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UNESCO Summer University will be in the "Central Balkan" Biosphere Reserve

Apr. 17, 2019
Bulgaria hosts for the first time the UNESCO Summer University, which aims to provide a high-quality training to post graduate students, young scientists, and practitioners from Biosphere Reserves from Europe and the Mediterranean on “Integrated management, sustainable tourism, and promotion of biosphere reserves”. Additionally, the Summer University will seek to engage the participants through an active learning process, providing them with the opportunity to develop ideas for joint projects focusing on further promotion of BRs and the MAB programme, while also experiencing first-hand the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Central Balkan BR. 

The Central Balkan Biosphere Reserve is located in the central part of Bulgaria and covers an area of 369.003,92ha, including 5 municipalities and 7 nature reserves, as well as over 580 km of tourist trails (for horse riding, cycling, and wildlife observation). Parts of it were first declared a protected area in 1948, whereas the territory was designated as a Biosphere Reserve with its current boundaries in 2017. The Summer University will be held in both the northern and southern part of Central Balkan BR and will be used to further promote the MAB programme in the region. In this regard, although the protected area is well-known, the BR concept and the possibilities it gives are still not well understood and promoted, and further information is needed.

The Summer University provides an intensive, multidisciplinary, and experiential training aiming to develop the understanding and competences of the trainees on the multiple values of the Biosphere Reserves as "laboratories" and "catalysts" for Sustainable Development. It specifically aims to deepen the understanding of and offer insights on the integrated management approaches and sustainable tourism strategies for Biosphere Reserves and their promotion, through presenting a plethora of BR management examples.

More info for the programme and application at

The trainees will be 30 young people under the age of 35 who are actively working in biosphere reserves or areas nominating their territory to the МAB program. As well as young scientists, recent graduates, or researchers on Sustainable Development and Management, Biosphere Reserves, Environmental Policies, Tourism, and/or Protected Areas. The young people will be based in Karlovo and Troyan and will visit organic farms, eco paths and cultural landmarks in the area. They will meet with different experts from Bulgaria and abroad and will have the opportunity to work together on topics related to the Biosphere Reserves.

The Summer University will be held from 21 July to 28 July 2019 and will be organized by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, the Central Balkan Biosphere Reserve and the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Science and Culture in Europe.