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At the closing session of UNESCO Summer University was discussed the future perspectives of BR Central Balkan

Jul 27, 2019
On 26th of July from 5 p.m. at the Cultural Information Centre in Troyan the closing session of the UNESCO MaB Summer University was held. The event was opened with greetings from the Deputy Mayor of Troyan Municipality Bistra Cholakova. Mrs. Cholakova talked about the history of Troyan Municipality and demonstrated the long-term connection between the preserved nature, crafts and ancient Bulgarian traditions in the region. She underlined that the essence of biosphere reserves is in the successful combination of these elements and that is why she is very proud that Troyan Municipality is one of the hosts of the UNESCO Summer University.

The Director of Central Balkan NP Gencho Iliev, the executive Director of BBF Rumyana Ivanova and prof. Michael Scoullos from the Greek National Committee of Man and the Biosphere Program of UNESCO, lecturers, participants and local stakeholders were also present at the event. At the closing session the young experts from 15 countries presented their recommendations and proposals for future projects and initiatives at local and international level. During the entire week, the participants worked in groups, focusing on: Large-scale joint communication projects promoting the MAB programme (locally and internationally); Connecting and involving young people into the MAB network; Enhancement of local products and tourist services for the sustainable development of the territory; Education for Sustainable Development projects within BRs.

Some of the most interesting proposals were related to: the establishment of a local or national Youth committee for biosphere reserves; developing an  of integrated map of the tourist potential and the opportunities of the BR; training and capacity building  of the tourist sector with regards to  the possibilities for tourism in the Central Balkan  BR and etc.

It was also proposed to work towards the development of a common trade mark of Central Balkan BR, which includes not only the tourist attractions but also local products, crafts and traditional productions in the region. All proposals will be presented also to the mayors of the municipalities, which are part from the Central Balkan BR as well as to the Direction of Central Balkan NP.

At the end of the discussion the representative of the Greek National Committee of Man and the Biosphere Program of UNESCO prof. Michael Scoullos made an appeal towards the deputy Mayor of Troyan Municipality and the Director of Central Balkan NP to do their best to inform and involve in the discussions of the future of the BR all stakeholders of the region – local people, local business, institutions, tourist, NGO organisations and etc. To make them work together for the sustainable developments of the region and to be proud that they belong to the MaB and the UNESCO family, which brings recognition and popularity all over the world.

The UNESCO MAB Summer University of is an International initiative of the Regional Bureau for Europe, based in Venice (BRESCHE), which aims to attract and train young specialists from all over the world on topics related to the development of biosphere reserves. Its fifth edition was held in Bulgaria, in the southern and northern part of Central Balkan Biosphere Reserve at the territories of Karlovo, Pavel Banya and Troyan Municipalities.

For a week the participants were able to get acquainted with some of the natural, cultural and tourist treasures of Central Balkan BR. Beside theoretical part, the programme included practical activities like: visiting of “At the Foot of the Balkan Mountain” Farm in Vasil Levski village and “Rozino Organic Farm” in Rozino village. Visit of tourist attractions, such as Lift Sopot, White River eco-trail, complex “Damascena”, eco-hotels and guest houses etc. Participants learned more about of the rose-oil and wine production and many other local products. They also tasted delicious wine in Chateau Copsa, and the green cheese from Cherni vit village. While they enjoyed a Bulgarian authentic folklore, presented by the ensemble of the "Vasil Levski 1861" National Chitalishte, Karlovo, they also learned more about the history of Karlovo and Troyan.

The summer biosphere educational adventure will continue until 28th of July with a visit of Troyan Monastery and National Exhibition of Crafts and Arts in Oreshak.

Main organiser of UNESCO Summer University is Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation with the support ofthe Central Balkan Biosphere ReserveUNESCO Regional Bureau of Science and Culture in EuropeMinistry of Environment and Water of the Republic of BulgariaMediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable DevelopmentUNESCO Chair and Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean of the University of AthensKarlovo MunicipalityTroyan Municipality, Permanent Representation of UNESCO in Bulgaria, local organic pharms, winery, hotels, which are hosts and sponsors of the events in the region. 

Other partners: Chateau CopsaRozino Organic Farm and Gelatto and LatteLift SopotHotel Casa Art, Oreshak, Troyan, National Exhibition of Crafts and Arts in Oreshak, “Edinenie” (Unity) project