This research project is focused on the concept of an integrated approach to local economic development and nature protection policy-making, promoted by the United Nations through the concept of Biosphere Reserves. The intention is to investigate innovative approaches to participatory governance of economic development that is socio-culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. The main purpose of the research is to investigate whether biosphere reserves facilitate the participatory process by introducing new governance methods with their establishment, providing wider participation of the stakeholders and the community into the decision–making processes. It considers UNESCO biosphere reserves in terms of the governance structures they adopt and the governance processes, which empower wider public participation. To this end, on one side the research will detect participatory methods occurring in biosphere reserves and on the other hand it will determine the enabling and constraining factors of participatory governance within biosphere reserves. Participatory methods should be investigated within a specific context, therefore, the research will provide a comparative analysis between case studies in Germany and in the Balkan region.
Natasha Donevska has been a PhD candidate at the FFU since October 2013. She holds a Master degree in International Cooperation and Development from the Institute for Advanced Studies IUSS – Pavia, Italy and a Master degree in Human Resource Management from the Univ. of Ss. Cyril and Methodius – Skopje, Macedonia. Since 2009 she works as a consultant for sustainable development in protected areas, mainly UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves.