Over 1100 plant species and subspecies live in the largest national park in Serbia, NP "Djerdap". Preserving such an abundance of flora and fauna, which represents natural wealth, is a great responsibility. The Executive Director Nenad Radakovic talks about the work and activities of the national park, but also about the challenges they are facing.
With the aim of suppressing illegal activities, and in accordance with the law, in the National Park "Djerdap" certain services have been formed: The Service of Guards of the Protected Area - National Park Djerdap - Fish Guard, Hunting Guard and the Forest Guard Service. Their role is to control various activities in the area and take certain measures in order to prevent, eliminate and sanction activities that are not in accordance with the Ordinance on internal order and guard service and other relevant laws and regulations.
Nenad Radakovic points out that the National Park "Djerdap" does not have a large scope of illegal activities and that they mainly refer to the violation of regulations in the field of illegal construction, hunting, fishing, forestry and nature protection in general.
He explains that the challenges that this National Park is facing are related to inadequate legal solutions.
"The Legal solutions that are vague, unclear, inefficient, and insufficiently clear procedurally, as well as unclear legally defined liability of the sanctions implementer. For example, when it comes to illegal construction, that is, the liability of local governments to carry out demolition within a certain period. The problem is that the regulations are most often passed by employees in the ministries, without prior consultations, who do not have the actual image of the functioning of the "system" in the field and in practice," says Radakovic.
The Executive Director of NP "Djerdap" adds that the penal policy is very weak, inadequate and often inefficient.
"Improvement of penal policy can be achieved through the organization of thematic seminars of ministries’ representatives, judicial and inspection authorities in cooperation with forest managers, in order to achieve the goals of nature protection as realistically and efficiently as possible."
He also answers the question whether the adoption and implementation of the Action Plan for combating illegal activities in forestry would lead to the improvement of the current situation.
"Any implementation of measures and intentions to suppress these activities is positive in itself, but it is necessary to constantly monitor and analyze the results achieved and take corrective measures to achieve optimum mechanisms for combating illegal activities."
He also pointed out the role and importance of non-governmental organizations in this area.
"NGOs are the most important factor that can contribute to the minimization of illegal activities in general, precisely through the organization of various conferences."
Forest ecosystems have a number of complex functions and are important for the survival of life on earth.
"In that sense, I assume that it is necessary to put certain pressure on the current civilization, which for the sake of its survival must allocate certain funds in order to improve and preserve the condition of forest ecosystems for future generations," concludes Radakovic.
A series of interviews with the main actors in the forestry sector in Serbia is being conducted within the project "Regional action for combating forest crime and corruption".
The views in this text do not necessarily reflect those of the donor.