Protection of Biodiversity of the Sava River Basin Floodplains

The Sava has the largest discharge of water to the Danube of any tributary and is the second largest by catchment area. It is shared by Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. The joint management arrangements will be a pilot example for the implementation of the European Union's Water Framework Directive.

Sava River in Croatia

In December 2002, the four Sava countries signed an International Framework Agreement to establish an international regime for the navigation and sustainable water management of the Sava River, and to take measures against floods, ice hazards, droughts and incident pollution. One of the main challenges for the management of the Sava River is to reconcile economic development with sustainable use and protection of the natural resources of the river basin. This project helps Sava Basin countries to identify, designate and manage the ecological and landscape diversity along the Sava River in line with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and to integrate ecological values in the integrated river basin management of the river.


  • Memorandum of Understanding between Sava countries to work for the common long-term objectives of this project
  • Ecological network with core areas, ecological corridors, buffer zones and restoration areas
  • Restoration and management plans to establish the ecological network in compliance with EU Birds and Habitats Directives and EU WFD
  • Recommendations on increasing capacities of alluvial floodplain areas as flood retention areas
  • Strategy for sustainable land use and rural economic development to support biodiversity and landscape protection and to reduce nutrient emissions
  • Action plan to sustain land use practises adjusted to local conditions and protection needs.

Donors: European Commission , Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Partners: Wageningen International, Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia, Institute for Nature Protection of Croatia, Agricultural Institute in Banja Luka, Faculty of Mathematics in Sarajevo.
IUCN is the lead project contract partner of the project.
Time frame: January 2007 – December 2009
Contact person at IUCN: Boris Erg

Work area: 
South-Eastern Europe 
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