The fifth conference of the Parks Dinarides, organised by the Parks Dinarides, was held in Bar in 2021. The focus of the conference “Protected Areas for the New Decade – Challenges ahead” were the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the protected areas. There are especially highlighted: decreased income from tourism, difficult implementation of the physical and expert area protection, decreased cooperation with the local community and excessive influence of tourists after the lifting of epidemic measures.
“Although, during the pandemic, certain parts of society were blocked, the nature protection did not stop. The protected areas, although exposed to a number of challenges during the pandemic, have shown significant resilience and most of them managed to recover and to be completely open for visitors this year already. We are happy to see that there comes to an expansion of the protected areas in some countries and we think that facing with new and future risks will depend on our readiness to cooperate regionally. The Parks Dinarides Conference is certainly one of the opportunities for that”, the President of the Parks Dinarides Zoran Mrdak pointed out.
“Misunderstanding of the protected areas function is one of the main barriers for their sustainable management. Everyone has a role in that mind-set shift – managers, decision makers, various institutions for the nature protection, as well as civil society organizations. Only in that way shall we provide for their targeted, long-term and efficient financing. The fact that, during the pandemic, citizens became more aware of their countries’ natural resources and the relevance of conserved nature is one of the steps in that direction”, emphasised Marko Pećarević, Project Manager of the “Protected Areas for Nature and People” from the WWF Adria, world organization for nature protection.
Tamara Brajović, Director of the Nature Directorate in the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism, highlighted that Montenegro identified the relevance of the protected areas and their sound management in the biodiversity conservation. The confirmation of that is reflected in the increased number of the protected areas.