In 2003, SOS/BirdLife Slovakia together with scientific institutions identified a national IBA network consisting of 40 areas.
6 of these IBAs are now fully designated as SPAs and additional areas were included.
35 IBAs are partially designated as SPAs (19 – 100% of their surface), 2 additional (non-IBA) SPAs were designated. In all, 71% of IBA surface is designated as SPA.
Slovakia has not approved any SPA management plan, although some management plans have been developed by nature protection state authorities together with NGOs.
This is due to reluctance to commit additional national funding for nature conservation. There is also no common programme for the management of the whole SPA network. The situation is similar for the SCI network, although in this case at least management plans are under preparation.
The sectoral planning in Slovakia (incorporation of Natura2000 goals into planning in different sectors, e.g. forestry, Land use planning) does not deliver the nature conservation benefits that it is supposed to.
In some SPAs forestry has intensified since 2004, dozens of km2 have been clear cut and populations of forest owls have decreased by more than 60 %. Management and conservation of forest Natura2000 sites is severely hampered due to lack of funding and promotion.
In almost all SPAs, management has been supported to some extent by agri-environmental measures covered by rural development funding.
In some SPAs agri-environmental schemes covering large areas have positively influenced the numbers of common birds. However, often agri-environmental schemes are not properly focused on some target species or are not effective (e.g. for Great Bustard, European Roller and other species, which almost completely disappeared from Slovakia in the last years).
Occasionally, the management in parts of some SPAs is financed by LIFE and Cross-border projects. The funding for national parks is highly limited and even projects from the national Operational Programme Environment (ERDF and Cohesion Fund) are used mainly to cover overheads and running costs of these authorities instead of nature management.
The national budget for nature conservation is prepared without consideration of Natura 2000 priorities. This budget has been cut back several times over the last years leaving the competent authorities close to collapse.