Representatives from the National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) and the Regional Administrations of Protected Areas (RAPA), participated in the study visit organized with the support of NaturAL Project from 10th – 16th of September 2017. The study visit took them to Croatia with the purpose to present best practices of protected areas management in general and specifically the marine and coastal ones.
The study visit was organized following specific topics about institutional and legal framework for nature protection in Croatia, management of institutions and protected areas, sharing experiences and implementation about involving interested groups, information and management of the visitors, civil society collaboration, and development of voluntarism in protected areas.
During the 6 day study tour the participants attended presentations by representatives of park administration of Kornati, representatives of local government and representatives of host association Sounce, visited offices of the Municpality of Sali, sailed along the Natural Park of Telascica and Kornati, and visited Krka NP.
'"The experience of Croatia served as a model for self financing and sustainable management of protected areas" summarized the participants' study report. "However we have to be particularly careful and pay attention to addressing the issue of mass tourism, which is uncontrolled, brings habitat disturbance and risk of loss of values for which a particular Protected Area was proclaimed” they underlined. This could be prevented through careful planning by the PA administrations, undertaking of scientific studies about Carrying Capacity of the parks and of each PA.
Participation of local communities and especially the private owners in the process of decision-making for the management of PA is another important lesson learned in Croatia. It is necessary to include a compensation system that will help in establishing an equilibrium between private rights and the administrate duties of all interested parties.
Experiences from Croatian partners also underlined that being part of the European Union is a big positive step in the range of opportunities that are offered for nature protection, such as financing opportunities for PA administrations, and many more. With this in view the motto of the study group was BEING PART OF EU, IS POSITIVE FOR NATURE.
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