As defined by the Constitution, islands as natural resources of interest to the Republic of Croatia enjoy its special protection. A group of small, occasionally inhabited or uninhabited islands and islets (MPNNOo), by no means insignificant in number (688), are also considered to be islands.
National Programme for Protection and Use of Small, Occasionally Inhabited or Uninhabited Islands and Surrounding Waters was adopted in order to protect them from inappropriate and unplanned management (under the Islands Act). One of the protection measures is the right of pre-emption, which was introduced to intervene in case of property transactions on these islands and islets. It stopped the decrease in the share of public vs. private ownership on all MPNNOo, so that in the future public ownership could only increase. Public owners (state, counties, cities, and municipalities) are not allowed to sell the property on MPNNOo, while private owners must offer it to the state first. Property transactions on these valuable areas are monitored under the Islands Act (owners must observe the pre-emption rights, so that selling cannot remain unnoticed). If it is estimated according to National Programme that there is an interest to implement the pre-emption right, the property on that island or islet shall be purchased by the state, county, city or municipality. Implementation of this Programme should therefore prevent that small islands and islets be sold off.