Slovenia is home to 354 Natura 2000 sites, 323 of which were designated according to the Habitats Directive and 31 according to the Birds Directive. These sites contain 236 priority species and 60 priority habitat types, covering 7.683 km2 ha or 37.2% of the country, which is the highest (terrestrial) percentage in the EU.
A new Management Programme for the period 2014-2020 was required after the conclusion of the previous one in 2013. The programme would form the basis for achieving a favourable conservation status of Natura 2000 species and habitat types for the next financial framework.
In order to prepare as good a Management Programme as possible, implementation of measures and achievement of objectives of the previous Management Programme needed to be thoroughly analysed. A draft version of the new programme would also need to be discussed with all relevant stakeholders and prepared for adoption by the Slovenian government. Additionally measures from the new programme would be integrated into operational programmes for attracting EU funds.
The main objective of the project was to prepare the Natura 2000 Management Programme for Slovenia for the period 2014-2020, which would be adopted by the government. Further project objectives were to:
- Integrate measures/solutions from the Natura 2000 Management programme (2014-2020) into operational programmes for gaining EU funds (agricultural, structural and cohesion, fisheries and LIFE+);
- Finalise and update a Prioritised Action Framework as required by Article 8 of the Habitats Directive;
- Analyse the implementation of measures and achievement of objectives from the Natura 2000 Management Programme 2007-2013 and to use these results in preparation of the new programme;
- Communicate measures for Natura 2000 to different stakeholders and target groups and raise their awareness of Natura 2000 and increase awareness of general public on importance of Natura 2000;
- Identify the opportunities of Natura 2000 sites for local and/or regional development, jobs and economic growth;
- Adopt an act (the Natura 2000 Management Programme) harmonised with all competent sectors to properly manage the Natura 2000 sites in the country in the period 2014-20; and
- Increase the understanding of the main stakeholders that Natura 2000 is a good opportunity for sustainable development.
The SI Natura2000 Management project provided the basis for future biodiversity conservation in Slovenia. Its main outcome, the Natura 2000 Management Programme for the period 2015-2020, was officially adopted by the Slovenian government in April 2015. The programme provides the foundation for achieving improved conservation status of Natura 2000 species and habitat types in the future. The Management Programme also provides the basis for applying for specific EU funds.
Measures from the Natura 2000 Management Programme have already been integrated into several sectorial and other operational programmes, including:
- Rural Development Programme 2014-2020;
- Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020;
- Regional development programmes (12 regions);
- European Territorial Cooperation (4 Cross Border Cooperation programmes); and
- Operational programme for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
The project furthermore created a comprehensive database that includes detailed conservation objectives for every species and habitat type in the Natura 2000 sites. To facilitate potential applicants submit Natura 2000 project proposals, a sophisticated web tool was developed that guides them through the preparation process.
Additionally, the following official documents were prepared:
- Prioritised Action Framework 2014-2020;
- Analysis of the implementation of measures and objective achievement of the Natura 2000 Management Programme 2007-2013;
- Recommendations for the better use of funds in the new operational programme;
- Overview of financing opportunities for Natura 2000 in the new EU financial perspective;
- Guidelines for financing the measures defined in the Natura 2000 Management Programme for the period 2014 – 2020; and
- Integration of measures/solutions of the Natura 2000 Management Programme into sectorial and operational programmes for obtaining EU funds (agricultural, cohesion, structural, Maritime and Fisheries Fund).
These documents establish the legal basis for identified conservation measures, planning, implementing bodies and types of funding sources. The improvement of the conservation status of Natura 2000 species and habitats is expected through the strong involvement of public services, responsible for management of forests, waters, fisheries and indirectly agricultural land, as well as through increased conservation efforts. An Annex of the Management Programme includes a list of investments and services that can benefit from the Natura 2000 network.
The Natura 2000 Management Programme serves as a good practice example for EU candidate countries, such as Montenegro, Serbia and FYR of Macedonia. These countries have similar legislation on the management of natural resources due to their joint legislation in the past.
The project was awarded with “Best” LIFE Nature project award for 2016.
Applicant: Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo in okolje (Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment)
Zavod RS za varstvo narave (Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation)
Zavod za ribištvo Slovenije (Fisheries Research Institute of Slovenia)
Inštitut za vode Republike Slovenije (Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia)
Kmetijsko gozdarska zbornica Slovenije (Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia)
Zavod za gozdove Slovenije (Slovenian Forest Service)
Duration: 20-AUG-2012 to 30-JUN -2015
Total budget: 1,706,914.00 €
EU contribution: 853,457.00 €