Montenegro's Second National Communication


The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

Montenegro has identified several priority sectors at risk from climate change related events, these include: water resources, coastal areas, agriculture, forestry, bio-diversity, and public health. Temperature rises in the Mediterranean are expected to lead to significant disruptions in local ecosystems due to severe weather events and the migration of invasive species into warming waters. These effects will likely lead to reduced productivity and public health concerns.

To view progress on Montenegro's SNC click here.

Project details

Montenegro is a mountainous country in the Southeast Europe which regained its independence in 2006. The total length of its land borders is 614 km. The section of the Adriatic Sea coast in the country is 293 km long. The total surface of the state territory is 13,812 km2, and of the territorial sea approximately 2,540 km2.

Geographic Characteristics

The northern part of the country is dominated by high mountains, descending through a karst segment in the central part with large depressions/plains, to a coastal plain varying  in width from several hundreds of meters to several kilometers. The lowest part of the central inland area are the valleys of the Zeta River and the lower Moraca River, comprising the Zeta-Bjelopavlići plain with the Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkans. The mountain ranges in the north include 37 peaks with heights above 2,000 meters.  The deepest canyon in Europe, the Tara River Gorge with a depth of up to 1,300 m, is also located in the northern mountainous region.


The southern region of Montenegro and the Zeta-Bjelopavlići plain have Mediterranean climate, with long, hot and dry summers and relatively mild, rainy winters. The central and  northern regions of the country have certain characteristics of mountain climate, although the influence of the Mediterranean Sea is also evident. The continental climate in  the far north is characterized by large daily and annual temperature ranges, in addition to low annual precipitation, rather evenly distributed over all months.The average annual air  temperatures vary from approximately 15.80 C in the south to 4.60 C in Žabljak. The duration of the sunny periods varies from 2,400 to 2,600 hours per year on the coast, i.e.  from 1,600 to 1,900 hours in the mountains. Annual precipitation is very uneven, ranging from approximately 800 mm in the far north to about 5,000 mm in the far south. On the  slopes of Mount Orjen, at the village of Crkvice (940 m above the sea level), precipitation may even reach 7,000 mm in record years.

Land Use

Agricultural land covers approximately 5,145 km², which is 37% of the total country area; about 6,225 km² or 45% is covered by forests, while the settlements, roads, rocky areas and other categories encompass the remaining 2,442 km² or 18% of the total territory.

Water Resources

The water resources distribution and abundance vary significantly in Montenegro. Generally speaking, with an average annual runoff of 624 m3/s (i.e. the volume of 19.67 billion m3), the territory of Montenegro falls among the water rich areas.


Forests occupy approximately 620,000 hectares or 45% of the total land area, while non-overgrown forest land takes up another 123,000 hectares (9%). The forest cover ratio is 0.9 ha/person. An overall timber stock is estimated to about 72 million m3, out of which 29.5 million m3 or 41% are conifers, and 42.5 million m3 or 59% are deciduous trees.

Coastal Area

The coastal zone (six coastal municipalities) encompasses approximately 11% of the national territory. This region includes a zone designated as special purpose coastal area (public maritime domain – “morsko dobro”), which is a narrow coastal belt with the surface of approximately 60 km2, including inland waters and the territorial sea covering  altogether approximately 2,540 km2.


Significant sources of air pollution are the main industrial and energy complexes using old technologies, which as a rule apply no adequate mitigation measures. The transport-related air pollution is increasing, especially in city centers. The air quality, evaluated from the aspect of global indicators, is satisfactory. For particular pollutants and at particular  locations, it is necessary to take some pollution prevention measures. In addition to communal wastewater (which is mostly discharged into the natural recipients  without prior treatment), untreated industrial wastewater and inadequately disposed waste also make a significant contribution to the pollution of water bodies. The quality of  surface waters is generally assessed to be good, with occasional non-compliance with the prescribed standards. Montenegro has a very rich flora and fauna, as well as diverse ecosystems. With approximately 3,250 plant species, the country is viewed as one of the floristically most diverse regions of the Balkan Peninsula, whereas the species-to-area  ratio of vascular plants is very high, amounting to 0.837. The total share of protected areas in the national territory is 9.21%, and it mainly refers to the five national parks. The data on the generated, collected, treated and disposed volumes of waste, as well as on specific waste streams, are either incomplete or entirely missing, so the planning of waste  management is still largely based on estimates.

Climate Change Pressures

Water Resources

Analysis show that in the territory covering approximately 90% of the country there is a reduction – deficit of annual precipitation that ranges even up to 20% in certain areas. As water resources have a high degree of correlation with rainfall amount and regime, identified reduction in rainfall will also generate changes in water resources. Changes in water resources are reflected in a pronounced amplitude and oscillations, yield reduction, a sharp increase in flood waters and longer periods with reduced capacity. 

In the climate period 2071-2100, according to the model of correlation between the volumes of rainfall and runoff, the trend of change in flow of the Morača river water resource through Podgorica will be reduced by 31% compared to the climatological normal for the period 1961-1990.

Considering the scenario for the changes in precipitation and temperature until 2100, a strong disturbance in the balance of water resources is expected. given that there is a high degree of correlation between precipitation and the volume of flow and yield, in accordance with future climate scenarios, in which the precipitation is expected to decrease by different percentages ranging up to 50% in certain period (A2 scenario for the period 2071-2100), it can be expected that an overall water balance (water potential) will be reduced in certain areas even by as much as 50%. Climate change, especially in the precipitation regime, will determine the changes in water resources, as follows: in the first place a reduction of overall water balance, and then an increase of amplitudes of hydrological cycles.

Accordingly, even in the years with low overall water balance and expressed fluctuation, there will be periods with severe deficit and those with a high surplus in rainfall. Flood waves will become more common due to the increased intensity of rainfall.  The most significant adaptation measures for water resources would include the establishment of a registry of water resources, individual water resource mapping, including all characteristics, and identifying areas of potential danger; water resources of fundamental importance, such as water sources, would have to be protected against any uncontrolled exploitation; establishment of high-level information exchange amongst institutions dealing with water resources as well as procurement of state of the art automatic masurment and control equipment.

Coastal Area

One of the consequences of global warming concerns increasing of the sea level. There are more reasons that lead to the sea level rising. In the first place, this is due to thermal expansion of water, caused by increasing sea temperatures. According to the estimates of the fourth IPCC report, the sea level is projected to rise by approximately 75% until the end of the century, as a result of thermal expansion, and only by 25% due to the melting of glaciers and the areas under the eternal ice.

The upper limit for the sea level increase in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea, including the Adriatic-Ionian basin, was +35 cm for the period 2071-2100 and the A2 scenario, of which +13 cm as a result of thermal expansion, +18 cm as a result of melting glaciers and permafrost, -2 cm as a result of changes in atmospheric pressure fields over the Mediterranean and +6 cm as a result of changes in circulation in the basin itself.

Rising of the Adriatic Sea level by approximately 35cm will provoke serious consequences. The water will continuously flood a large part of the coast that is now on the verge of flooding, and the tidal flood wave area will significantly increase, even in places that have never been targeted by the flood wave before. The naturally established equilibrium will be disturbed by the sea level rising. A large part of the beach area will be reduced, and some beaches will disappear, while the Bojana river will not be able to retain its natural flow to point where it joins the sea; the Bojana river delta will disappear; the torrential flows will not be discharged normally into the coastal waters, so that those will spread across the surrounding environment well before the imagined natural coast line, and this will lead to the flooding of areas which have not had such flood characteristics before.

The most important adaptation measures would include the development of a very high quality and operational service for monitoring the condition of the shore and the waves and warning about the existence of any danger a few days in advance, as well as the preparation of spatial planning documentation which should also include the effects of climate change on the coast, so as to prohibit the construction and urbanization in any zones that may be potentially exposed to dangerous tidal waves as a result of the new situation.


The analysis of agriculture as a vulnerable sector includes the effect of climate change on land, crop production and animal husbandry. Special attention is focused on the impact of the results of climate scenarios on crop production. The study included the calculation of reference evapotranspiration (eto), as well as of water demand by plants.

Looking at the obtained values of summary reference evapotranspiration in the winter period for 3 different scenarios, it can be seen that the scenario A1B (2001-2030) shows an increased value of eto as compared to the base climate scenario (1961-1990), by 3.6% to 8.7%. Lower values of eto increasing correspond to the coastal sectors with the Mediterranean climate, while the higher ones correspond to the mountain and continental climate. An increase in the reference eto for two scenarios relating to the period 2071-2100 amounts to 10.3-20.2% in the A1B scenario, and from 12-23.5% in the A2 scenario. The same increasing trend appears, as in the previous scenario, in case of the sectors with the Mediterranean, mountain and continental climate. expressed in absolute values (mm of water column), this increase is the greatest in the A2 scenario (2071-2100) amounting to 12 mm.

The most important adaptation measures include irrigation and drainage systems in regulating the water content in the zone of root systems, reduced tillage, deep tillage, surface covering with crop residue, soil spreading, or the density of planting may be modified, all in order to preserve a certain volume of moisture in the root zone system.


The sensitivity of forest ecosystems to climate change impacts is commonly observed in the context of social capabilities and capacity of natural ecosystems to remain resistant or easily adaptable to the changed conditions in nature. The expected climate changes will result in the shifting of certain vegetation zones (forest types), both in terms of latitude and altitude. In some areas an increased drying of trees may be expects, as a result of stress and attacks of pests and plant diseases, as well as reducing weight gain, slower natural regeneration and greater damages caused by forest fires and atmospheric disasters.

On the basis of the results of climate scenario for the territory of Montenegro, expected changes in climate factors would have an adverse impact on the forest ecosystem, demonstrated by reducing moisture in the soil (particularly during the growing season when the plants need it the most), a prolonged duration of the growing season and hampered natural regeneration. Expected climate change will influence the disappearance of sensitive forest types (species with narrow ecological valence), shift climate zones, and thereby shift the borders of certain forest types (vegetation zones) in relation to latitude and altitude.

The most important mitigation measures include implementing forest management systems that support and protect sustainable forest management, natural regeneration of forests, increasing forest area, care and protection of existing forests, conversion of coppice forests into high forests; reconstruction of degraded forests; sanitary felling in forests affected.


It is very difficult to evaluate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity because the changes occur slowly and the effects of these changes are always in interaction with other influences that have already caused certain consequences and reactions. In line with the expected climate change (increased temperature and reduced humidity), a reduction in and loss of species is expected, primarily those related to freshwater ecosystems, as well as species vulnerable to significant fluctuations in temperature and humidity environments (amphibians).

It is estimated that this may reduce and fully endanger the populations of amphibians and reptiles in karst areas of old Montenegro and karst regions of Kuča-Žijovo, as well as in the coastal mountains of rumija, Lovćen and orjen. A temperature increase in the continental part of Montenegro would eventually lead to acceleration of eutrophication of mountain lakes, and then to their withdrawal and complete disappearance.

Data on the phenology of woody species already indirectly indicate the presence of the consequences of climate change on the productivity of some ecosystems in Montenegro. Available data show that the listing of some species (black locust, linden, oak, maple, ash, beech, poplar, alder, pine, and maritime pine) begins a few days earlier than usual. Listing of given species begins around 12 days earlier than on average.

In relation to the marine ecosystem, the foreseen climate change would lead to faster eutrophication of shallow and confined parts of the sea waters, as well as the introduction of new thermophilic (invasive) species from southern marine biogeographic zones. Also, one of the main problems may be migration of marine species through the Suez canal, mainly from the red Sea, the Pacific and Indo-Pacific areas into the Mediterranean.

Significant measures to mitigate the consequences of climate change on biodiversity would cover the establishment of scientific infrastructure for the purpose of investigation of the impact of climate change on biodiversity, terrestrial ecosystems and the sea, training of experts; establishment of an intersectoral group which will deal with issues of water resources management and protection of biodiversity, etc.

Public Health

Climate change and weather conditions are related to human health in a complex manner. The changed climate has direct and indirect and predominantly negative effects on human health, causing changes and events in an organism which can cause injury, illness and disease with a fatal outcome. In addition to direct impacts on health and disease, climate change leads to a rapid growth, development and propagation of disease vectors (mosquitoes, ticks) that transmit malaria, leishmaniasis, sandflies fever, dengue, viral encephalitis and meningoencephalitis.

Climate change directly affects the availability of water, crop yield, production and quality of food, + as a consequence causes a higher frequency of disease due to impaired water supply and unsafe food leading to diarrhea, diarrhea, dysentery, salmonellas, hepatitis and others. The effects of air pollution and soil lead to a number of diseases and premature death.

There are no reliable health statistics in Montenegro on the effects of climate change on population health, illness and dying there, because no attributes necessary for such a complex evaluation are contained in the mandatory health records

Source: Initial National Communication on Climate Change of Montenegro, 2010.

Signature programmes: 
Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Government of Montenegro
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project status: 
Financing amount: 
Co-financing total: 

Key results and outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Vulnerability and Adaptation Measures

In order to improve assessment of vulnerability and adaptation, as well as proposed measures for the next Communication, it would be useful to:

  • Establish an expert/ advisory body for climate change and/or a separate body for vulnerability and adaptation;
  • Establish particularly vulnerable areas by sectors, where more significant effects of climate change can be expected, and pay special attention to such areas in the formulation and implementation of sectoral policies;
  • Strengthen the support to scientific research and improve cooperation/exchange of information among all stakeholders, and
  • Establish databases by sectors and ensure their regular updating.

For the implementation of adaptation measures, the following needs were identified:

  • Prepare the cadastre of water resources, protect the most important water resources, and improve water information system (including modeling, simulation, early warning).
  • Provide for adjustment of spatial planning documentation to the effects of climate change in coastal area; preparation of a coastal zone management strategy, taking into account the impacts of climate change.
  • Determine the sensitivity of particular agricultural regions to climate change, identify the most vulnerable ones; strengthen research and training of agricultural producers;  disseminate information about the appropriate adaptation measures.
  • Adjusted fertilizer application (control of mineral, promoting organic), reduced tillage, raising farmers’ awareness, reforestation, adapted techniques of irrigation, changing cultures and ways of cultivation; analysing suitability of regions for specific breeds and species of livestock, breeding livestock species that are resistant to heat stress and disease.
  • Application of sustainable forest management, natural regeneration of forest resources,enhancement of forest stocks in general and of forests in the karst areas, increase in the area under protective forests; monitoring and risk assessment, are of crucial importance for adaptation.
  • Collection of necessary data for the assessment of impacts of climate change on biodiversity, training of experts, awareness raising.
  • Education, information dissemination to encourage changes in behavior and build awareness on the impacts of climate change on health and thus reduce the effects in the  future; strengthening of information systems and systems for managing health risks from climate change, elaboration of preventive measures.

Potential Adaptation Measures

Coastal Zone Management

  • Developing high quality and very operational services for monitoring the condition of the shore and waves, as the biggest potential danger, and early warning of the existence  of danger, several days in advance;
  • Amendments to the applicable legislation in the field of spatial planning in order to include the problem of climate change in coastal during the preparation of spatial planning documentation, so as to prohibit the construction and urbanization of the areas that will be exposed to potentially dangerous tidal waves as a result of the new situation;
  • The existing infrastructure facilities should be resized to stand the load of new extreme climatic parameters and waves. This means that the existing buildings should be further strengthened and a maximally adapted to new climatic parameters and the new state of the sea level;
  • Provide for maximum possible protection of water sources from the penetration of sea water.
  • If possible, specific reservoirs should be moved to higher elevations, where only a few meters more would be enough to keep the situation completely under control;
  • Some buildings should be demolished and the inhabitants relocated, thus allowing for an unimpeded propagation of strong tidal waves, with no consequences for the environment and the people;
  • Some parts of the coast, will be completely flooded several times a year, and no life or existence will be possible to be established there. According to the present situation regarding the level of population and urbanization, it is expected that between 10% and 20% of the urbanized coast will be relocated, as a measure of adaptation.


Climate Change Impact: Reduction of organic matter in soil due to increased temperature and aridity that affect its faster decomposition.
Adaptation Measures: Application of organic fertilizers; System of recommendations for the application of mineral fertilizers on the basis of analysis of plant body-parts; Growing of leguminous plants and their plowing; Reduced cultivation

Climate Change Impact: Accelerated soil erosion, primarily through increased soil erodibility, a change in land use, increased rainfall intensity and longer dry periods.
Adaptation Measures: afforestation; implementation of new irrigation techniques; increasing awareness of farmers

Public Health

What needs to be done as a priority, through education and continuous information, is to encourage a change in behavior, build awareness of population about the impact of  climate on health, and how to reduce the impact of future climate change. Necessary primary measures of adaptation for the purpose of prevention, preparedness and action to prevent, mitigate and adapt to climate change include:

  • Permanent surveillance and control of health safety of drinking water;
  • Maintaining and improving water and sewer infrastructure, with special emphasis on the coastal part;
  • Air monitoring;
  • Quality control and improvement of the food chain; production and implementation of national action plans for food;
  • Strengthening of surveillance and control of communicable diseases;
  • Strengthening of the already existing public health measures of disease control and health protection, especially for high-risk groups;
  • Development and implementation of legal regulations concerning the environment and health;
  • Strengthening of regional and international cooperation to manage the risks carried by climate change;
  • Reform and strengthening of the public health sector for the coming climate change, its early organization and professional training in extreme situations, and especially well  organized emergency medical services;
  • Preparation of national action plans, strategies for the prevention of effects of climate change on human health, their mitigation, adaptation to new conditions, especially for  extreme heat;
  • Establishing a national system for early warning of impending disasters;
  • Inter-sectoral collaboration, research, pilot projects and studies on the influence of meteorological parameters on health, which will help finding the correlation between climate change and health.

Monitoring and evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.


Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Milica Begovic
Country Officer
Milica Begovic
Country Officer
Snezana Marstijepovic
Program Coordinator