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About us








The State Institute for Nature Protection is the central institution carrying out expert tasks of nature protection in Croatia. It was established by virtue of a Regulation of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on 30 October 2002, and began operations in September 2003.

Basic information

The State Institute for Nature Protection was established by virtue of a Regulation of the Government of the Republic of Croatia (OG 126/02), pursuant to the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Republic of Croatia (NSAP; OG 81/99) and the Implementation Plan for the Stabilization and Association Agreement, signed by Croatia and the European Union in 2001. Pursuant to the Nature Protection Act (OG 70/05 and 139/08), the Institute carries out expert tasks of nature protection for the Republic of Croatia, in particular, tasks pertaining to: inventorisation; monitoring and assessing the state of nature; preparing expert base proposals for the protection of natural values; conserving parts of nature; establishing the conditions for nature protection; managing protected areas and the use of natural resources; developing expert base proposals for the assessment of acceptability of interventions in nature; reporting on the state of nature; participation in the implementation of international agreements on nature protection and organising and implementing educational and promotional activities in nature protection.
The Institute began its operations in September 2003, and actively co-operates with state administration bodies, agencies, universities, non-governmental organisations, school and other interest groups.

Reasons for establishment and need for the activities of the Institute

The analysis conducted during the drafting of the NSAP in 1999 showed that Croatia was lacking a central expert body that would systematically collect, co-ordinate and process data on nature protection, thereby laying the foundation for creating nature conservation policy. Higher education institutions, natural history museums, institutes and non-governmental organisations conduct basic scientific research sporadically, while expert tasks such as inventorisation and monitoring are conducted, though not systematically. Until the establishment of the State Institute for Nature Protection, there was no expert conservation service for which these would be the core activities. Expert tasks were partially carried out within the frame of the ministry responsible for nature protection; however, due to predominantly administrative tasks, it was not possible to simultaneously carry out the appropriate level of expert tasks. Namely, since 2000, the Republic of Croatia has become more actively involved in nature protection at the international level and has since ratified more than ten international conventions and protocols.
With the transposition of provisions from these international agreements and the relevant directives of the European Union into the Nature Protection Act from 2005 and its amendments in 2008, and with the opening of the accession negotiations for entry into the European Union in October 2005, the scope of tasks in nature conservation has been greatly increased. As such, these tasks demand a high quality expert service that is capable of following and participating in all the appropriate international activities pertaining to nature protection. As such, the establishment, work and development of the Institute, as the central expert body for nature protection, are the fundamental assumptions for the implementation of the Nature Protection Act and the fulfilment of Croatia's commitments as a future member of the European Union.
The majority of countries in Central and Western Europe have established expert conservation services, made up of institutes, agencies or centres.
At the level of the European Union, the European Topic Centre for Biodiversity acts as the expert support to the Directorates within the framework of the European Commission.

The work of the Institute to date

Since beginning operations (15 September 2003), the Institute has, among other things, carried out tasks such as: inventorisation of species and habitat types for many previously unstudied and poorly known parts of Croatia; establishment of a system for monitoring individual strictly protected species; development of management plans for the wolf and lynx; publication of eight red books of threatened plant and animal species; development of the proposed Croatian Ecological network and preparation of the proposal for the NATURA 2000 ecological network; preparation of draft management plans for four potential NATURA 2000 areas; development of proposals for the protection of some 30 areas; development of expert base proposals for seven important pieces of subordinate legislation on nature protection (including subordinate legislation on the protection of species and areas of the ecological network); development of a draft proposal for the Report on the State of Nature Protection in the period from 2000 to 2007; active participation in the drafting of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity from 2008; development of more than 600 expert base proposals for natural resource management plans and physical plans; and publication of numerous publications for raising public awareness on the need for conservation.
In the past two years, the Institute has also participated or implemented an average of 16 international projects each year. These are projects primarily financed from European Union funds, such as LIFE, CARDS, PHARE, IPA and the Council of Europe. The work of the Institute has been recognized and acclaimed by the European Commission during the implementation of all projects financed by the Union.
Furthermore, experts from the Institute serve as members on 25 international and national expert bodies, committees and working groups, including the Working Group for the preparation of negotiations on the EU acquis communautaire on the chapter Environment. An Institute staff member also serves as chair of the executive council of one of the international agreements to which the Republic of Croatia is a party.
The Institute co-operates with numerous domestic and international institutions, and is an active member of the informal ENCA network (for the heads of European nature conservation agencies). This network promotes more active co-operation on the conservation of marine biodiversity. The Institute was host of the 7th meeting of the network, that held in Croatia in September 2010, attended by representatives of the European Commission.

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