Parks Dinarides — Network of protected areas of Dinarides have signed contracts with grant winners in Grant Program for Protected Areas competition. This cooperation strengthens the role of protected areas in local social and economic development and motivates citizens to get involved and support their protection.
In Montenegro, as it was announced at the press conference, the projects will be implemented in the next ten months by the National Parks of Montenegro, Nature Park Piva and Nature Park Orjen.
Program manager of Parks Dinarides, Jelena Marojević Galić, reminds that the Grant Program for Protected Areas was established in 2018 in cooperation with WWF Adria (World Wildlife Fund) within the project ‘’Protected Areas for Nature and People’’.
"The goal of the program is to help protected areas and institutions to improve cooperation with local communities, increase their role in local social and economic development, and to be more valued and supported by their local communities," said Marojević Galić.
She pointed out that this is the second cycle of grants and that it will be accomplished during 2021. Marojević Galić states that the Grant Program for Protected Areas represents a continuation of support to protected areas in order to improve cooperation and dialogue with local communities, and to establish and strengthen permanent mechanisms for communication and cooperation. The program also encourages the creation of new partnerships at the local and regional level.
"13 project proposals were received for the competition and through the process of external evaluation 7 projects were selected, with a total value of 69,626 euros, of which the Dinarides Parks finance 70 percent of the value, i.e. 48,737 euros," said Marojević Galić.
She explained that the supported projects will be implemented from the following protected areas in the Dinarides region: Nature Park Piva in cooperation with Special Nature Reserve Tivat Saline, Nature Park Orjen, Public Enterprise for National Parks of Montenegro in cooperation with Sutjeska National Park from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Special Nature Reserve Obedska Pond in cooperation with Tivoli Park, Rožnik and Šišenski Hrib from Slovenia, Special Nature Reserve Gornje Podunavlje managed by Public Enterprise Vojvodinašume, Mavrovo National Park from Northern Macedonia, National Park Tara from Serbia in cooperation with Grabovača Cave Park from Croatia.
"The selected projects will be realized during the next 10 months, i.e. by the end of 2021," specified Marojević Galić.
President of Parks Dinarides, Zoran Mrdak, said that the Dinarides Protected Areas Network was formed six years ago, stating that it currently has 97 protected areas from 8 Dinaric Arc countries, including 38 national parks, 21 nature parks, 5 regional parks and 12 special nature reserves.
"In our network, 6 areas are under UNESCO protection. The largest number of protected areas of our network is from Serbia, followed by Croatia and Montenegro. When it comes to Montenegro, our part of the network consists of 5 national parks, Nature Park Piva, Nature Park Orjen and Tivat Saline ", stated Mrdak.
He said that in the period of the coronavirus pandemic, interesting data was obtained which suggest that the parks whose revenues depend to the greatest extent on tourism were the most affected in 2020.
"Every crisis, even this one that will certainly last, will be reflected to the greatest extent in the increase of poaching and the increase of certain negative tendencies concerning the illegal use of natural resources," said Mrdak.
Director of the Public Enterprise for National Parks of Montenegro, Jelena Kljajević, said that the project ‘’Let's make nature happy’’, which is currently implementing, included the youngest population through workshops and interactive events.
"I think it is of special importance, and in that way the awareness of the importance of protected areas, biodiversity and nature conservation and improvement of ecology will increase," said Kljajević.
Director of the Nature Park Piva, Slobodan Delić, said that within the project, he would connect with the Tivat Saline, as well as promote local tourist providers and healthy lifestyles.
"We will use these funds to arrange a health trail, which will be on the site of the village of Nedajno, which has a large number of natural beauties that can be experienced in a couple of hours." As part of the health trail, we will promote local tourist providers, and we will exchange knowledge and experiences with Tivat Saline. In Tivat, we will also promote the offer of the Piva Nature Park, "said Delić.
Director of Nature Park Orjen, Milja Vitorović, points out that the project from this nature park is supported by this grant competition and aimed at economic empowerment and education of women from the Orjen area in order to sustainably valorize resources and create a recognizable local offer.
The Grant Program for Protected Areas of Parks Dinarides has been implemented since 2018, in partnership with WWF Adria, and with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency - Sida.