2016. The national winners will enter the international contest, in which the five very best pictures will be selected.

The winning pictures – both from the national as well as from the international contest - will be displayed in the next issue of the newsletter.

Pearls along the Balkan Green Belt

Plains, mountains, rivers and lakes: during a workshop in September 2015, the most impressive sites deserving protection along the Balkan Green Belt were selected. In total, 29 sites were nominated as main pearls along the Balkan Green Belt. Currently, a short description of each pearl is being prepared which will then be available on the website of the European Green Belt and the partners involved.

Green Belt Day

The Green Belt Day (24 September) is coming closer and national NGOs involved in the project Protecting Biodiversity in the Balkans – Strengthening cooperation along the Balkan Green Belt are preparing events in all countries along the Balkan Green Belt in order to celebrate the second anniversary of the foundation of the European Green Belt Association as well as to turn public attention to special sites along the Balkan Green Belt.
In Bulgaria the Green Belt Day is selebrated with two events: „With a bike alon the Green Belt – from Osogovo till Belasitsa“, 21-25 September 2016, biketour organised by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and „An Exhibition in the Barn””,
24.09.2016 in the village of Lefka (Svilengrad municipality) organised by the Green Balkans

Information on the respective events is available on the websites of each participating partner:

Greece: Society for the Protection of Prespa,
Serbia: Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia,
Albania: Protection and Preservation of Nature and Enviroment in Albania
Kosovo: ЕРА
Turkey: DAYKO
Montenegro: Center for Protection and Research of Birds in Montenegro,
FYR Macedonia: Macedonian Ecological Society,
Bulgaria: Green Balkans, and Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation,
Romania: The Explorer

The project “Protecting Biodiversity in the Balkan – Strengthening cooperation along the Balkan Green Belt” is financially supported by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).