CrisisWatch

Biodiversity & natural resources

Dangerous illegal landfill in the sea turtle National Marine Park of Zakynthos island opens again

The streets of Zakynthos are filled with garbage, as local authority tries to bury municipal waste in landfill illegally operating within the sea turtle Caretta caretta national park and ignores the need for a new and safe sanitary waste disposal site.  Zakynthos is a popular tourist destination in Greece with thousands of tourists arriving to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches of the Ionian Sea island. These same beaches also host the most imp...
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SOS for nature treasure in Bulgaria

Sofia – The Bulgarian government ignored the wish of 76,000 citizens already speaking up for the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in Bulgaria, and gave the green light to the destructive management plan for Pirin National Park. The decision ignores national law and UNESCO’s Committee recommendations.  The caretaker Minister of Environment and Water made a serious step towards allowing construction in Pirin that would jeopardize the wildlife i...
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Bulgarian government settles illegal buildings on protected mountain

In a draft amendment of the concession contract for Bansko Ski Zone in UNESCO’s Pirin National Park, on 19 February Bulgaria's Development Council called the Council of Ministers to legalize the violations of the concessionaire, ULEN AD.  The amendment would basically allow a tenfold increase in the concession area -- from ​​99 ha to 1,069 ha. This would legalize massive illegal constructions on a territory 60% bigger than the current con...
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European Parliament in defense of EU nature laws

With 592 votes in favour, the plenary of the European Parliament overwhelmingly supported a resolution on the mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy, Europe’s strategy to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. The resolution, which endorsed an Environment Committee report, sends a clear political signal to the Commission and Council to take stronger action to protect and restore Europe’s nature....
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EU nature laws gain promising political support

In their conclusions of the 16 December Council, the EU’s Environment Ministers adopted the 2015 Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy highlighting the need for full implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives.  At the press conference of the Luxembourgian Presidency of the EU Council, Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg, noted that: “The conclusions emphasise that the protection of nature involves a wide range of resu...
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Green groups slam Hungarian Government over sale of state-owned protected land

The three largest national conservation organizations in Hungary – WWF Hungary, Birdlife Hungary and Friends of the Earth Hungary – called on Sandor Fazekas, the Minister of Agriculture also responsible for nature conservation, to stop the sale of state-owned land in Hungary’s sites from the European network of protected areas Natura 2000.  The sale would not only compromise Hungary’s EU obligations and the quality of conservation achie...
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80% of Europeans are seriously concerned about biodiversity loss

Notwithstanding the financial crisis and the shift of the political agenda towards economic issues, the vast majority of EU citizens consider biodiversity loss and its effects to be serious, whereas more than half state that they expect to be personally affected. Humanity has a responsibility to care for nature and to halt biodiversity loss, according to 76% of Europeans, while 93% state that the European Union should better inform society about...
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Political tide turning in support of EU nature directives

Nine EU member states have officially expressed their opposition to the European Commission’s move to subject the directives on habitats (92/32/EEC) and wild birds (2009/147/EC) to a “fitness check” under its REFIT initiative: Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. In their joint letter, the nine environment ministers state that: “There is now legal certainty as a result of well advanced impleme...
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UNESCO nature parks in Bulgaria threatened by excessive development

Three of Bulgaria’s most significant natural treasures, the parks of Pirin, Rila and Vitosha, are on the verge of opening up to excessive construction development: the draft management plans placed in public consultation in October 2015 allow construction, logging and hunting in zones that are presently protected by law. According to a coalition of environmental groups, the draft plans have not been subjected to the scrutiny of an environme...
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