Overcome pressure on protected areas through regional cooperation
The three-day conference of Parks Dinarides, a network of protected areas of Dinarides, was held in Bar (Montenegro) in the presence of managers from Albania, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as well as representatives of relevant government agencies and civil society organizations. The topic of the conference were the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to protected areas, the main ones being the loss of tourism revenues, difficult implementation of specific measures to protect the area, weakened cooperation with the local community or excessive influence of tourists after abolition of epidemic measures.
Nevertheless, the conference was characterized by a positive mood due to the noticeable positive trend of increasing the number of protected areas in the region, because they are one of the measures to prevent pandemics.
"Although during the pandemic certain parts of society were blocked, nature protection did not stop. Protected areas, although exposed to numerous challenges during the pandemic, have shown that they are much more resilient and most have managed to recover and be booked by visitors this year, which is why they now have some other kind of problem. We are pleased that in some countries there is an expansion of protected areas and we believe that facing new and future risks will depend on our willingness to cooperate regionally. The conference of Parks Dinarides is certainly one of the opportunities for that ", the president of Parks Dinarides Zoran Mrdak pointed out.
The value of the protected area cannot be measured by the income it generates, but whether it fulfills its primary functions, which is the preservation of biodiversity, which ensures the well-being of both nature and people, said Marko Pećarević, project manager of "Protected areas for nature and people" from WWF Adria, the world organization for nature protection.
"Lack of understanding of the function of protected areas is one of the main obstacles to their sustainable management. Everyone has a role to play in changing this awareness - managers, decision makers, various nature protection institutions, as well as civil society organizations. Only in this way, we will provide their targeted, long-term and efficient financing. The fact that during the pandemic, citizens became more aware of the natural resources of their countries and the importance of preserved nature, is one of the steps towards that" Pećarević pointed out.
Tamara Brajović, director of the Directorate for Nature in the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism, pointed out that Montenegro recognized the importance of protected areas and their good management in preserving biodiversity. Confirmation of that is reflected in a number of new protected areas, and she announced that Katič will be officially declared a new marine protected area this week.
One of the speakers at the conference was Mr. Boris Erg, Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who presented the conclusions and findings of the recent World Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Marseille September 11.
At the conference, new parks were accepted as members of Parks Dinarides network: NP Galičica from Northern Macedonia, NP Drina from Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the Public Forestry Company “Šume RS” which manages several protected areas: Cicelj Nature Park, Orjen I Nature Park, Prača Nature Park, as well as Lom and Janj rainforests in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the conference, the VI General Assembly of Parks Dinarides was held, at which a new Board of Directors of the organization was elected, as well as the president and two vice presidents of the Assembly. In the next 3 years, the members of the Management Board will be: Mr. Amarildo Mulić, Director of NP Una (BiH), Mr. Dragic Karaklić, Director of NP Tara (Serbia), Mr. Fatmir Brazhda, Director of Protected Areas of Elbasan (Albania), Mr. Igor Kreitmayer, Director of Nature Protection Directorate in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (Croatia), Mr. Samir Ajdini, Director of NP Mavrovo (Northern Macedonia), Mr. Slobodan Delic, Director of Piva Nature Park (Montenegro), Mr. Isak Rakovica, Park Germia (Kosovo*) and Mr. Teo Hrvoje Oršanič, Director of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Protection (Slovenia). Mr. Karaklić and Mr. Oršanič were elected Vice-Presidents of the Management Board.
Mr. Nenad Strizrep from Croatia was re-elected President of the Assembly, and Ms. Ornela Poci (Albania), Mr. Bajram Kafexholli (Kosovo*) and Mr. Novica Zečević (Northern Macedonia) were re-elected Vice-Presidents.
During the conference, a study visit to the Skadar Lake National Park was organized.
Presentations from the event can be found on the right side of the screen in the Documents section.