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Croatia - Preserving Nature

September 4, 2014


World Bank Group

When Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, vast areas of its territory became part of the EU’s Ecological network.

The network, termed Natura 2000, follows specific regulations on nature protection in the country’s numerous national parks, something a World Bank-supported project is now underway to address.

Through the European Union Natura 2000 Integration Project, the country’s nature reserves are getting the funding they need to better protect wildlife and fauna by way of upgraded equipment, such as fire and poaching patrolling boats.

“We will have much stronger control over the area because we will see more than we see now,” says Vladislav Mihelcic, Conservation Manager at one of Croatia’s most beautiful national parks, Kornati, situated along the country’s Adriatic Sea coast.


" We will have much stronger control over the area because we will see more than we see now. "

Vladislav Mihelcic

Conservation Manager at one of Croatia’s most beautiful national parks, Kornati.

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Kornati - one of Croatia’s most beautiful national parks.

Photo: Vanja Frajtic

Mihelcic adds that new information panels and centers provided through the project to parks around the country will now inform visitors about how to better care for Croatia’s nature resources.

“(A) very important thing is to increase the sensibility of visitors related to the park, and knowledge about nature and importance of nature,” he says.

In addition to the new information facilities, new surveillance equipment, and new nature paths, the Natura project is further helping Croatia meet EU directives through the creation of an ecological network data system.

The system consolidates Croatia’s nature protection data, its biological monitoring, and the related inventory work in compliance with the reporting requirements of the EU’s directives on wildlife and habitats.


" We have to report on (wildlife and habitats), but not only report on them but to preserve them. And if you want to preserve something, you have to know where it is and what you should do to preserve it. "

Matija Frankovic

Croatia’s State Institute for Nature Protection


“We have to report on (wildlife and habitats), but not only report on them but to preserve them.  And if you want to preserve something, you have to know where it is and what you should do to preserve it,” says Matija Frankovic, of Croatia’s State Institute for Nature Protection.

Under the ecological data system, he says, tens of thousands of Croatia’s animals, birds, fish, and plants are being documented and categorized, with a focus on how to prevent the country’s dwindling species from disappearing altogether.

A rare breed of indigenous cattle and several other animal species are listed by the ecological data system as endangered and in need of protection on the marshlands where they live and roam in Croatia’s Gajna Natural Park.


" These cows help the pastures to maintain its biological diversity and reduce the possibility of one predominant plant species. "

Simo Benes

Equal Environment, the NGO which helps manage Gajna

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Photo: Vanja Frajtic

“These cows help the pastures to maintain its biological diversity and reduce the possibility of one predominant plant species,” says Simo Benes, of Equal Environment, an NGO which helps manage Gajna.

The Natura project led to the building of a new information center located on Gajna’s marshlands, where tourists and locals alike now learn what to do and what not to, in order to ensure continued preservation of the area.



Project map