The NATREG Project is addressing the challenge that the potentials of the protected areas as an important instrument of biodiversity conservation and a great potential for social and economic development are still largely unrecognized. Furthermore, the connection between nature conservation and development of protected areas is too weak. Therefore, the project’s main aim is to acknowledge and promote the potentials of natural assets and protected areas as drivers of sustainable regional development, and to increase the perception of preserved nature as a valuable asset.
The Project is connecting six protected areas in the Adria-Alpe-Pannonia territory, namely in Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The project’s main objective is to establish a transnational and multisectoral cooperation network and to develop the Joint Strategy for Integrated Management of Protected Areas. Numerous trainings and knowledge transfer events will be organized. Furthermore, by using the participatory approach, all relevant stakeholders from various sectors such as regional development, spatial planning, nature protection, civil society, etc. will be involved in the development of integrated management plans for protected areas, on the improvement of connectivity between Natura sites and the "Integrated Development Strategy for Green Networks of Protected Areas" in six pilot areas, and the development of new projects. In addition, the Strategy for Development of Ecological Corridors will be prepared before the conclusion of the Project, which is due on July 2001.
Work packages of the project are:
WP 1 – Transnational Project Management and Coordination
WP 2 – Communication and Dissemination
WP 3 – Joint Strategy for Integrated Management
WP 4 – Training and Knowledge Management
WP 5 – Development of Integrated Management Plans
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
Partners have several experiences from the MATRIOSCA (CADSES IIIB) group which was established to understand the needs, potentials and challenges for the cooperation in the Adria-Alpe-Pannonia region. A common problem was identified which led to NATREG project idea by the IRSNC and other project partners.
It was established that very few efforts have been made so far to specifically combine nature conservation management with economic activities of local population of these areas. The protection of nature and natural processes is therefore often perceived as an obstacle to growth and development of areas with rich natural environment.
- The regions involved in the NATREG project are at different levels of development of the management plans in order for management plans to be as successful as possible from the viewpoint nature conservation and sustainable regional development, common strategic principles and guidelines should be developed and followed.
- In many existing guides on preparation of management plans for protected areas, conservation does not apply adaptive management principles nor does it recognize sustainable development as an opportunity for nature conservation. The NATREG project will identify and use the best expertise and best practice to meet the specific needs of the Adria-Alpe-Pannonia region and the larger SEE area.
- Based on practical experience, we can conclude there is very little collaboration between nature conservation and development sectors.The NATREG project will increase the capacity of relevant actors in order to foster the integration and strengthening of participatory planning and inclusive governance in the management of PAs.
The main objective of NATREG project is to make local communities acknowledge, realize and promote the potentials of natural assets and PAs (e.g. Natura 2000, IBA, parks, nature reserves etc.) as drivers of rather than obstacles for sustainable regional development.
- to develop the "Joint Strategy for Integrated Management of Protected Areas" (JSIMPA) through the established transnational and multisectoral network, in order to enable both protection of natural assets and sustainable regional development;
- to build knowledge capacity of project partners and stakeholders on integrated management and inclusive governance of PAs on project and pilot-area levels;
- to implement the "JSIMPA" through the preparation of "Integrated Management Plans of PAs " and "Integrated Development Strategies for Green Networks of PAs" in six pilot areas using the multisectoral participatory method and flexible (site related) approach in order to assure the Eurosite SMART management objectives;
- to prepare at least 18 follow-up project concepts for the further implementation of the concrete measures of management plans and development opportunities. Long term financing of protection measures will be planned and ensured through follow-up sustainable investments in PAs, which will preserve natural assets and biodiversity as natural capital; to raise public awareness on nature potentials as development factors; to build positive perception of nature protection measures and to enhance public participation in managing PAs;
- to enhance best practice and know-how exchange and to disseminate project results within and outside the project territory;
- to assist in effective implementation of EU legislation in managing natural assets and PAs in Croatia and Serbia.
- JSIMPA with an action plan how JSIMPA will be used as a manual in future management planning in all involved regions and countries, and how it will be proposed also to other national and regional authorities and international organizations (EUROSITE, IUCN, WWF, EUROPARC etc).
- 1 transnational and multisectoral network of relevant stakeholders to ensure the capitalisation of project results even after the project end.
- 6 local multisectoral networks for management of protected areas as a support in the implementation of management plans after the end of the project.
- Increased capacity of project partners' staff, administrative actors, and stakeholders that will be trained to follow the principles of JSIMPA in their regular work.
- Integrated Management Plans for 5 concrete PAs as practical examples for the implementation of JSIMPA in project countries; they will also contain action plans for their use in the management of these sites or for their role in legal designation of the PAs as regional or other parks.
- 3 regional, interregional or cross border development strategies for green networks of protected areas according to the JSIMPA.
- At least 18 project concepts for practical realization and sustainability of measures and development potentials defined in Integrated Management Plans.
- Dissemination activities will continue after the end of the project with the help of outputs and results created during the project: final publications, project brochures, internet platform and other tools to promote the discovered development potentials of natural assets in the concrete PAs: created or upgraded websites of PAs, CD ROMs, a didactic tool for children, promotional film for one PA, etc.
- 2 good examples for Natura implementation and management for Serbia and Croatia.
- At least 65 examples of good practice in the management of PAs shared and at least 15 transferred, etc.
The NATREG project will target internally the partners, and externally the stakeholders on 4 levels: EU, national, regional and local (land owners, managing authorities of PAs, national, regional, local authorities, civil society, economic sector, investors, tourist sector, spatial planners, agriculture and forestry sector ...).
Relevant actors together with the project partners will form the transnational multisectoral platform. We distinguish between the stakeholders that will be informed through the project communication tools, and those that might be interested in or affected by the management plans and should therefore be given the possibility to participate in management planning. Depending on the specifics pilot areas, different stakeholders will be relevant; therefore, Site Communication Plans will be developed to address their specific needs.
The South East Europe Programme aims to develop transnational partnerships on matters of strategic importance, in order to improve the territorial, economic and social integration process and to contribute to cohesion, stability and competitiveness of the region. For this purpose, the programme seeks to realize high quality, result-oriented projects of strategic character, relevant for the programme area.
The South East Europe Programme helps to promote better connection between the Member States, candidate and potential candidate countries and neighbouring countries. Regional cooperation in South East Europe is essential, regardless of the different stage of integration of the various countries. The stability, prosperity and security of the region are of significant interest to the EU.
The global and specific objectives of the Operational Programme are pursued through Priority Axes, which contribute differently to the specific programme objectives. Project NATREG is under Priority Axis 2 - Protection and improvement of the environment; Area of intervention 2.3: Promote cooperation in management of natural assets and protected areas.