Strengthening nature protection in Croatia

The Environment Agency Austria and Croatian partners improve procedures for ecological network impact assessment

© Fotostudio Wilke

Vienna, 23 November 2015 – The Austrian expert organisation and the Croatian Environment Agency have conducted intensive work on the implementation of an ecological network impact assessment (according to the European Habitats Directive) in Croatia since June 2015. At the official closing event of this cooperation project on 24 November 2015 in Zagreb high-ranking representatives from both partner institutions presented the results achieved during the last six months. "The successful cooperation between the Environment Agency Austria and the Croatian authorities has contributed significantly to improving the level of environmental protection in our partner country in the last few years", says Georg Rebernig, managing director of the Environment Agency Austria. “Under this latest project, Croatia has prepared itself for one of the key challenges of the future: the conservation of biodiversity.”

 

The Habitats Directive aims to maintain or restore a favourable conservation status of natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest. Any plans or projects that might have a harmful effect on Natura 2000 sites have to undergo an appropriate assessment to identify any impacts on these sites. Under the now finalised project a guidance document for the implementation of such ecological network impact assessments according to the Habitats Directive was developed together with representatives from the Croatian authorities. Based on three project types (small hydroelectric power stations, river engineering and transport infrastructure) an overview of appropriate measures to help prevent negative impacts of plans and projects on Natura 2000 sites was established. In training sessions and workshops experts from Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic imparted their knowledge on European state-of-the-art ecological network impact assessments to the Croatian nature protection authorities and discussed best practice examples.

Perspectives on Southeast Europe and beyond: 112 projects, 27 countries

 

The Environment Agency Austria is the leading organisation of experts for all environmental topics and media in Austria and, with a track record of more than 100 individual projects in 27 countries in Eastern and Southeast Europe and in the Mediterranean countries, an experienced project partner. The Environment Agency Austria builds bridges between the economy, science and politics at national and international level, while also developing perspectives on the sustainable development of society in Austria and in Europe and beyond. Through administrative partnerships – so-called Twinning projects – the Environment Agency Austria has been supporting Central and Southeast European authorities in important environmental matters since 1999. It has assisted them in institutional capacity building and in the implementation of EU law. The funds for these projects are provided by the EU.

 

The Environment Agency Austria in a nutshell

 

In 2015 the Environment Agency, Austria‘s largest expert organisation for environmental issues, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. With more than 450 staff members from 55 scientific disciplines, it is one of the largest employers in the environment sector in Austria today. In its 30-year history the Environment Agency Austria has, with its expertise, played a decisive role in shaping environmental protection and monitoring in Austria and in Europe. To meet challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity or the energy transition, the Environment Agency Austria develops strategies and solutions and provides them for decision-makers in politics, administration and the economy. At international level, the Environment Agency Austria is actively involved in more than 200 networks and bodies and provides advice e.g. to the European Parliament and the EU Commission.

 

Further information:
Petra Kestler, Environment Agency Press Office, Tel.: +43 (0)1 31304-5432