February 2017 – Reawakening from the winter sleep

The month started quite busy, working on different issues and delivering some project results. Two important outcomes, the ‘Outline of the main obligations, activities and stages related to Natura 2000 network establishment according to the Nature Directives’ and  the ‘Dictionary for main terms used in the Nature Directives’ were submitted to the Beneficiary.

As regards legal issues, Montenegro is in the favorable position having a new Nature Protection Act adopted in 2016. Therefore, project activities are only marginal in this respect, such as providing comments on the implementation rulebooks and the Tables of Concordance. Petr Roth, EU Monitoring Expert who was involved in drafting the law, states: ‘Many EU Member States just attempted to “graft” Natura 2000 obligations in a few articles onto their “old”, existing nature protection legislation which did not fit to this purpose; it resulted in many misunderstandings, need for numerous amendments, and often dissatisfaction of national conservation community. Montenegro took the opportunity and created a coherent, modern Nature Protection Act which in a functional way transposes the EU requirements, combining them naturally with national needs and traditions. This is a priceless asset for the country’s approximation process. ’

Field activities of the bird team are not that far away but nevertheless at the outset of implementation. Mati Kose, the Project Expert for SPA preparation, summarizes the status: ‘We have elaborated the bird species reference list for Montenegro listing 152 regularly occurring species plus 15 migratory species and agreed on the national SPA selection criteria; we developed field inventory methodologies for several species and trained our experts – we are ready to start field work!’