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Development of methodology and tourism management plan in Serbia and Montenegro

Development of Methodology and Tourism Management Plan

The aim of the project is the development of a methodology and draft tourism management plan for Zasavica Special Nature Reserve, to serve as a model for all protected areas.

What is a management plan?

Management of protected area means adequate handling of all resources within the given area. Protected areas need a management plan that describes how tourism and other developments will be managed. The primary goal is to ensure there is a clearly defined direction for the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity in the park. A management plan should provide the managers of the protected area with the tool to make appropriate decisions for the efficient management of the available resources.

Today a lot of experience exists with regard of developing such tourism management plans for protected areas (e.g. IUCN, WWF, Nature Conservancy, Conservation Finance Alliance). The project will make full use of such experience and will test if those guidelines are applicable for Serbia and Montenegro.

The management plan will consist of vision and goals, objectives and activities, for the implementation of the International Guidelines for Biodiversity and Tourism Development of the CBD, as well as incorporate the target of “financing biodiversity” of the Kiev Resolution on Biodiversity, to ensure the reconciliation of tourism investments and biodiversity conservation. The plan is expected to be exported to other countries in the region and be used for the development of sustainable tourism in a network of protected areas once this is established in the region.

Background information

In Serbia, a strategy for sustainable tourism is not developed at the state level, and there are no projects for planning and management of territories for sustainable tourism in view of the requirements of the CBD and PEBLDS. At present the NBSAP for Serbia is under development, nderlining the need for a comprehensive and inter-sectoral approach to this issue. There is also a critical gap in the field of good practices and egulations concerning the management of protected areas. Therefore, assistance within the framework of the Biodiversity Service will be provided in order to develop a strategy, using the Nature Reserve Zasavica as a model that could be used for all protected areas in Serbia and Montenegro.

Description of the area
Zasavica Special Nature Reserve is situated 70 kms west from Belgrade, south from the Sava river, and east from the Drina river. The territory of the protected area is 671 ha, a wetland including a 33.1 km long, curvy watercourse, swampy forests, marshes and meadows, declared a Special Nature Reserve in 1997 thanks to its rich plant and animal wildlife, an especially high number of rare aquatic macrophytes, a high diversity of fish community. Due to the richness of the waterfowl (180 bird species, out of which 120 is breeding here), the area is listed among the internationally important bird areas (IBA) since 2000, and also proposed for the national list of Ramsar sites.

The town of Sremska Mitrovica during the Roman Empire, in the II-IV century A.D. was the political, military and administrative center of Pannonia under the name Sirmium, leaving behind valuable stone monuments, remnants of ancient roads and sewage system, as well as palaces, baths and other buildings.

Phases of the project

1. Establishment of the project team

Contracting experts, identifying and contacting local stakeholders

2. Compilation of baseline information

  1. Compilation of legal frameworks, tourism and biodiversity conservation projects
  2. Compilation of data regarding the protected area, identification and filling in information gaps
  3. Field trip to assess and evaluate the current practices in tourism and nature protection
  4. Translation of materials to English/Serbian as applicable

3. Involvement of local stakeholders

The aim of the 1st workshop is to inform and involve local stakeholders and to determine a common vision for the development of the area. The meeting will also help to establish cooperation among different sectors affected by tourism activities and development.

To ensure their informed participation, lectures will be held on the following topics:

  • The aims and structure of the project
  • Sustainable development, sustainable tourism – definitions, development of the concept
  • UNEP/CBD Guidelines for biological diversity and sustainable tourism
  • Good practices and lessons learned for protected area management

4. Development of methodology

  • Compilation of best practices
  • Consideration of the IUCN, UNEP guidelines for sustainable tourism and protected areas
  • Consideration of UNEP/CBD Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism Development
  • Consideration of specific circumstances for adaptation needs

5. Development of management plan

Based on the developed methodology, the tourism management plan for Zasavica Special Nature reserve will be developed. The draft management plan will take into consideration:

  • the compiled baseline information
  • the assessments made in the previous phases and
  • the formulated expectations and concerns of local stakeholders

The draft management plan will be then presented and open for further public consultation. The findings of the assessments and also the draft management plan will be presented and discussed during the 2nd workshop, seeking input from the local stakeholders, and getting their commitment for the implementation of the measures and actions included in the management plan.

The contribution of the local stakeholders will be integrated into the final version of the management plan, which will include an action plan with the measures necessary to achieve the defined goals with regards to biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism planning, management and monitoring.

6. Providing feedback to the national level

Based on the experiences of the process, recommendations will be formulated to national nature conservation authorities on how to make full use of the methodology for other protected areas. These recommendations and the experiences of the project will be presented to stakeholders on the national level. The necessary steps for applying the methodology to other protected areas nationwide will be also discussed during this “National stakeholder meeting”


  • Publication on the methodology for tourism management plans
  • Publication on the Zasavica tourism management plan
  • Recommendation on implementation in other protected areas
  • Follow-up project proposal
Zasavica Special Nature Reserve E-Team

Supported by UNEP Regional Office for Europe Biodiversity Service