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Study Trip within the "Sustainability of Protected Areas" (SPA) project

As part of the GEF/UNDP BiH "Sustainability of Protected Areas" (SPA) project, a study trip was conducted from September 12th to 16th, 2023, aimed at exploring best practices for ensuring the financial sustainability of protected areas. The delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), comprising 30 representatives from the nature protection sector, government institutions, and tourism experts from the private sector, had the opportunity to learn from experiences and innovative approaches in managing protected areas in Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. The Forestry and Environmental Action - FEA was tasked with crafting a tailored program for the study trip and providing comprehensive support in its organization, guidance, and successful execution. 

The study trip program was designed to cover a range of topics, encompassing innovative financial mechanisms, analysis of past experiences, and exploration of the potential for applying lessons learned to the management of protected areas in BiH. 

The study trip included lectures from representatives of protected areas such as the Dobrač Nature Park in Villach (Austria), the Kalkalpen National Park (Austria), the protected areas of Virovitica-Podravina region (Croatia), the Triglav National Park (Slovenia), and the Nature Park Sečoveljske soline (Slovenia). 

The conclusions of the study trip include: 

  1. Reconciliation of conflicts between use and protection of nature: There is a possibility of achieving a balance between economic development and the preservation of natural resources. 

  2. Collaboration and partnership are crucial: Cooperation with local communities, municipalities, and other governmental bodies is crucial for successful management of protected areas. 

  3. Funding from multiple sources: Protected areas in visited countries are often funded from multiple sources, including state budgets, regional governments, and European funds. 

  4. Planning and management: Long-term plans and annual reports are necessary to monitor success and achieve conservation goals. 

  5. Sustainability and economic viability: Profitable activities such as tourism can aid in the preservation of protected areas, but care must be taken to preserve the environment and its carrying capacities. 

  6. Illegal activities and control: Confronting and preventing illegal activities such as illegal hunting and other unauthorized activities are imperative. 

  7. Monitoring and reporting: Regular reporting on the status and progress of protected areas is crucial for monitoring success and compliance with legal regulations. 

  8. Communication with local residents: Communication with residents is important to ensure support and understanding of the need for nature conservation. 

This study trip marks a significant stride in bolstering the sustainability of protected areas in BiH. Incorporating the lessons learned will be crucial for crafting sustainable management and financing strategies for protected areas in BiH. 


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