A project where surveillance and law enforcement in marine Natura 2000 areas play a key role: Meet EfficientN2K!


Protected areas are the foundation of biodiversity conservation, but they also provide numerous benefits for humans. They are also recognized as crucial in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to establish a strong legislative framework, new protected areas and governance planning, in particular through the establishment of the Natura 2000 network. The key future challenge lies in improving the efficiency of management on the ground, i.e. controlling everyday human activities that affect the values of protected areas. The EfficientN2K project aims to enhance the cooperation of institutions involved in the control and surveillance of protected coastal and marine Natura 2000 areas in Italy and Croatia, to ensure the protection of these key natural resources.

Selected Natura 2000 project areas and pressure analysis

Launched on 1 August 2023, this project’s duration is 17 months and it includes a thorough analysis of the effectiveness of surveillance and law enforcement within a total of eight Natura 2000 areas.

– Marine and coastal protected areas are particularly challenging due to the numerous institutions that have jurisdiction over the sea. Therefore, the project will involve various stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels in the activities of the initial analysis of the institutional and legal framework and the existing capacities for the implementation of protection on the ground, the implementation of joint surveillance actions, the development of recommendations and solutions to improve the efficiency of management, etc. Training programs will be implemented to strengthen the capacity to cope with common pressures at cross-border levels and encourage the development of solutions. – said Matea Špika, project manager at “Sunce”.

Cross-border cooperation between Italy and Croatia

The project aims to improve cooperation between competent organizations in two countries in the field of nature protection, as well as between individuals and civil society organizations. Thanks to the ability to share experiences, data and information, as well as to implement joint measures, cross-border cooperation leads to more effective nature protection.

– Nature conservation has been identified as a common challenge between Croatia and Italy, so it is important to strengthen interstate cooperation to coordinate the efforts of both countries to improve the effectiveness of protection on the ground. For “Sunce” as a civil society organization, this project is an opportunity to start with more open communication and advocacy on the topic of surveillance in protected areas so that in the future we can contribute even more to marine protection – emphasized Špika.

The first steps are made at the partner meeting

The EFFICIENTN2K project is financed under the Interreg Italy-Croatia Cross-border Cooperation Programme (Programme Priority 5 – Integrated Governance for Stronger Cooperation). The project partners are the Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce (Sunce) as the lead partner and the Municipality of Ugento – Regional Natural Park Litorale di Ugento (Italy).

The partner meeting in Split, held on October 3, marked the beginning of this important project.

– The first steps have been made, and the EfficientN2K team is dedicated to working on this topic. – concluded Špika.