About Natura 2000

The Natura 2000 network – the key instrument of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy – works to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitat types. Becoming a reality in all EU Member States and stretching over 18 % of the EU’s land area and almost 6 % of its marine territory, it comprises the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, and its extension is envisaged in all potential EU Member States.

The Natura 2000 network is composed of sites dedicated to the conservation of birds (SPAs – Special Protection Areas) and selected fauna, flora and habitat types (SCIs – Sites of Community Importance) established pursuant to the EU Nature Directives – the Birds Directive (147/2009/EU) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC).

The preparation for Natura 2000 is quite a complex, lengthy process which requires specific capacities, expertise, organization and funding. Without full meeting the requirements of the preparatory steps due prior to the accession, no Candidate Country can be allowed to join the EU.

Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves from which all human activities would be excluded. The approach to conservation and sustainable use is much wider, largely centered on people working with nature. Although Natura 2000 sites are selected strictly by scientific criteria, the Member States have to ensure their management in a sustainable manner, both ecologically and economically.

Montenegro and Natura 2000

Environmental protection is identified as one of the major goals in Montenegro in various strategic documents and the EU accession process is treated with priority in the country. With respect to nature protection, Montenegro has to transpose and implement the two EU Nature Directives, the Birds and the Habitats Directives. It is important to have a clear vision of the whole process up to the final stage and, as human capacities are limited, it is important to streamline processes and to use experiences from other countries as much as possible.

Initial work on the establishment of Natura2000 in Montenegro started in 2009 in the frame of  the project ’Montenegro and Natura 2000: Strengthening the capacities of Government and civil sector to adapt to EU Nature protection acquis’, implemented by WWF, the Institute for the Protection of Nature and Daphne-Institute of Applied Ecology. The project was completed in 2012 and results can only be seen as very first steps in a lengthy process.

Project “Establishment of Natura 2000 network in Montenegro”

The EU-financed project ’Establishment of NATURA 2000 network’ provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism (MoSDT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s purpose is to carry out necessary activities to start with laying foundations for the designation of the future Natura 2000 network. Project implementation started on 26 April 2016 and will last for 3 years. Project activities are grouped in 3 main components; all three are interconnected and are implemented according to the requirements of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

Component 1

Starting points are theoretical prerequisites, namely, preparatory activities needed for any subsequent action. Stakeholders have to be identified and trained, the concept for Natura 2000 in Montenegro has to be agreed, transposition completed and related draft by-laws provided. In addition, reference lists according to the Annexes of the Habitats Directive are to be elaborated and the exact boundary between the two bio-geographical regions (Alpine and Mediterranean) defined.

Component 2

Activities focus on meeting the Birds Directive obligations. The bird reference list is to be established and SPA selection criteria for Montenegro elaborated. Combining information from literature and other expert sources – amongst others, from the existing Important Bird Areas (IBAs) – with data from extensive field work, proposals for SPAs will be prepared and agreed.

Component 3

The goal of the component is to help the country to collect, verify and process data, mostly from a few pre-selected areas (Key Biodiversity Areas – KBAs). Activities are directed towards habitat mapping and species data gathering during two full seasons. The work is carried out by local experts, covering all taxonomic groups and guided by technical guidelines. A Verification Board will ensure data quality.

Potential Natura 2000 sites can only be proposed when an inventory of the entire country is available. Based on the data gap analysis, the project will elaborate a roadmap for the next steps towards the completion of the Natura 2000 network. This will include areas for further research, human and financial needs as well as institutional and organizational issues.

Project Team

Sissi Samec

Key Expert 1 – Team Leader

Ms. Samec has been active for more than 30 consecutive years, the beginning of her professional career in biodiversity and nature protection dates back to 1986. Since 1998, she acted in different positions in many nature-related projects in Central and South-Eastern European countries (before in tropical countries). Her experiences as a team leader cover more than 16 years, leading multi-national/sectoral expert teams. She offers proven management skills, covering besides a wide field of expertise, strategic planning and implementation of projects, quality control, monitoring and evaluation, technical and financial reporting. Ms. Samec is specialized in using participatory multi-stakeholder approaches and she is an experienced facilitator with good communication, presentation and negotiation skills. Through numerous projects she became familiar with the international framework for environmental governance and brings in sound knowledge of European policy instruments as well as an excellent understanding of the EU environment acquis (especially of the Habitats and Birds Directives, Water Framework Directive, etc.) and the EU enlargement process. Ms. Samec has high capabilities to coordinate and supervise complex situations and is offering substantial hands-on experience in the establishment of the NATURA 2000 network in terms of legal, technical and administrative requirements (approach, methodology, site selection, designation, application, management).


Borut Rubinic

Key Expert 2 – Expert in SPA preparation

Mr. Borut Rubinic has more than 27 years of experience in bird – and nature protection and is a member of DOPPS-BirdLife Slovenia (Bird Watching and Bird Study Association of Slovenia). He has 13 years of professional experience as lead coordinator and team leader of national and international projects on bird monitoring, zoning, nature conservation, EU policy regulation projects and and GIS. With excellent skills in gathering, processing and evaluation of scientific bird faunistic and ecology data, Mr. Rubinic has led several international EU funded projects on IBA/SPA designation in SE Europe and has deep knowledge of EU Natura 2000 legislation and EU projects. He has vast regional and specific knowledge for Montenegro in terms of birds, their ecology and conservation, biodiversity, geography, culture, language, legislation and environmental regulations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology (M.Sc. equivalent) from the University of Ljubljana and is fluent in written and spoken English. Mr. Rubinic is an experienced team leader, facilitator, training organizer, project writer and evaluator of project implementation and has specific experience in Montenegro since 2002


Jaanus Paal

Key Expert 3 – Habitat and Species Expert

Habitat and Species Expert is professor Jaanus Paal, an Estonian expert with over 40 years of accumulative professional experience in the field of nature protection and applied vegetation science.He has over 15 years of experience closely related to mapping, species data gathering and data management for Natura 2000 preparation gained in the positions listed below after the year 2000. Since July 2000, Mr. Paal has been working within University of Tartu on issues including plant species and vegetation communities/habitats mapping, data gathering and management for the Estonian NATURA 2000 preparation and implementation. Since January 2003 until today, Mr. Paal has been working continuously on projects related to NATURA 2000 mapping, data management and Habitats Directive. He has extensive knowledge of habitat classification systems and their compatibility with NATURA 2000 classification and is author of two editions (2004, 2007) of the Estonian Handbook of Habitat Directive habitat types. Mr. Jaanus has excellent knowledge of EU legislation related to nature protection and biodiversity and is author of 37 publications related to NATURA 2000.


Marko Sijan

Project Director

Mr. Marko Sijan holds an M.Sc. in Economics from the Belgrade University, Serbia. He has 10 years of experience in EU financed contract management, consultancy, negotiation and organisation. He is highly experienced in large-scale projects management and quality control of project deliverables in the Western Balkans region.
Mr. Sijan has long years’ experience in successfully managing international teams including technically high qualified and experienced experts as well as local and international back office staff, irrespectively of the geographical location of team members. As Account Manager for environmental, public administration and statistical projects, he successfully represents the company or the consortium towards high level stakeholders on various events, such as Steering Committees, visibility events, workshops, study visits… Through his work he gained skills in multicultural, multi-stakeholder and politically fragile environment in the management of complex international projects.


Eve Kopataki

Project Coordinator

Ms. Eva Kőpataki – Nagy holds a Bachelor degree in economics from the University College for Modern Business Studies in Hungary, a Masters in Environmental Science, Policy and Management (MESPOM) from the Central European University in Hungary and the University of Manchester, UK. She has over 6 years of experience in coordination of domestic and international, – geographically and budget-wise (over 2,5 million EUR) large scale – projects, mainly on the field of environment, nature protection and water with a demonstrated history of working in the consultancy industry.
She has vast experience in international relations, account management, business development and management of technical tenders and contracts under various programmes (e.g. EuropeAid, World Bank, EBRD, LIFE+, Horizon2020, etc.) including EC framework contacts mainly on the field of Water, Climate Change, Environment and Nature Protection.


Jelena Delić

Project Assistant

Ms. Jelena Delic holds Bachelor degree from the Law Faculty Podgorica, University of Montenegro. She gained experience in research, data analysis and international law at Research centre of Parliament of Montenegro. She has more than 5 years experience international donor funded project coordination on the field of environmental and nature protection. Ms Delic has gained deep understanding about EU directives and international conventions ratified by the state, EU legislative compliance on the field of nature protection, in particular Natura 2000. Moreover, she proved excellent organisational and communicational skills through working with donor organisations, coordination of project partners, environmental experts and volunteers, organising workshops, conferences and project meetings.


Field Experts

  • Andrej Vizi Ornithological technical Expert
  • Bojan Zekovic Ornithological technical Expert
  • Jernej Figelj Ornithological technical Expert
  • Uku Pal Ornithological technical Expert
  • Danilo Mrdak Fish field expert
  • Vukojica Despotovic Hydrobiological technical expert
  • Slaviša Lučić Forest Technical expert
  • Aleksandar Stijović Forest Technical expert
  • Jasmin Pašić Bats Field Expert
  • Jasminko Mulaomerović Bats Field Expert
  • Danijela Stešević Habitats expert (botany)
  • Snežana Dragićević Botanist (mosses), habitat expert (grasslands, screes, rocky habitats)
  • Snežana Vuksanović Habitat expert (riverside thickets, grasslands, heaths, mires, screes)
  • Đorđije Milanović Botanist, habitats expert (grasslands, screes, rocky habitats, forests)
  • Danka Petrović Habitat expert (forests, grasslands)
  • Marko Karaman Speleologists Expert
  • Miloš Pavicević Speleologists Expert
  • Aleksandar Perović Large carnivors expert
  • Igor Stojović Technical expert on mammals inventory
  • Vuk Iković Reptiles and amphibians field expert
  • Slađana Gvozdenović Specialist – technical expert on reptiles and amphibians
  • Aleksandra Gligorović Coleoptera field expert
  • Predrag Jakšić Lepidoptera field expert
  • Bogić Gligorović Dragonflies field expert
  • Miloje Šundić Orthoptera field expert
  • Bratislav Grubač Ornithological expert
  • Marija Šoškić Ornithological expert
  • Ivan Budinski Small mammals expert
  • Ivana Selanec Small mammals expert
  • Rajko Slapnik Molluscs expert
  • Dmitar Lakušić Habitat expert (botany)
  • Tomaž Remžgar Ornithological Expert
  • Tomaž Mihelič Ornithological Expert
  • Peter Skoberne NATURA 2000 obligations training expert
  • Petri Ahlroth Senior Animal species Expert
  • Veselina Petrova Senior Legislation Expert
  • Katya Hristova Natura 2000 legislation expert
  • Mladen Gramatikov Expert on Natura 2000 related data management and GIS work
  • Michael Hošek Habitat Directive expert (habitats)
  • Dijana Župan Habitat Directive expert (species)
  • Dijana Župan Habitat Directive expert (species)
  • Neven Trenc Natura 2000 expert – appropriate assessment
  • Erica Stanciu Preparation of ‘Management Guidelines’ expert
  • Jovana Janjušević Local legal expert
  • Nataša Miličković Local legal expert

Project Consortium


Founded in 1994, AAM Management Information Consulting Ltd. (AAM or AAM Consulting) is one of the largest multinational Management Consulting firms in the SEE region. AAM provides support to both its public administration and private clients in the broad areas of management and IT advisory. All our international consultants (currently some 90) are highly educated professionals with extensive, continuously expanding, international experience and excellent foreign language skills.

AAM has been operating an International Business Unit since 2004 with experienced staff in management and coordination of international, donor-funded projects. In our operation, we ensure balance in human resource management: we assign experienced staff to the project implementation who work with maximum two projects at the same time. Consequently we have deep understanding of the procedures/processes, key issues and actual problems of the projects. Our consultant team is committed to continuous development both from professional and management point of view. Since our staff is actively involved in project implementation, we have the opportunity to learn on the spot, analyse the experience of each project and further improve the management practices and operation procedures. Due to the professional resource management and the size of our company, we maintain close cooperation with the stakeholders on all projects. As a consequence we are fully aware of project activities thus we are able to react immediately if that is necessary. Management always follow the professional activities and harmonise project activities according to the real needs. This is the only way to ensure the real best value for money principle and sustainability. As the leader of the Consortium, AAM Consulting brings extensive international as well as local experience, with a number of relevant references, and has a pertinent professional background, working with both international and local experts. While applying industry best practices and European standards, AAM maintains its focus on the particular needs of the central and local public administration and government agencies it works for in the countries of the CEE/SEE region.

Over the years AAM Consulting has built up a wide range of competencies in a number of service areas, a specific field being provision of consultancy in EU and World Bank projects, including generating and raising of such project funds, and providing technical assistance for the implementation focusing on capacity building.

The high standard and consistent quality of our work is guaranteed by our quality management system established according to the ISO 9001 standard and certified since October 1996 by BSI (British Standards Institution) (BSI FS 35221), updated according to ISO 9001/2008 standard in 2014 and certified by SGS (SGS United Kingdom Ltd.) (HU02/0008). In July 2005, AAM also introduced the information security system ISO/IEC 27001/2008 (certified by SGS Hungary Ltd. HU07/2616).

FCG International Ltd.

FCG International Ltd is a member of FCG Finnish Consulting Group Ltd (FCG) which is a multi-expertise consulting company that provides services in infrastructure, energy, environmental and urban design, multidisciplinary training and in developing public services. FCG Finnish Consulting Group Ltd. is one of the leading consulting companies in the Northern Europe possessing a strong technical competence and being able to call on the vast network of experts.

FCG International Ltd strives to improve the quality of environmental infrastructure, and has a strong solid background in the development of the environmentally sustainable paths, supporting innovative and locally appropriate solutions. FCG is familiar with the development of policies, strategies and legislation, fund management and calls for proposals management, technology transfer and innovations, project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, feasibility studies, due diligences, procurement and implementation.

Diversified services of FCG cover institutional development, management consultancy and training, planning of investment projects for environmental engineering and consultancy for international development projects. FCG offers professional in-depth expertise in capacity development, environmental development, finance, IT, education and training, administration, business and corporate management. FCG is a wide network of consulting companies with headquarters in Finland and operational companies in Bulgaria, Sweden, Estonia, Romania, Serbia and New Zealand. FCG has carried out over 600 projects in around 100 countries worldwide. FCG has a vast experience of implementing projects in the field of Environmental and Social Monitoring in the CIS and Eastern Europe as well as all over the world.

Institute of Marine Biology, Kotor


The Institute of Marine Biology was founded in 1961 by a Decree of the People’s Republic of Montenegro, which was officially published on the 11th of December 1961 in the Official Gazette of the People’s Republic of Montenegro. Through its history, the Institute was beeing organised and re–organised, and its name changed many times. Since 1997 it has born its current name, and in 2004 it joined the University of Montenegro, the member of which it has remained until today.

The decades–long programme policy of the Institute, the only institution in Montenegro dedicated to the research of the sea, is grouped into several linked areas:

  • biological, ecological, taxonomic and hydrographical research of the marine life
  • population dynamics and suggestions for rational exploitation of the economically important species of fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods
  • neurophysiologic research in marine organisms
  • research and protection of flora and fauna as well as the hydrographical properties of the Boka Kotorska bay
  • advancement of marine fisheries and aquaculture and dealing with artificial fertilisation of certain economically important species of marine organisms
  • oceanographic research of the south Adriatic
  • preservation and advancement of the environment in the south Adriatic area (Montenegrin littoral)

The main goal of the research at the Institute is familiarisation with the animal and plant populations of the south Adriatic, their relations with the biotic and abiotic factors, the interaction between the sea and the littoral, and the scientific interpretations of the changes in the ecosystem due to the climatic and anthropogenic influences.

Besides the fundamental research, the Institute is involved in many projects of a more practical nature, including the conservation of the environment, marine fisheries, aquaculture, integrated coastal area management, through which scientific research is put into practical use.


POVVIK is a leading consulting company providing a full range of services to its clients in the field of environmental management. The company was established in 1992 and it is the first private consultancy in Bulgaria in the field of environmental protection and development of environmental infrastructure.

At the beginning of 2000, a process of active transposition of EU legislation into national legislative regulations commenced in Bulgaria. It covers the whole range of the applicable European legislation in the field of environmental protection and in particular the Directives relating to various environmental components and factors (noise, water, air, physical radiation, geology, etc.), as well as those related to comprehensive assessments of the impact of investment projects, plans or programs on the environment (EIA, appropriate assessment and biodiversity policy directives). Thus POVVIK integrated into its existing portfolio of services those related to complex assessments of environmental impact and for a short time established itself as a leading consultancy in the sector. In 2004 POVVIK, in collaboration with DHV Netherlands developed methodological guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment in Bulgaria, approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water and in-use until nowadays.

The background of POVVIK for more than 20 years now establishes the company as one of the most reliable and experienced service providers in the field of environmental protection not only in Bulgaria but also in neighbouring countries such as Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, and Montenegro. The company’s activities relate to furnishing various consulting assistance in the field of environmental legislation and ensuring compliance with the constantly increasing requirements and standards.


SI Eco Consult is one of the leading companies in Bulgaria specialized in implementing the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC, the Birds Directive 2009/147/EC, the NATURA 2000 network in the country, integrated river basin management, solving non-standard problems in the water sector (surface waters, ground waters, coastal & marine issues), fishery & aquacultures, forestry, biodiversity and sustainable development issues as a whole.

The company provides high-quality products in environmental sector, water management, etc., e.g. integrated water management plans, drinking water supply strategies and programs, ecological sanitation programs, research & development products, programs for sustainable use of nature resources, feasibility & pre-feasibility studies, technical design of various facilities (wastewater treatment facilities, drinking water purification systems, etc.), afforestation plans, fishery strategies & plans, etc.

The main fields of interest are biodiversity conservation, nature resource management, wetland and river restoration, protected areas & NATURA 2000 sites management, rehabilitation of polluted/destroyed areas, professional training and public campaigns in environmental protection and management issues.

Professional capacity in biodiversity & NATURA 2000

SI Eco Consult Ltd. is a small company with 5 employees (permanent staff) and up to 247 experts hired on project-based approach. In addition, it engages international experts who work on a project base in the field of biological and environmental sciences (biodiversity, biological monitoring, forestry, IT/GIS, etc.).SI Eco Consult Ltd. has working contacts with a big number of companies, local authorities, scientific organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria and abroad.

Institute for Biological Research “Sinisa Stankovic”, University of Belgrade (IBISS)

The Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković” (“IBISS”) is the largest (14 Departments and 5 supporting Units) and most complete research institution for biological sciences in Serbia. IBISS is an independent research Institute founded 1947 (former names Institute for Ecology and the Institute for Developmental Physiology, Genetics and Selection). Of the 311 employed, 197 members have PhD (56 are Principal Research Fellows, 42 are Senior Research Associates, 99 are Research Associates) and 76 are PhD students.

Research in the IBISS is primarily focused on fundamental studies in biology including comprehensive inter- and multidisciplinary investigations in ecology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, cytology, physiology, insect physiology, plant physiology, neurobiology, immunology, hydrobiology, evolutionary biology, taxonomy, biogeography, environmental protection, etc. In period from 2000 up to know, IBISS were participated in 71 fundamental, 8 projects of the program “Technological development” (funded by Ministry of Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia), 4 projects of the European Commission Framework Programs, and more than 25 applied national and international projects financed by other sources.

Researchers in IBISS carry out mainly scientific and applied studies that include study of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, species and habitat mapping, diversity of plants, aquatic organisms (phytoplankton, phytobenthic, aquatic macrophytes, macroinvertebrates and fishes), insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. In total 50% of research staff is trained to deal with NATURA 2000 habitat mapping and identification of NATURA 2000 related taxa, including study of sub-species level and genetically characteristics of specific populations. The expertise covered by the IBISS involves different taxa groups. Consequently, the IBISS is fully qualified to deal with all aspects of nature conservation issues.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is a governmental research and development center of the Finnish environmental administration with a highly qualified staff of around 700 employees. It is both a research institute and a center for environmental expertise. SYKE’s researchers analyse and predict changes in the environment, and they explore various avenues to find solutions the society can apply to environmental problems. SYKE’s specialists offer professional support in decision-making and implementation to administrative bodies, alongside a wide range of services to businesses, other organizations, and citizens. SYKE provides specialist input into the preparation of environmental policies at all levels: in negotiations on international conventions, at European Union level, in Finland’s government administration, and in regional and municipal organizations.

  • Implementation of the EU Nature legislation

SYKE is the central working body for the Ministry of the Environment, implementing the Habitats and the Birds directives with a permanent staff of 17 employees contributing to these tasks.

SYKE had a key role in Finland in the adaptation of the EU’s environmental acquis communautaire when joining the EU in 1995, and many of its experts contributed to the accession process. SYKE coordinated preparatory actions for establishing the Natura 2000 network in Finland: preparation of reference lists for habitat types and species (including bird species – bird reference list – in the Annex I of the Birds Directive and regularly occurring migratory bird species), definition of national criteria for the selection of Natura 2000 sites (pSCI and SPA; preparation of SPA sites contained also selection of Important Bird Areas, IBA), guidance of gathering field data and evaluation of the representativeness and sufficiency of proposed sites.

  • Monitoring Habitats and Species of Community interest

SYKE coordinates reporting under the Article 17 of the Habitats Directive and Article 12 of the Birds Directive and the evaluation of the performance of the Natura 2000 network; in the reporting round 2007-2012 national coordination and guidance of seven partner institutions.

SYKE is responsible for coordination of monitoring of the Habitats in the Annex I and species in the Annex II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive, development of monitoring scheme with stakeholder organisations and coordination of data management for the purposes of management of the Natura 2000 network.

SYKE is also responsible for coordination of monitoring of the bird species in the Annex I of the Birds Directive and regularly occurring migratory bird species, development of monitoring schemes with stakeholder organisations; e.g. bird data of SPA sites and coordination of data management among stakeholder organisations for the purpose of the management of SPA network.

All partners share the same organisational vision: the Consortium must work as a single integrated structure where each member has an active technical role and not as a collection of loosely connected partners if it is to deliver high quality services and both short-term and long-term inputs at the expected deadlines. The agreements of the members reflect these principles, thus enabling the Consortium to function under the single purpose of effective and quality service provision.