Beginning of a new UNDP project of support to the Sustainability of Protected Areas in BiH

SPA Project

August 24, 2022

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has started with implementation of a new project in Bosnia and Herzegovina Sustainability of Protected Areas - SPA, which is financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The main goal of this five-year project is to offer a sustainable alternative to the existing management model of protected areas in the country, with the aim of reducing the increasing consequences of climate change on biological diversity.

BiH is home to numerous endemic, relict species and habitats, and is among the top five countries in Europe in terms of its biological diversity. However, despite of the many threats that biodiversity faces due to climate change (such as changes and fragmentation of habitats, loss of species, changes in their migrations or the spread of invasive species, reduced water levels and quality, increased risk of fire and vulnerability of forests to pests), measures to adapt and strengthen resilience to these impacts are not adequately regulated by laws on nature protection, nor fully included in the management plans of protected areas.

At the same time, financial resources are more often available for recovery rather than for risk reduction and prevention, and so far there have been no significant efforts to include key biodiversity values and endangered ecosystems in existing disaster risk management and risk mapping activities. Therefore, the project seeks to contribute to reducing the differences between the capacities of protected areas and their increasing sensitivity to new threats, and the need to preserve biological and ecosystem diversity.


The project will also offer tools and instruments to diversify and improve the sustainable nature-based tourism offer of selected protected areas and surrounding communities. It will provide support to ensure financial sustainability and create development opportunities that will valorize unique natural values without endangering them. By doing so, tremendous potential of BiH in terms of biological diversity will be directed towards the development of ecotourism, which would include protected areas, surrounding communities and green business in a new tourist offer based on exceptional natural values.

The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, FBiH Ministry of Environment and Tourism, RS Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology, RS Ministry of Trade and Tourism, FBiH Environmental Protection Fund and RS Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, as well as with managers of protected areas and partner local governments throughout BiH.