Funding of biodiversity projects
Protected area funding is mostly provided from the budget, utilization of natural resources, revenues gained from tourism, donations and other sources. Environmental financing sources in the Republic of Serbia involve funds from the national budget which are allocated through ministries, institutions and funds, local self government budgets and funds sourced from many bilateral and multilateral treaties. Average amounts received from the government at the protected areas system level through competent institutions vary by around 25%. In total, protected areas with currently available funds still lack about 50% needed to cover basic functioning costs and about 75% for optimal functioning.
National funding sources
Basic competences in this area lie within the Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning. As the ministry responsible for protected areas at the national level, it finances activities in protected areas, thus contributing to a higher degree of utilization of funds intended for the protection and development of biodiversity in natural areas. Financed activities include the marking and maintenance of paths, rehabilitation of degraded areas, development of information systems, the construction of visitor centres, monitoring, reintroduction programmes and general status improvement in protected areas. The Ministry allocated about €2.5 million for protected areas in 2007, about €1 million in 2008, and a total of €1.3 million allocated in 2009. The Ministry also finances the development of applied projects in the area of biodiversity protection, primarily within protected areas, as well as financing the development of individual action plans for the protection of endangered species, development of Red Books and Red Lists of endangered plant and animal species.
Establishment of the Environmental Protection Fund contributed that the activities in this area began being financed in an organized manner, in addition to receiving regular budget allocations for the operation of competent institutions.
Certain funds are allocated from the budget of the government of AP Vojvodina to the Provincial Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development. The Provincial Secretariat financially supports various project activities in protected areas.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management provides financial support to protected areas for certain activities. The Directorate for forests, which is part of the Ministry, approves and finances projects related to afforestation, improvement of habitat conditions, production of seeds and seedlings, nurseries, construction of forest roads for afforestation and protection against fire, as well as for scientific projects. The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management also finances the work of the Expert Council for Biosafety. This Ministry uses incentives to support the conservation of autochthonic plant sorts and animal breeds.
On the basis of competition procedure, the Ministry of Science finances the development of basic, technological and innovation projects in various scientific areas, thus supporting research related to biodiversity protection and biosafety.
International funding sources
The European Commission introduced a unified financial instrument for pre-accession assistance – IPA – for the budgeting period 2007-2013, which consolidated all previous pre-accession funds. This unique instrument is intended to support EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries. The Republic of Serbia, as a potential candidate for EU membership, currently has access to the first two IPA components: 1) support to transition process and development of institutions and 2) regional and cross-border cooperation.
In addition to IPA funds, the Republic of Serbia obtains certain funding for environmental projects from donations, loans, international assistance funds, UN funds and instruments, programmes and funds of international organizations, such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the German Organization for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and others. The Memorandum of Understanding signed with the EU in June 2007 enabled the Republic of Serbia to legally participate in the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP 7).