With the establishment of the Public Institution “Priroda”, cooperation has deepened between the County – in particular, the County Institute for Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning – and other public institutions for managing protected areas at the national level. The Risnjak National Park, in collaboration with foreign partners, has prepared an international project within the INTERREG IIIB program and has invited the cooperation of the Public Institution “Priroda”. The basic objective of this project entitled PANet 2010 is to put in place a geographic information system for all valuable and protected natural areas in the territory of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.
The Carinthian Office of Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation in the Republic of Austria initiated the preparation and application process of the PANet project within the INTERREG IIIB program, known as the Neighbourhood Program for Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. The Carinthian Office of Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation is the lead partner and coordinator of all activities within the project.
Of the activities to be carried out as part of this project, the following are of particular importance in nature conservation in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County:
- analysing the existing legal regulations on protected areas in the County with regard to current Croatian and EU legislation
- creating a singular and standardised database using GIS technology for all protected areas in the County
- formulating guidelines for the future management of protected areas in the County.
The primary objectives of the project are:
- at the EU level: to prepare foundations for the best possible implementation of NATURA 2000, the European Environmental Network
- at the national level: to formulate guidelines for managing protected areas at the county level in the Republic of Croatia and to inform and raise the awareness of the general public on the need for biodiversity conservation and the continued protection of valuable natural areas in the territory of Croatia
- at the county level: to formulate guidelines for managing the protected areas of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and to establish phases and activities in putting in place a management system for protected natural values at the county level.
It is important to note that GIS technology involves spatial databases of geographically-referenced information and the visualisation of this information through the cartographic presentation of data (descriptions, images, maps, drawings, diagrams) from which every user can easily see and understand which area is involved, where it is located, which are its natural features and what kind of protection it needs.