A project to establish an environmental network of nature protection areas in Croatia, which will be included in the European network Natura 2000 and has to be completed before Croatia's accession to the European Union, was presented in Zagreb on Tuesday.
The 1.6 million-euro EU-funded project is being implemented by the State Institute for Nature Protection, which has compiled a list of possible Croatian areas to be included in the Natura 2000 network. The list includes 1,142 localities covering 44.83 per cent of Croatian territory, said Jasminka Radovic of the State Institute.
EU members must designate areas crucial for the preservation of endangered species and their habitats, because the EU wants to stop the depletion of biodiversity by 2010.
Radovic said that Croatia had a great wealth of biodiversity considering its comparatively small size.
Zoran Sikic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, said that Croatia would designate those areas in a regulation, and that the EU expected Croatia to be at the top of the list of countries in terms of the number of nature protection areas. He added that Croatia would thus become one large national park of the EU. (Hina)