PoliciES aims to improve the integration of biodiversity considerations in forestry legislation through the experimental testing of two new Ordinances on forest ecosystem services and on Forest Inventory, thus contributing directly to the Program’s aims, as well as to economic and social cohesion. The project will promote payments for ecosystem services (PES), an innovative instrument addressing effectively environmental an socio-economic challenges .The project will work on a pilot, in Western Stara Planina to develop the first Bulgarian Partly District Forestry Plan, incorporating PES. The lessons learned from the pilot will feed the new legislation. This will be accompanied by capacity building for different stakeholders at pilot and national level. The major beneficiary is the Executive Forest Agency (EFA), which will be supported in drafting and testing the secondary legislation ; the other major target groups are the EFA's subordinated units, local municipalities, forest owners and direct users of forest ecosystem services. The project will use the experience and know-how of the Norwegian partner to integrate the forest ecosystem services and biodiversity information in a company's own software solution, providing the opportunity to assess the impact of forestry management on ecosystem services and the biodiversity. This will support the Bulgarian competent authorities in implementing the legislation.
Summary of project results
The project was focused on solving issues, identified by the programme – lack of coordination, effective legislation and control for dealing with the threats to biodiversity, lack of focus on ecosystem services and their valuation. The payments for ecosystem services are an efficient way of dealing with the issues, related to the preservation of biodiversity. The main project objective was the improvement of the integration of ecosystem services and the biodiversity-related considerations, into the forest legislation, through development and pilot testing of the preparation of a partial experimental Regional forest territories development plan and support for the drafting of the new ordinances on the forest ecosystem benefits and for forest inventory. Project’s contribution is related to the pilot testing of a partial experimental Regional forest territories development plan, integrating payments for forest ecosystem benefits, according to the ordinances developed, in a pilot region in Western Stara Planina; the opportunity to integrate the lessees learned from the pilot testing into the new legislation, as well as into to the capacity building and implementation of management software. Developed strategies and other political documents: -Secondary forestry legislation integrating ecosystem services and the biodiversity developed -Capacity of key forestry decision-makers for the integration of ecosystem services and biodiversity in policies and planning developed -Capacity of key forestry policy implementers for integrating ecosystem services and biodiversity into planning, management and controlling activities developed The target groups are: Executive Forests Agency, the municipalities, the Regional Forests Directorate, forest owners, who provide ecosystem services and the users of the forests – SMEs, entrepreneurs etc. Тhe bilateral relations improved through the cooperation in the project implementation, the achieving of common results and the improvement of the mutual understanding and knowledge of WWF and Emisoft. The Bulgarian side benefited from the use of web-based software for environmental management, which was adapted to the specific needs of the Executive Forests Agency for the implementation of the national forest legislation. The Norwegian partner benefited from the expansion of the scope of its software and by the provision of solutions for reporting and tracing the implementation of legislation.
Summary of bilateral results
As a whole, the bilateral relations improved through the cooperation in the project implementation, the achieving of common results and the improvement of the mutual understanding and knowledge of WWF and Emisoft. This partnership connected the largest environmental organization, WWF Bulgaria, to an experience Norwegian company in the high-tech sector - Emisoft. The added value of the partnership, including NGO and a software company, as well as the main beneficiary, which is a governmental institution, is that each partner contributed with its specific and very different expertise. The Bulgarian side benefited from the use of web-based software for environmental management, which was adapted to the specific needs of the Executive Forests Agency for the implementation of the national forest legislation. The Norwegian partner benefited from the expansion of the scope of its software and by the provision of solutions for reporting and tracing the implementation of legislation, related to ecosystem services. The added value is also related to the fact that along with the project results, the beneficiary will be able to continue to fulfil the requirements for compliance with the legislation, as well as improvements, related to future changes, using the parameters, established in the software. WWF and Emisoft worked together to develop effective practices for the management of future improvements – WWF provided empirical experience, as well as knowledge of the local environment, while Emisoft provided the data management methodologies and the organization know-how for the implementation of projects for achieving compliance with the legislation. The successful project implementation put a start to a good partnership, which enables the implementation of future joint projects and joint strategic thinking.