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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia (NSDS) has been adopted by the Croatian Parliament at its session on 20 February 2009.

Type of SD strategy

Covers all three dimensions of sustainable development (SD).

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection

Link to the SD strategy

NSDS can be downloaded on the website of the Ministry: Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia

SD objectives listed in the NSDS: Croatian NSDS is focusing on long-term action in the following eight key areas:


  1. encouraging population growth in the Republic of Croatia
  2. environment and natural resources
  3. promoting sustainable production and consumption
  4. ensuring social and territorial cohesion and justice
  5. ensuring energy independence and increasing the efficiency of energy use
  6. strengthening public health
  7. interconnectedness of the Republic of Croatia
  8. protection of the Adriatic Sea, coastal area and islands


These are the eight key challenges of sustainable development that also serve as the basis for strategic directions of the development of the Republic of Croatia. Each one of them is further explained and elaborated in the overall objective or overall objectives for that area, which is/are in turn elaborated in concrete measures that can be seen in NSDS.NSDS also points out that the efficient state, knowledge-based society / education for sustainable development, research and development and mitigation and adaptation to climate change are the preconditions for further development. Of these, the education for sustainable development is especially singled out as the precondition for sustainable development and as such considered to be a cross-sectoral key challenge.

Further information about
the SD strategy process

It is envisaged that the NSDS will be implemented through action plans which will contain the details on the authorities responsible for implementing individual plans and projects envisioned by the NSDS; authorities responsible for achieving specific objectives; funds required to implement plans or projects; sources for financing plans or projects; participants in a plan or project; timeframes for achieving the planned objectives; expected results of plans and projects as well as on those responsible for supervising the implementation of plans and projects.

The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection (MENP) coordinated several action plans which contribute to the implementation of NSDS and global SDGs:


  • First Action Plan for the Education for Sustainable Development (2011) 
  • First National Action Plan for green public procurement (2015), for the period from 2015 to 2017 with a view to 2020 (2015) 
  • New Action Plan for Environmental Protection is in process of drafting and will integrate environmental aspects of global SDGs.  


In addition, there are various action plans that are covering other areas of sustainable development which are under competence of other bodies, such as the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency etc.


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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

The new Environment Action Plan of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2016 – 2024 is under development and is in line with environmental aspect of SDGs.

Project for drafting of Strategy for adaptation to climate change which includes detailed modelling of climate changes in Croatia has started (May 2016).


Leading Ministry and
respective unit

The main national coordinator for Agenda 2030 and SDGs is Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Other ministries involved

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs established intersectoral working group for drafting and monitoring the implementation of Agenda 2030 and SDGs

Main contact point for the
implementation process

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Directorate for multilateral and global affairs

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs
[No information available]
Voluntary National Reviews [No information available]


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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

Mechanisms of vertical integration are described in the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13, 78/15). The Act sets out responsibility for sustainable development on different political levels, including national government, counties, cities, and other relevant stakeholders. This responsibility is regulated through sustainable development and environmental protection documents, of which NSDS is the highest level document that other such documents (Environmental Protection Plan, Environmental Protection Programme and Environmental Status Report) as well as all other development documents in Croatia have to be in accordance with. NSDS and Environmental Protection Plan regulate SD on the national level, Environmental Protection Programme regulates it on sub-national, regional level, while being in conformity with national documents, and Environmental Status Reports can be made at both national and sub-national level, referring to either the Plan or the Programme. The requirement for conformity of lower level sustainable development and environmental protection documents with the Strategy, the legal obligation of counties, the city of Zagreb and major cities to develop and adopt their Programmes and the obligation of submitting the Environmental Status Report every four years ensure that NSDS is implemented and has effects on sub-national level, as well.

EU linkages

The NSDS follows the principles of the Mediterranean Strategy on Sustainable Development (2005) and the renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (2001).


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Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

Mechanisms of horizontal integration are also described in the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13, 78/15). One that we have already mentioned is the requirement that: "Development documents pertaining to individual areas and activities cannot be in contravention to the Strategy".

In the field of legislation and official documents and policies, one of the means for achieving horizontal integration is the Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Council.  Its role is to provide the continuity of professional and scientific basis for regulation of certain issues in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. Its members should be representatives of various institutions and organizations. It has supervisory and advisory function and has the task to deliver opinions on:


  • Proposals of documents in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development which are adopted by the Government or the Croatian Parliament;
  • Proposals for and assessments of coordination in solving issues related to environmental protection and economic development;
  • Proposals for and assessments of coordination in solving issues related to climate and ozone layer protection.


The Council, established by the Government for the purpose of achieving coordinated and harmonized economic development in the context of environmental protection and ensuring conditions for sustainable development, reduced its activity since 2012. The Council was member of the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) network, till 2012.

For the purpose of developing the sectoral strategic documents, usual procedure in Croatia starts with interdepartmental consultations at the very beginning of the preparation phase. This is followed by establishment of the working groups composed of representatives of various stakeholders e.g. government bodies, institutions and agencies, business and civil society – which are working together to draft the document.


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Evaluation and Review

Amendments to the Strategy or a new Strategy may be adopted every ten years, as well as sooner, by way of derogation, upon the proposal of the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection. Additionally, the Environmental Status Report - prescribed by the Environmental Protection Act and carried out every four years - has to include an evaluation of the realization of NSDS goals.


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Indicators and Monitoring

For the purpose of monitoring the realization of the goals set out in the NSDS the Croatian Parliament shall review the Environmental Status Report at the state level for each four year period. The Environmental Status Report contains in particular an overview of fulfilment of the goals of the Strategy and the Environmental Protection Plan. The Environmental Status Report at the state level shall be developed on the basis of the National indicator list and 130 sustainable development indicators (SDIs) which are listed in the NSDS. Those 130 SDIs can be replaced or new ones can be added during the development of action plans at the proposal of associated institutions if the latest scientific knowledge shows that they are better for monitoring the status of sustainable development.


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The development of NSDS was based on a participatory approach so that NGOs, civil society and the business sector were included in its creation. In the consultation process, a draft version of the NSDS was submitted to various stakeholders and posted on the lead ministry's web-site for 30 days and two public debates were held. Comments received in this way were taken into consideration in the final version of the Strategy.

Considering implementation of the NSDS and process of drafting of different action plans same participatory approach has to be respected. As it is propound in one chapter of the Strategy, the action plans should be prepared in workshops by mutual cooperation of all stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and the business sector. The NSDS also specifies for each of the identified challenges "institutions involved".

There are also two independent bodies established by the Government, the Council for Physical Planning of the Republic of Croatia and the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Council, which were important stakeholders for the preparation of action plans, and whose members come from the ranks of governmental and non-governmental bodies, business sector and civil society.

For a detailed documentation of all advisory and participatory councils (for SD and/or the environment) in this country, please go to the EEAC website at and click on one of the listed institutions.


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Sub-national activities

There is a growing awareness of the importance of sustainable development, and a number of towns and counties are taking the initiative on their own, joining the international initiatives and campaigns in that direction. Some other sub-national activities are organized by public administration or are result of civil society. Herewith are some of them.

Two Croatian counties and 20 towns (including the capital of Croatia, Zagreb) participate in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign and are signatories of the Aalborg Charter.

74 Croatian towns and municipalities (including the capital of Croatia, Zagreb) have made a commitment to help mitigate the climate change by reducing their CO2 emissions and improving the town's energy efficiency through creation of their own Sustainable Energy Action Plans and are signatories of the Covenant of Mayors.

3 Croatian towns have joined the Mayors Adapt initiative and committed to take action in adaptation to climate change. Also, one town already joined to the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

Two towns (Zagreb and Koprivnica) are members of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development, and that provide support for local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level.

NGO ODRAZ - Sustainable Community Development is an independent civil society, non-profit organization gathering professionals from various fields, which design and apply sustainable development concepts for benefit of local communities more than 15 years. ODRAZ encourages and implements changes leading towards sustainability, operating at various levels, from local to national and international. It cooperates with civil society organisations, public, professional and business organisations, networks and experts. Since 2003, ODRAZ organises School for Sustainable Local Development. They informed the wider public on new Sustainable Development Goals by publishing a publication

NGO DOOR (Society for Sustainable Development Design) is a civil society organization founded in 2003 with the mission of promotion of sustainable development principles in all segments of society, at the local, regional and national level, primarily in the field of energy.

NGO Green action is a leading non-governmental organization for environmental protection in Croatia, founded in 1990. Green Action is active on local, national and global levels and promotes the protection of nature and the environment, while advocating for sustainable development in Croatian and other communities. It also focuses on activities that foster public participation in decision-making processes with the aim of improving the quality of life in Croatia. This NGO holds network of green NGOs called Green Forum which functions as a platform to exchange different information. 

Croatian Rural Development Network – HMRR is a civil society organization (NGO) committed to enhancing rural development of Croatia. HMRR has been founded in 2006 by seven civil society organizations with common wish to contribute to improving conditions for integrated development and good quality of life in rural areas. Activities of the HMRR are based on good European practice and LEADER approach. At the moment the network includes more than 40 member organizations. As result of this approach there is a growing network of Local Action Groups (LAG).

NGO Sunce from Split was founded in 1998 and today is present at national and international level as one of the leading organizations for the protection of nature and environment in Croatia. It is committed to increasing the standards and improvement of environment and nature protection, encouraging the involvement and participation of the public and advocating for the creation of a responsible society with conscious connection between people and nature.

NGO Green Istria from Pula is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit environmental organization, founded in 1995. Green Istria's mission is the protection of the environment, natural resources and social justice.

Green Osijek, an association for nature and environment protection is independent, non-government, and non-profit organization established in 1995. Its goal is to educate and activate citizens in the field of nature preservation, improvement of quality of living through advocacy, promotion and implementation of the ecologically acceptable technologies and sustainable development.

Croatian Center for Cleaner Production (CRO CCP) is a non-governmental non-profit organization, with the aim to promote concept of cleaner production in Croatia. Center's services are intended for industry, administration bodies, industrial associations, educational institutions, financial organizations and public. CRO CPC is a member of United Nations Industrial Development Organization's (UNIDO) Network of National Cleaner Production Centers.

Beside this, there are also some other non-governmental associations taking different actions with the purpose to communicate environmental protection for sustainable development.


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This Country Profile has been last updated on: Friday, 27 January 2017

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.


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