Results of the Project

Component 1

Development of NATURA 2000 proposal and consultation process

The Beneficiary, SINP prepared a first draft of the proposed NATURA 2000 network in Croatia. At the beginning of the project the proposal was not very well known among the general public or many relevant institutions. Therefore it was very important to instigate a process of institutional and public awareness about the importance of NATURA 2000 in Croatia. A pre-step for a successful consultation phase is a certain level of basic information. The PHARE Project team developed a new website to show the NATURA 2000 draft proposal during the consultation process. The most important part of the website beside information and clarification to the whole topic NATURA 2000 was an interactive map, where user can easily search for their proposed NATURA 2000 sites in their region.

Before the participation process was started a training session was hold to “train the trainees” supporting their communication skills and working together on a red line of messages for the workshops. After that the Consultant organised two series of stakeholder consultation workshops with the aim of raising awareness for NATURA 2000 and providing opportunities for commenting on the draft NATURA 2000 proposal.  The working atmosphere in all stakeholder and regional workshops was constantly positive and constructive. People participated very active on each workshop, more than 300 inputs and comments have been worked out in the working groups. The comments of the participants refer to the proposal of NATURA 2000 sites as well as to general expectations, requests or ideas for further cooperation. Many participants mentioned to continue the positive working process with additional tools (workshops, meetings, field trips,…).

Component 2

Developement of the Management Plan for VranskoLake and Jansen

This component envisaged preparing a Management Plan for VranskoLakeNaturePark and the adjacent area of Jasen, which is one of the NATURA 2000 sites included in the proposed list for Croatia. The Nature Park of Vransko Jezero is the most important lake for birds in Croatia. The site faces considerable challenges following changes in the lake hydrology and also arising from different priorities for use and management from the varying stakeholders in the region.

Development of Vransko Jezero and Jasen management plan began by reviewing what is known about the wildlife of the NaturePark, and making surveys to fill gaps in the knowledge. At the same time, Experts of the PHARE Project made a detailed assessment of all the stakeholders in the region and discussed with them in a long series of interviews what their concerns were for the park and its future.

The project team and the beneficiary compiled a significant dossier of published and unpublished background material referring to the biology (especially birds, fish, flora/vegetation and habitats), physical conditions (notably hydrology) as well as the boundaries of the site and its use for tourism. These have been edited into a management plan for this NATURA 2000 site.

Component 3

Development of the Management Plan for large carnivores in Gorski Kotar

Gorski Kotar is the most important site for the conservation of large carnivores in Croatia. It is a huge area of ca 2,700 km2 that is included in the draft list of NATURA 2000 sites for the country. As part of the implementation of the Habitats Directive, one of the objectives of the project was to develop a Management Plan for the area, in cooperation with local communities and other stakeholders through the organisation of a series of workshops.

At a first step a steering committee has been established which will be responsible group for discussion of management in the area. Before the workshops started PHARE Project team had many face to face meetings with important stakeholders and most of the problems were raised by them in order to turn this workshop successful.

A common vision for the Gorski Kotar area was elaborated in cooperation with all stakeholders. The problems for large carnivore management was clustered and intensively discussed. The whole process of this collaboration is now summarized in the management plan. All relevant objectives and activities for this NATURA 2000 site are agreed between SINP, PHARE Project team and the stakeholders.

Component 4

Expert training for establishment and implementation of the mechanism for assessment of impact on NATURA 2000 sites

The Habitats Directive requires a carefully assessment of projects and plans, which is regulated in Art. 6 of the Habitats Directive. This ensures that NATURA 2000 is considered in the l development process as early as possible.

The overall aim of this Component was to enhance the capacity of SINP and other relevant authorities for carrying out ecological impact assessments (EcIAs) in accordance with the National Decree on Nature Impact Assessment (NIA) and requirements for Appropriate Assessments under the Habitats Directive. PHARE Project team started with an analysis of existing legislation followed by training of SINP staff and awareness raising and consultations amongst stakeholders.

To learn from experiences in existing EU countries two study tours were organized to make informed about the legislation, implementation and enforcement of the NATURA 2000 network in the country.  On field visits participants had the opportunity to discuss practical issues with other experts.

The Consultant developed together with SINP a regional based programme of workshops complete with presentations and a brochure on nature impact assessment. The main aim of these regional workshops was to ensure that stakeholders have a clear understanding of the Appropriate Assessment process and that their concerns are identified and dealt with appropriately.

All regional NIA workshops went very well, feed back and comments of the people showed that participants were satisfied with presentations and discussion of the workshop.

Component 5
Public awareness

Public awareness and public understanding are crucial for the establishment and ultimate success of the NATURA 2000 network. Support for protection measures and objectives for NATURA 2000 sites require awareness and at least a general understanding of the need for protection. Therefore this project was also very much focussed on elaborating material for public awareness.

Brochures, leaflets, posters, roll ups which has been produced in this project were used in participation process and will help SINP in future to spread important NATURA 2000 messages to the public.

The content of brochures which are linked to different stakeholder groups was discussed with them in the first round of stakeholder workshops ensuring that main questions of the stakeholders are included in the brochure. The second visibility event was organized as an “NATURA 2000 event” in the city of Zagreb. More than 1.000 people attended the event. Results of the project were presented as well as basic information to NATURA 2000 in Croatia and EU.  Besides that tasters of local food of protected areas were offered to show that protection of our nature needs people who live and work in these areas. Radio stations and TV stations reported about this day.To ensure effective and efficient use of the resources that are available for public awareness raising and outreach, communications activities need to be well-planned and targeted, with a clear idea of the results to be achieved. Therefore a communication strategy was prepared to recommend further steps in communicating with different target groups.