The CGIS Bioportal of Montenegro is the most up to date and complete source of information on protected areas in the country. Launched by the Agency for Environmental Protection of Montenegro on the 25th May, it is now a publicly available online platform where users can discover Montenegro’s protected areas, access statistics and download current data relating to area, national and IUCN categories, zoning with preview on a geographical map and much more. Sharing knowledge and facts via this information database will improve data availability, national planning, priority setting and management of protected areas and biodiversity, in turn making the national protected area system more transparent and open to public participation, while also helping the international and donor community to set relevant targets for Montenegro.
Agency for Environmental Protection identified the system for information management as a national priority. The portal was developed through a consultation process and is a living entity, configured to be user friendly, with contents that will be updated and managed. ‘It is a big step forward in making information on protected areas in Montenegro more transparent, available for national and international planning processes and subject to careful examination of the expert community and the general public’ explained Boris Erg, Director of IUCN ECARO.
The Agency will use the portal in accordance with their competencies defined by the provisions of the Nature Protection Act. The responsibilities are related to reporting to the European Environment Agency, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Government of Montenegro and Ministries, expert opinions and to relevant other institutions. Pursuant to the Law on Nature Protection the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism has adopted the Rulebook on detailed content and manner of keeping the register of protected natural resources, which prescribes maintaining the Registry electronically as well as in hard copy. In addition it will inform implementation of targets set out in the National Strategy of Sustainable Development (10% of the territory protected; at least 10% of the coastal zone protected by 2009).
In an international context categorization of data according to the IUCN global standard on protected area will help to integrate national datasets into the World Database on Protected Areas. This includes international designation type (World Heritage, RAMSAR, Important Bird and Biodiversity Area - IBA, Important Plant Area - IPA); major ecosystem type, central coordinates of protected area, governance type, management plan and other relevant data. As such the portal will serve to support national decisions on protected area expansion by assessing progress towards Sustainable Development Goals and global biodiversity targets - notably Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.
The portal was developed by Digital Control DOO within the project “Towards strengthened conservation planning in SEE”, jointly implemented by the Agency for Environmental Protection of Montenegro and IUCN ECARO, funded by the MAVA Foundation, aimed at strengthening implementation of conservation standards in South-Eastern Europe by supporting institutional development and creating a regional platform for nature conservation planning.
Comments and suggestions about the Bioportal can be posted directly to the Agency for Environmental Protection via email.