Funded by the European Union’s IPA 2012 programme, this project will assist Serbian Nature Protection Authorities to better protect Serbia’s unique biodiversity.
The project will over the next 24 months help advance Serbia’s on-going programme to identify and map areas of high nature protection value. Within the project at least 15,000 ha sites are to be mapped in a pilot exercise with the help of a new Natura 2000 database. Selected sites in the future can be presented for potential inclusion in the EU’s Natura 2000 Network.
The project will moreover establish basis for the management of potential future NATURA 2000 sites in line with EU nature protection policy and demonstrate how their implementation may be aided by EU funding instruments.
Two main Beneficiaries of the project are the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the Institute for Nature Conservation Serbia. Besides them a significant number of EU, regional and Serbian scientists are to be involved into the project as well as in the dialogue with public and private landowners affected by the exercise.
A comprehensive awareness campaign is to inform all stakeholders about Natura 2000 in general and objectives and activities of the project in particular.
Through the implementation of this project the Beneficiaries will obtain relevant and useful support for setting up the Natura 2000 network in Serbia and to strength capacities to implement EU policies and legislation in nature protection as a prerequisite for becoming an EU member state.
The preparation for establishing Natura 2000 in Serbia will ensure that in the medium term all habitats and species meriting special protection in the country will be identified and that in the longer term their management towards good conservation status will be secured in line with EU standards.
Why is it beneficial for Serbia to implement Natura 2000?
Serbia’s natural areas are embedded in a wide spectrum of ecosystems ranging from sub Mediterranean to subarctic. This unique setting has generated a wealth of habitats and species making the country a regional centre of biodiversity. Serbia is home to 74% of the European bird – and 67% of the European mammal fauna.
At present protected areas cover 6,51 % of the country’s’ territory. Ecological network is established by the Decree on Ecological Network in 2010 comprises of ecologically important areas of national and international importance including ecological corridors. Work on Serbia’s full inventory of high value habitats and species is meanwhile ongoing in support of the Government’s declared intention to increase the country’s area under nature protection substantially. The preparation for establishing Natura 2000 in Serbia will ensure that in the medium term all habitats and species species meriting special protection in the country will be identified and that in the longer term their management towards good conservation status will be secured in line with EU standards.
Preparation for Natura 2000 is therefore a key step towards better protecting and maintaining Serbia’s rich natural capital for future generations. Also, readiness for the implementation of the European Union’s Nature Protection Legislation and in particular the designation of habitats and species that must be protected under the European Natura 2000 network needs to be demonstrated by any candidate country prior to becoming an EU member state.