Managing Natural Assets and Protected Areas as Sustainable Regional Development Opportunities (NATREG)

Managing Natural Assets and Protected Areas as Sustainable Regional Development Opportunities (NATREG)

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation

Overall project value

EUR 241,018


April 2009 – July 2011

Beneficiary countries

Austria | Croatia | Italy | Serbia | Slovenia

Number of staff


The NATREG project was launched in response to the fact that the potential of protected areas as important instruments for biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development is still largely unrecognised. Based on their experiences as part of the MATRIOSCA transnational cooperation project implemented in the Adriatic-Alps-Pannonia region, the partners aimed to address this challenge through the development of integrated management plans for protected areas and integrated development strategies for green networks at six pilot sites.

The main objectives were to:

  • establish a transnational and multisectoral cooperation network involving landowners; the managing authorities of protected areas; national, regional and local authorities; civil society; spatial planners; and the tourism, agricultural and forestry sectors;
  • promote the potential of natural assets and protected areas as drivers of, rather than obstacles to, sustainable regional socioeconomic development;
  • raise awareness among local communities of the potential of natural assets and protected areas; and
  • develop the Joint Strategy for the Integrated Management of Protected Areas.

The project connected six protected areas in the Adriatic-Alps-Pannonia region in Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The regions were at different levels of development in terms of management plans, making it important to create common strategic principles and guidelines. REC Slovenia was responsible for the Communication and Dissemination work package and cooperated with partners in activities related to training and knowledge management, and the development of the joint strategy.

Activities carried out under the project included:

  • organising trainings and knowledge transfer events to build capacities for the integration of participatory planning and inclusive governance into the management of protected areas;
  • identifying and disseminating best practices and expertise to meet the specific needs of the Adriatic-Alps-Pannonia region, and of South Eastern Europe as a whole;
  • involving stakeholders from various sectors, such as regional development, spatial planning, nature protection and civil society, in the development of integrated management plans for protected areas;
  • enhancing the connectivity between Natura 2000 sites and the Integrated Development Strategy for Green Networks of Protected Areas in six pilot areas;
  • drafting the Strategy for the Development of Ecological Corridors; and
  • preparing new project concepts for the further implementation of concrete measures in management plans and development opportunities.
  • Cooperation and networking
  • Awareness raising
  • Training and knowledge transfer