Background information

The Black Sea region with its complex political geography and history of past confrontations is now an area in which the European Union has a strong interest in furthering stability and security after the EU enlargement with two new members bordering on the Black Sea. The Union puts a strong emphasis on cross-border cooperation regarding it as an instrument for furthering the improvement of relations and contacts in the region. That is related to the strategic aim of providing support to sustainable development, to reducing the differences across land and sea borders and to utilising the proximity of the EU in practical terms through exchange and development.

The region itself and the coastal area is characterised with disproportions of economic and social development reflected in nearly every sector of life. The big urban centres on the coast are generally well developed and concentrate a lot of economic and human capacity. The rest of the coastal area and particularly the countryside is falling behind compared to the cities. Therefore, there is a clear need to encourage the efforts for sustainable development of the coastal region both on national level and across the borders, addressing the problem of insufficient cross-border cooperation in the management of nature protected areas. Moreover, the region as a whole demonstrates a fairly low level of awareness on the significance of nature assets as a fundamental condition for sustainable development. That is why, the project seeks to address the problem of insufficient awareness through raising capacity and providing informed access to innovative policies and tools for management of nature protected areas.

In the focus of the project is the insufficient development of modern management tools and infrastructure in nature protected areas. Very few interpretative trails exist to date in the countries of Black Sea basin. In the whole region the most familiar term is ‘tourist paths’. It does not involve the definition of interpretative points of biodiversity, geological diversity and cultural heritage along the trail and the concept of interpretation supported by interpretative media. The project aims to spread the distribution of knowledge around these three spheres and to involve local culture and traditions in sustainability patterns. Another objective is to provide a regional purpose for the efforts toward improvement of the environment. The project seeks to establish a functional structure of transnational character capable of interpreting nature of the region and integrating other participants.