Project “14 years of support for High Nature Value Farming Systems in Bulgaria: Lessons learnt about the policy and socio-economic challenges underpinning the loss of cultural landscapes in the Mediterranean region

“Conservation is not the protection of nature against human development, but the preservation of life supporting systems and processes as a basis for a lasting development.” Luc Hoffmann, MAVA Founder

STEP was granted by MAVA foundation to work on project MAVA Outcome-Action-Plan (OAP) M6 “Promoting sustainable land-use practices”(https://mava-foundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/M6mini-OAP-revised-090818-ENG.pdf). The main approach of this Action Plan is to support the cultural practices that shape the cultural landscapes that, in turn, harbour biodiversity and preserve natural capital. STEP was awarded a Learning grants project “14 years of support for High Nature Value Farming Systems in Bulgaria: Lessons learnt about the policy and socio-economic challenges underpinning the loss of cultural landscapes in the Mediterranean region” that will be implemented from July 2021 to June 2022.

In the project STEP will use its knowledge and experience and will work with the OAP partners in order to capture the lessons learnt about policy and donor support to High Nature Value Farming Systems (HNVFS). They are in the focus of MAVA OAP M6 “Promoting sustainable land-use practices” due to their inherent characteristics (low intensity, locally adapted and, often, small scale). HNVFS have created and continue to maintain the biodiversity richness and the cultural diversity of landscapes across Europe.

By spreading the lessons learnt from the support schemes for conservation of High Nature Value Farming Systems in Bulgaria and the practical recommendations for the wider Mediterranean region, STEP aims to contribute to maintaining (at minimum) and enhancing (preferable) the adequate and much needed support for HNV farming systems in the CAP Strategic Plans 2023-2027 across the region.

STEP will cover the following activities during the implementation of the project.

- Extract and/or formulate the lessons learnt from the 14 years of support for the management of the High Nature Value Farming Systems (HNVFS) in Bulgaria through EU Rural development programs (2007-2013 and 2014- 2020) and donor-funded schemes/projects.

- Assessment of the economic and social changes of HNV farming systems in Bulgaria in the 2007-2020 period.

- Synthesis report comprising lessons learnt from High Nature Value farming support and related socio-economic changes and challenges as well as CAP policy and practical recommendations for the wider Mediterranean region.