26 June 2019 - The Municipal Assembly of Ulcinj recently passed the Decision on declaring Ulcinj Salina a Nature Park. The Decision states that the Municipality of Ulcinj will establish a company to which the city will entrust the management of this protected area from next year.
The protection of the Ulcinj Salina is a precondition of Montenegro’s membership of the EU. In the last Progress Report, the European Commission called on the municipality to adopt a document on the protection of the area, as foreseen within the Environmental Chapter of the EU Accession negotiations. On December 10, 2018, Montenegro opened Chapter 27, which includes a clear demand: the Ulcinj Saltpans must be declared a protected area, and Montenegro must implement effective measures to improve the conservation status of the saltpans. Otherwise, Montenegro will be denied EU-membership.
At a recent session of the local parliament Ulcinj, with 24 votes in favour, one against and one abstention, a decision was made to proclaim Ulcinj Salina a Nature Park. By this decision, the Municipality of Ulcinj assumes the obligation to protect and preserve the area, and from August next year to manage, one of the most important natural resources, which covers 15 million square meters, which is in poor condition.
Commenting on the decision for RTCG, the President of the Municipality, Ljoro Nrekić, said that the local government has always worked hard on maximally protecting the interest of the city. He added that this is a great day for Ulcinj, Montenegro and the European Union, because Ulcinj’s Salina has recently been in the focus of interest of all European countries.
Despite financial problems, Nrekić believes that “this will be a success story”, and that the government will help, as he said, the launch from the deadlock. Hatidze Đoni, a spokeswoman for the municipality, said that they have no choice because the law is clear - the one who proclaims something as a nature park takes on the obligation to protect and preserve it, stating that they have devoted themselves to this in spite of serious financial problems. Đoni said that the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro gave consent to the proposal of the decision a few days ago and that after the adoption of today's decision in the Assembly, the Municipality must establish a public company that will deal with the protection of Salina.
During the assembly, a decision was adopted that obliges the President of the Municipality to examine the legal possibility of prohibiting bird hunting in the area of the Salina, although this is not foreseen by the decision to proclaim the Salina of Ulcinj a Nature Park. The Ulcinj Salina is one of the most valuable wetlands in the Balkans and is of outstanding importance for their birdlife. Because maintenance work has only been carried out sporadically, however, dams and dikes in the area are collapsing, and valuable areas of saltwater are being diluted with fresh water, thus reducing the ecological value of this paradise for birds.
Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.