Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
A.1 Stop the deterioration of the status of all species and habitats, especially those covered by EU legislation and achieve a significant and measureable improvement in their condition. ()
Main aim is to fulfil and implement the EU legislation, especially designation and establishment of the Natura 2000 network. For Aichi Target 11: Slovakia has met the target with respect to terrestrial
ecosystems, as over 25 % of the area of the country has been protected by law. However, the protection of some protected areas, including some national parks, in practice is insufficient and does not comply with the international standards (especially IUCN criteria). More progress needs to be done in the protection of forests and freshwater (inland) waters and relevant habitats and species. Progress will have to be done on practical implementation on the ground, especially with the measures and actions linked to the managment plans for different protected areas.
A.2 Ensure that both general public and professionals are aware of the importance of biodiversity and the steps towards its protection and sustainable use ()
Main aim is to raise awareness about the goals of the global/EU nature, biodiversity and landscape protection, as well as of the interlinkages of the global conventions/EU legislation in nature and biodiversity protection field to other relevant fields (like the goals and links to the EU Common Agricultural Policy, EU Regional Policy or other policies).
One of the most important steps is to mainstream biodiversity into other sectors and understand the value of biodiversity or of the sustainable use of natural resources also for purposes of economic growth, health, human well-being, etc. - it is difficult to explain the importance of biodiversity, but when the natural resources or ecosystems services meaning is used, it is easier to understand the importance of the nature, biodiversity and landscape protection in general.
B.3 By 2020, ensure the preservation of ecosystems and the enhancement of ecosystem services by means of green infrastructure and the restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems ()
Ensure that the ecosystems restoration will be in place on time with the special aim to better implement the green infrastructure and its elements.
For Aichi Target 5: The area of forests has been increased in Slovakia: however, the proportion of forests (trees) showing signs of poor health has increased, too. Likewise, there appears to be a large proportion of sites in inadequate condition for most types of habitats, with no/little progress within the last decade.
For Aichi Target 8: Slovakia will have to improve significantly its obligations for the reduction of air pollution under international conventions. Further improvement is required with regards to the pollution of aquatic ecosystems (especially in relation to nitrates reduction).
For Aichi Target 10. Slovakia has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases below the level of its international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, the stores of organic carbon in forest ecosystems have increased in the past 20 years. But significant changes will have to be done in relation to improvement of forests and availibility to survive in relation to climate change and temperature changes, as not all forests are able to adapt to different climate conditions.
C.4 By 2020, implement the measures of the Common Agricultural Policy that have positive effects on biodiversity at all cultivated areas so as to measurably improve the condition of species and habitat ()
Aim of this national target is to fulfil and properly implement the EU agricultural as well as forestry policy, which is covered mainly by several measures of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - for the moment for the period 2014 - 2020, but also previous measures (as we implement the CAP already from 2004) as well as future CAP are important as a continuation (after 2020, where the interlinkages between the new strategic framework for biodiversity protection will have to be linked also to the new CAP 2021 - 2027). CAP is covering the significant part of Slovakia and its agricultural and forestry land and it cover all the direct payments for farmers as well as other measures for them, but also for foresters - without this financial budget, we would not be able to protect and manage our landscape - esp. management of grasslands is sustainable both for agricultural, but also for nature protection purposes. Although we still have some difficulties on cooperation between agricultural and environmental measures, there are elements, which are improving and we will continue to work on improvements also for the future.
C.5 Implement national programs of forest management so as to achieve a measurable improvement in the condition of species and habitats dependent on suitable forest environment and those, which are significantly affected by forestry practices, and to ensure a measurable improvement in the provision of ecosystem services in accordance with sustainable forestry practices as compared to the EU reference condition (2010) ()
Main aim is to fulfil the EU nature protection legislation in line with the existing national forestry legislation (as forestry is not covered by the common EU policy or legislation - the only requirement is to fulfil the EU reference condition (2010)). As forests and their management belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic, the role of the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic is work in harmony with them. We are trying to find the balance between the sustainable use of forests on one side and their protection (esp. in protected areas) on the other side. Also both acts - one on forests management and the second on nature and landscape protection have to be harmonised.
C.6 Ensure adequate protection of water and water- dependent habitats and species to achieve a good condition of aquatic ecosystems by 2020, and ensure that the development of aquaculture does not have adverse effects on aquatic species and ecosystems ()
Main aim is to help implement the EU legislation on water protection (which is covered mainly by the Water Framework Directive and Floods Directive, partially also by the Nitrate Directive) - these legislations cover also good ecological status of water bodies (to which helps also the implementation of the EU nature protection legislation, both Directives on the habitats and on the birds protection, which cover also the protection of water habitats and species). NBSAP have to be also in harmony with the Slovak Water Plan, which covers all the need and goals in water protection in Slovakia - on all levels, from technical and technological infrastructure through green requirements linked also to the nature protection. Ideal situation, on which are working for the present is to harmonise the management plans of the nature protection with the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) are the main plans, which should cover all the plans important within the river basins (they are overall plans for the area, management plans for nature protection or management plans for forests should be covered and taken on board by them).
In relation to aquaculture, we have to work also together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is covering aquaculture legislation - in last 3 years we tried to prepare a very ecologically friendly act, but it seems, it will not be approved in near future. But there is a cooperation linked to the protection of those species, which are covered by the EU legislation. From April 2019 we have also new act on invasive alien species, which are covering also invasive species linked to the water habitats.
D.7 Ensure the reduction of negative effects of invasive species on biodiversity and ecosystems in Slovakia by 2020 ()
Aim of this target is to properly implement the CBD as well as the EU legislation on invasive alien species, prepare the legislation for the national level purposes, as well as to reinforce with the concrete practical measures on the ground together with all relevant stakeholders. From April 2019 we have a new act on invasive alien species, which is covering all important issues linked to the IAS - from global, to EU as well as to national level.
E.8 Reduce the intensity of negative factors affecting biodiversity; finalize, for this purpose, an effective legal framework and tools ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, and ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources ()
Main aim of this target was to ratify the Nagoya protocol in Slovakia, as well as to help with the genetic resources protection, sustainable use as much as possible at the national level and better cooperation is needed also with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the SR and its relevant organisations (as this topic requires broader multisectoral measures and activities).
For Aichi Target 16: Slovakia wanted to take all relevant steps towards the accession to the Nagoya Protocol and its proper implementation in Slovakia. This was done also through the act on Nagoya protocol, which set up the most important topics and issues linked to this agenda.
F.9 Engage a wide range of stakeholders and establish or re-establish partnerships to support the implementation of the national strategy for biodiversity; promote education, training, research and participation ()
Aim of this target is to increase the co-operation with all relevant stakeholders and mainstream biodiversity with all relevant sectors and stakeholders.
For Aichi Target 17: Slovakia has adopted a National Strategy and an Action Plan for the implementation of the CBD and achieving Aichi Targets, which cover 9 main goals and 167 activities, which should help to implement them. All Aichi targets were summarised within these 9 goals and were better adapted to the national goals and needs (also within the information flow, we never really used term "Aichi targets", but rather national biodiversity goals.
Cross-cutting target and issues: Financing and resource mobilisation ()
All national as well as Aichi Biodiversity Targets cannot be fulfilled without proper budget and targeted financial allocations; that is the reason, why this target is cross-cutting and relevant for all targets.
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
Act No. 543/2002 on Nature and Landscape Protection
Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic as well as the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic are the main organisations dealing with the nature, biodiversity and landscape protection (including caves) in Slovakia, which are responsible for the tasks and activities covered by the relevant legislations - Act No. 543/2002 on Nature and Landscape Protection and by the Act No. 15/2005 on the Protection of Wild
Fauna and Flora by Regulation of Trade in them (basically implementation of the CITES Convention). Both organisations are the main expert institutions, and they co-operate with other expert organisations, focused on environmental and nature and landscape protection (as for example Slovak Environment Agency), with international organisations (partner organisations in the other countries, mostly on implementation of global, EU, cross-border projects) as well as with all regional and local governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.
As the legislation covers all issues linked to the nature, biodiversity and landscape protection, it is rather difficult to describe, where it works well and where are some limitations, but generally mentioned,
the legislation is prepared well - problems are linked more with the proper implementation or with the weak enforcement of the law in some areas of nature, biodiversity and landscape protection.
NBSAP include 9 goals, 167 tasks and actions, which are directly or indirectly linked to the proper implementation of the above mentioned laws and acts and their fulfilment would not be possible without a proper implementation of this main act. If we assess the conclusions and outcomes of all tasks, we always have to mention also the relation to the implementation of the law.
Problems are rather opposite - scientific and technical needs related to the measures are sometimes further and have no limits, while the legislation and relevant acts yes. Implementation of relevant tasks are then rather limited within the scope of the established legislation.
National strategy for biodiversity protection in Slovakia 2011 - 2020 (updated in 2014), action plan for implementation of the strategy (updated in 2014) and list of indicators for status and protection of biodiversity in Slovakia (updated in 2016)
NBSAP and the list of indicators cover all necessary tasks, activities and tools, which are necessary for fulfilment and implementation of the CBD as well as the European Union (EU) 2020Biodiversity Strategy.
Slovak NBSAP (with the list of indicators) include all relevant Aichi Biodiversity Targets as well as national goals and aims, targets, which were established and adapted according to the Slovak conditions and requirements. List of indicators cover 64 indicators linked to biodiversity, which are set up in relation to CBD indicators, as well as EU indicators (SEBI) as well as national indicators - some of them are working well, but most of the indicators will need significant improvements esp. in proper collection of data.
Main outcome of the results for the implementation of aims, targets and goals was the assessment of the NBSAP in 2017 and the outcomes of the list of indicators for the status and protection of biodiversity in 2015 - these assessments were prepared and taken into account by the Slovak Government. Within the assessments, Ministry of Environment and State Nature Conservancy described all 167 activities and it was visible, how far the implementation of all tasks and activities is in place. Last assessment was done now, in December 2018 - within the assessment is visible all work, which was done uptil now and what is still necessary to be done till 2020. Final assessment of the action plan will be done in 2021, while the new strategic framework will have to be implemented in the same. Positive is that the knowledge from the present NBSAP can be used and new framework can take it into account this experiences and results. This is the reason, why we have to implement the present NBSAP, but on the same time look at the discussions of the Post-2020 plans, which should continue, where the implementation works well and change the direction, where significant improvements are necessary.
NBSAP cover 167 tasks, and it is difficult to describe, how all of them are implemented - some are implemented and fulfilled effectively, some are only partially effective and some are still implemented
ineffectively. All depends on the aim of the task, on co-operation with other stakeholders, other ministries, organisations and institutions = basically on how the understanding of the mainstreaming of biodiversity is
understood, taken into account, implemented, etc.
As it was mentioned above, problems are rather opposite - scientific and technical needs related to the measures are sometimes further and have no limits, while the legislation and relevant acts do have some limits. Implementation of relevant tasks are then rather limited to the established legislation as well as to the structure and activities of the NBSAP - often the case is that not all scientific and technical needs are taken into account or the opposite - legislation and tasks are not prepared in line with the scientific and technical needs and projects.
Concept of nature and landscape protection 2006-2015 (update postponed in 2016 and now updated for 2019 - 2030)
Slovak concept of nature and landscape protection was already in place, when the NBSAP were not prepared properly and when not all the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity were taken into account. Concept was focusing on national nature and landscape protection aims and goals, while the NBSAP are focused also on other and broader issues and topics related to biodiversity protection, also beyond the classical nature and landscape protection. For the moment, discussions on future concept demarcation lines are taking place and new concept for 2019 - 2030 should be approved by the Government till summer 2019.
As the concept has rather general scope and framework, it is difficult to assess its effectiveness - but generally it is important to say that the base is coming from the Act 543/2002 on nature and landscape protection,
which was prepared already longer time ago (in 2002) when the situation was different as it is now; at that time the meaning of the concept was more important than at the present, when also other strategies and APs are already in place and which are taking into account also requirements of nature, biodiversity and landscape protection.
NBSAP is in line with the Slovak concept on nature and landscape protection - concept is rather more general and it creates a framework for the whole nature and landscape protection in Slovakia, while NBSAP is more detailed and focus on more detailed necessities and problems as well as links to other sectors, which have to be implemented in Slovakia (NBSAP are taking into account also CBD and EU targets and requirements more in details).
Slovak concept is rather general document, which is not described in such a details and it does not really take into account detailed scientific and technical needs (but it is automatically respected that the concept covers also general scientific and technical needs).
Priority Action Framework (PAF)
Priority Action Framework (PAF) was developed in 2012 and later (in 2013 and 2015) updated for a programming period 2014-2020 as a multi-annual strategic planning tool providing comprehensive overview of measures needed for implementation of European Natura 2000 network and related Green Infrastructure with financial needs for these measures and their relation to relevant EU financial programmes and tools. PAF is allocating EU as well as national financial resources to all necessary measures and actions related to protection of Natura 2000 habitats and species and tries to set up the best available connections and links to other sectors, policies, legislations, etc.
As PAF is mainly linked to the protection of Natura 2000 sites, we have selected those national targets, which are related to EU legislation.
Previous versions of PAF were also used as a basis for preparation of the national NBSAP and are publically available.
PAF is very often taken as a basic document and material for addressing the needs, financial allocations and cooperation for Natura 2000 preparation and implementation and should cover all the aspects, which are necessary for protection of all Natura 2000 sites. For EU countries, where also Slovakia belongs, this is an obligatory document, which have to be submitted to Directorate General for Environment in Brussels - they are using it for their internal purposes, how to set up the EU financial resources for Natura 2000 purposes.
Greener Slovakia - Strategy of the Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic until 2030 (so called Envirostrategy)
New greener strategy for the whole environment was prepared during last two years and it was approved only at the beginning of the year 2019. This Envirostrategy covers all important environmental topics and issues, including nature, biodiversity and landscape protection.
For this partial sector of environment, description of sustainable use and effective protection of natural resources set up its goals.
Among them belong the following:
A. Effective protection of nature and landscape
1. Stopping the loss of biodiversity
2. Reform of the state nature conservation institutions
3. Simplification of the system and the maintenance of non-interference in the area with the highest level of protection
4. Evaluation and sustainable use of ecosystem services
5. Development and implementation of an integraed concept for the protection of nature
B. Sustainable land management
1. Supporting more environmentally friendly practices in agriculture
2. Protection and restoration of landscape elements on agricultural land
3. Addressing the status of white areas
C. Production of forest environmental services
1. Sustainable timber harvesting
2. Maintaining the prohibition of the logging in the area with the highest level of protection and near rivers
3. Effective control of timber harvesting
D. The rational use of the rock environment
The Strategy for the Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic until 2030 was based on international, European and national legislation and applicable strategic documents, as well as from the study of the European Environment Agency that was focused on the analysis of global megatrends, and the follow-up assessment of global megatrends from the point of view of the Slovak Republic. The knowledge from the building of scenarios up to 2020 for biodiversity and climate change was also used.
Current international and national policies and strategy papers are listed in Appendix 1.Envirostrategy 2030 regulates the negative impacts on the environmental compartments, and it should be followed by ministries, private sector and publicsector.EU environment policy is based directly on the articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as well as on its measures and winding-up legislation.
In 2013, the EU adopted the 7th Environmental Action Program (EAP), which governs the EU's environment policy by 2020.
The EAP sets out a long-term vision for the EU's 2050 objectives and includes three priority areas for action:
1.natural capital: to protect, conserve and enhance fertile soil, seas, fresh waters, clean air and biological diversity;
2.resource efficient economy: ensure full implementation of the EU environmental packageand EU energy package; improve the environmental performance of products and reduce the environmental impact of consumption;
3.human health and well-being: to safeguard citizens from environmental impacts and risks to their health and well-being; air and water pollution, excessive noise and toxic chemicals are among the major environmental concerns.
All relevant strategies, policies and legislation (including NBSAP and those related to nature, biodiversity and landscape protection) were automatically covered by this new strategy, new strategy just covered those aspects, which are rather new, should be improved or changed, should be added within the environmental agenda, etc. When we will discuss the CBD Post-2020 agenda, it will be automatically combined with already approved above mentioned greener strategy.
The Ministry of the Environment of the SR is responsible for the preparation and implementation of most of the Envirostrategy 2030 measures. This concerns measures in the field of: water protection and the consequences of floods, nature and landscape protection, biodiversity and protected areas, rational use of the rock environment, climate change and air protection, the circular economy, including waste management, green public procurement or green innovations, environmental assessment and energy impacts, economic instruments for the environment and environmental education. But closer cooperation with other ministries as well as organisations/institutions or other stakeholders will be necessary.
Section III. Assessment of progress towards each national target
A.1 Stop the deterioration of the status of all species and habitats, especially those covered by EU legislation and achieve a significant and measureable improvement in their condition.
In the 5th National Report on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was prepared by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, we used the information published in national Report on the state of the environment in Slovakia (2013 and 2014), as well as the national reporting for the implementation of the 2 EU directives (Council Directive 92/43/EC, referred to as the Habitat Directive and Council Directive 2009/147/EC known as the Birds Directive); both directives established Natura 2000 network in Slovakia and broadly within the EU. Last reporting on the implementation of the EU directives was published in 2013, next one will be done in 2019. From the publishing of the 5th National Report, Slovakia made a significant progress especially in relation to designation of new Natura 2000 sites, preparation of new management plans for protected areas as well as preparation of new management plans and action plans for rescue of endangered animal species.
For the designed sites of Natura 2000, several management plans will have to be prepared, which should be the baseline for all activities and measures in those areas (including financial support for the their sustainable management in the future).
Several new management plans for protected areas (Special Protection Areas of (SPAs) for birds protection) were prepared from 2015:
• Management plans for these SPAs were prepared: Horná Orava, Kráľová, Sĺňava, Dolné Pohronie, Veľkoblahovské rybníky a Špačinskonižnianske polia (for years 2017 – 2046); Dolné Považie, Dubnické štrkovisko, Parížske močiare, Košická kotlina, Ondavská rovina, Poiplie, and Ostrovné lúky (for years 2018 – 2047).
• Management plans for the National Park Poloniny in 2016 (for years 2017 – 2026) and for National Park Slovenský raj in 2015 (for years 2016 – 2025 ).
By the end of 2018 some 86 management plans have been adopted for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for habitats and plant and animal species protection. Another 89 management plans have been elaborated and during 2019 will be submitted for adoption to environment authorities together with designation plans as protected areas. We have mentioned "Progress towards target but at an insufficient rate", because all these management plans are really useful and important, but they are rather still on the paper and their practical implementation is rather question for the future. For their proper implementation involvement of all relevant stakeholders and significant cooperation with them will have to be improved in the future.
For the assessment of the CBD on the national level, we have created a national list of indicators (with 64 indicators), which was updated in 2015. From the assessment it is mentioned, that significant progress has been made also towards improvement of all relevant indicators, but most of the indicators for species and habitats protection are rather used for the reporting of the EU directives. From the updated list of indicators it is visible, that they are not really linked to the implementation of the NBSAP, and more towards harmonisation of all tools will have to be done. Next updating of the national list of biodiversity indicators will be done in 2021.
More important and useful tool is the Comprehensive Information and Monitoring System of the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic (KIMS). This system was established in 2015 within the project financially supported by the EU "Preparation and establishment of the habitats and species monitoring and improvement of the information access for the public", which was realised by the State Nature Conservancy (SNC). Main task was to improve the access to information for general public, nature lovers and watchers, but as well as experts dealing with the occurrence and status of habitats and species of the EU importance. Philosophy is based on the principle "more I am collecting data on protected species and habitats, more I am helping to protect them and the nature". KIMS system is used for the keeping, selection and publishing of public data to the general public and showing the effective work of SNC experts through available and easily accessible data on occurrence and status of protected species and habitats.
A.2 Ensure that both general public and professionals are aware of the importance of biodiversity and the steps towards its protection and sustainable use
Within the assessment of the NBSAP in 2017, several activities and tasks were mentioned for the improvement of the awareness raising both for general public as well as for experts. Several events and work especially in 2016 helped to improve this situation also thanks to the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which was executed in the second half of the year 2016, when was also organized the 13th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as its protocols. Sectoral Strategy of the Ministry of Environment on environmental education and awareness to 2025 was adopted in 2015.
Also thanks to the changes in our society in 2018, general public started to be much more sensitive to environmental issues, as for example forest management. Several public hearings and articles were published also in relation to massive logging of forests, and petition was raised against it, with 50000 people signed under it. This petition and linked articles helped to increase discussion on value of Slovak forests, as well as finding compromises between the level of protection of protected sites (especially national parks) as well as sustainable management of forests. It is possible to mention, that the awareness of the biodiversity importance increased, but there is still not sufficient awareness of what general public can do to protect the nature, biodiversity and landscape better. But also thanks to several other hearings, discussions, exhibitions, etc. public started to be aware of the fact, how biodiversity is important for they daily lives and how biodiversity loss will lead to other economical, as well as social problems in our society. Thanks to the last IPBES Global assessment for biodiversity and ecosystem services, media started to be also very active in biodiversity topic, which helped to look at nature, biodiversity and landscape protection from much broader scale.
Information about this special target is coming from the assessment of NBSAP, which was prepared at the beginning of 2017, when the Ministry of Environment together with the State Nature Conservancy as well as with other expert organisations summarised all the tasks and events related to the improvement of awareness raising both for general public as well as for experts. Summary of all activities helped to see the overall picture, which was done to fulfil and achieve this target.