Having in mind that protected areas at the local and national level are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, while at the same time significantly contributing to the existence of local communities, the Center for Protection and Research of Birds has prepared a Study assessing the capacity of institutions and organizations engaged on biodiversity protection in four protected areas in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina: National Park “Durmitor” and Nature Park “Piva” in Montenegro, as well as National Park “Sutjeska” and Nature Park “Blidinje” in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Preparation of the Study “Capacity Assessment Report with recommendations for the development of capacity building programs of all relevant entities for the management of four protected areas in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina” is one of the activities implemented within the cross-border project “BEAR in Mind: Bringing environmental actions for the biodiversity protection across the borders ”, funded by the European Union under the IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Program Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020, as well as the Ministry of Public Administration through the program of co-financing projects and NGO programs supported by EU funds for 2020. The project is being implemented by CZIP in cooperation with partner organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Ornithological Society “Naše ptice” and the Association for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development “Naša baština”).
The aim of the Study, in addition to capacity assessment, is to support the improvement of specific skills of employees in administrative units of protected areas, primarily rangers and all others whose work involves contact with local communities and the general public, so that they can best apply measures to improve the situation with the target species and improve their communication skills with hunting associations and the forestry sector (logging companies). Based on the Report, a special training program will be prepared that will deal with capacity building of key actors in the implementation and enforcement of laws and bylaws in the field of nature protection, all in accordance with EU directives.
“The data we received through free access to information, as well as the answers to the questionnaires filled out by employees in all four protected areas covered by this study, show that it is necessary to work intensively and continuously on strengthening staff capacities to achieve optimal skills of employees to match with the requirements of the job they are engaged in. Managers generally supervise their staff, but without relevant programs and this ad hoc approach to capacity development is not sustainable. Some skills exist, but not enough to guarantee effective planning and management. Also, the knowledge and capacity of local governments in relation to their nature protection obligations are generally low. For this reason, the Study proposes, among other things, some specific activities and trainings aimed at improving the technical capacity of protected areas staff to implement management plans and protect and monitor biodiversity in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina” said Jasmin Murić, project coordinator, on a behalf of Center of Protection and Research of Birds.
In addition to analyzing capacities and making recommendations for their strengthening, the study also analyzes the way in which data on biodiversity are collected in the above mentioned protected areas, quality of the communication and data exchange between responsible institutions at all levels, quality of the communication of protected area employees with local communities, as well as the financial sustainability of the four protected areas.