20 NGO representatives from Serbia and Montenegro gathered in Zadar, Croatia in May 2011 for a study tour planned within the project “Partnership Actions for Biodiversity Protection in Western Balkan”. After study tour to Brussels in September 2010, it was second study tour within this IPA project, and it lasted for three days.
The main purpose of the study trip was for the participants to gain as much as possible knowledge and insights into various aspects of the process of establishment of Natura 2000 in Croatia. Representatives from two key state institutions, Ministry of Culture and State Institute for Nature Protection, responsible for overall legislative harmonization and necessary technical preparations for establishing Natura 2000 network in Croatia explained roles of their institutions, work done so far, on-going efforts and the challenges that lie ahead. Concrete suggestions were also provided to the participants.
Equally important was participation of representatives of two local state institutions, Public Institution for the Management of Protected Nature Areas of Zadar County and Nature Park “Vransko Lake”. Their presentations further elaborated challenges in managing future Natura 2000 sites from a local perspective and thus emphasized important issues such as raising awareness of local stakeholders and their inclusion in decision making processes.
In addition to presentations from state institutions, Association Sunce and Association “Lake” made presentations of their involvement in the efforts of establishing Natura 2000 network in Croatia, explaining this process from an NGO standpoint. Among other topics covered were: Public participation in development of legal framework for nature conservation in Croatia as well as in inter-sectoral cooperation in development of management of protected areas. Similarly, on the second day NGOs from Serbia and Montenegro introduced their ongoing efforts regarding Natura 2000 and presented challenges that lie ahead.
Afternoon session consisted of three working groups in which all the participants brainstormed on several topics, mainly related to upcoming challenges in both countries and potential activities for the recently established Natura 2000 NGO networks in Serbia (Natura 2000 Resource Center) and Montenegro (Natura 2000 Info Center).
The lectures took place in the Impact center in Zadar. But, for the final day of the tour, all the attendees left that beautiful coastal city for an excursion to National park Krka, part of the future Natura 2000 network. There they visited Burnum roman military camp and the beautiful and unique Krka waterfalls. A day in the nature was the most beautiful conclusion of a fruitful stay in Croatia.
Srdjan Uljevic, Sunce