Protecting Biodiversity in Serbia

Vlasina Lake

Serbia has a wealth of 464 protected areas and 797 protected plant and animal species, with a total of 45,000 species and subspecies of flora and fauna found in its territory. The protected areas cover 518,204 hectares, or 5.86% of Serbia, while the Spatial Plan of Serbia (2010-2020) envisages a significant increase of protected areas coverage - to 10% of Serbia’s territory.

Protection of rare and endangered species, as well as their habitats, is essential for stopping the decline in Serbia’s biodiversity, as a country has a potential of becoming a global biodiversity centre.


  • Establishment of the Serbian Association of National Parks and Protected Areas (NAPS).
  • 30 protected areas are better able to diversify their funding sources by attending the UNDP organized workshops on EU funding for environmental protection.
  • Produced a thorough assessment of legal and policy frameworks for protected areas financing and functional review of a pilot national park.
  • Organized a nature photography course for the young beneficiaries of the Center for Youth Integration.
  • Opened the Visitor center “Vrelo“.

“The greatest threat to diversity and abundance of plant and animal species comes from human impact on nature“, said Dr Vladimir Stevanović, full time professor of Faculty of Biology in Belgrade, adding that „it is very important to protect the species, and everyone can contribute in preventing the loss of plant and animal species and stopping degradation of their habitats.“

UNDP is supporting Serbia to manage the biodiversity in line with the country’s own priorities and needs. UNDP’s programme is assisting the Government in conserving the biodiversity and meeting the requirements under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

UNDP’s support resulted in development and adoption of the National Biodiversity Strategy (2011 – 2018).

UNDP continues to support the Government on Serbia’s to improve the legislative, policy and financial frameworks. Beside policy and institutional support UNDP works on promotion of protected areas and raising awareness on the real value of biodiversity and ecosystems to society - to secure livelihoods, food, water and health.

Acting on the countries’ requirements under the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) 2011-2020 Strategic Plan to increase the areas designated for the protection, three new protected areas have been proclaimed in December 2011 and another protected area became a wetland of international importance. Today, 5.91% of the Serbian territory is protected area, which is 0.05% increase in comparison to 2011.

The increased revenue in 19 protected areas in 2012 indicates that the tourism potential is starting to be recognized.

"The main goal is to increase efforts to maintain biological diversity in Serbia. We are grateful to UNDP for helping us recognize the need to preserve the environment”, stated Dr. Zorana Mihajlovic, Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia.

Animals, plants and habitats are important part of our lives. Protecting biodiversity is much more than a moral responsibility; it determines human development and thus it is the core work of UNDP in Serbia.

The United Nations celebrate May 22 as the International Biodiversity Day to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.