Earlier this year the World Land Trust was approached by World Learning, who specialise in developing the skills and potential of institutions, to organise a study tour to the UK for eight Bulgarian representatives of the National Trust EcoFund (NTEF). The delegation, comprising of the Deputy Minister of the Environment, Ms. Fatme Iliaz, Head of Protected Areas and Finance experts, sought guidance for the best practice to manage an endowment and administer funds provided under debt-for-environment swaps for environmental protection in Bulgaria. Hosted by WLT, they arrived in the UK on 2nd November for a series of meetings which finished on the 9th.
Their meetings took them to East Anglia, Cambridge and London where they met with representatives of a number of UK and overseas based conservation organisations. These included the World Land Trust, Programme for Belize, The National Trust, the RSPB, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC). Presentations covered topics which included the running of individual organisations to more specific subjects such as fundraising, accessing EU grants, benefits and pitfalls of endowment funds, advertising, marketing and the use of the Web for PR and fundraising.
Field trips to Minsmere Reserve (RSPB), Dunwich Heath (National Trust) and Redgrave and Lopham reserves provided the delegates with an opportunity to witness first hand how UK conservation organisations manage and fund their protected areas.
Between meetings other activities were arranged by the World Land Trust and perhaps the highlight was a private view of the Carl Von Linné's collection held at the Linnean Society of London where original documents and letters dating back to the mid 1700s were shown. The delegation also met with HE Mr. Dobrev the Bulgarian Ambassador in the UK, over lunch at The Rainforest Cafe in Piccadilly. Others attending the lunch included representatives from the British Bulgarian Friendship Society, Ramblers Holidays and Dimitri Dimitrov of the BBC World Service who interviewed delegates for broadcast in the future.
This study tour was a resounding success and achieved its target of providing the NTEF with information and contacts to assist them in furthering the development of environmental work in Bulgaria.
The World Land Trust is an international conservation charity based in Halesworth, a rural town in Suffolk, UK. Since its foundation in 1989 the World Land Trust has been working to preserve the world's most biologically important and threatened lands, and has helped purchase and protect nearly 300,000 acres of habitats rich in wildlife, in Belize, Costa Rica, the Philippines, South America and the UK.
Further information about the World Land Trust can be obtained on www.worldlandtrust.org or by contacting the Trust office. The following links may also be useful:
National Trust Eco-Fund Bulgaria