ABOUT | PONT

PRESPA OHRID NATURE TRUST

Lake Prespa

The Prespa-Ohrid region is regarded as one of Europe’s most ecologically valuable areas. The Prespa-Ohrid lake basin is a refuge for many rare and endemic species as well as many cultural and historical monuments. Within its boundaries is the transboundary Prespa Park as well as a UNESCO designated transboundary mixed World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve.

ΡΟΝΤ was established in 2015 with funding from the MAVA Foundation and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), working through the KfW Development Bank. Their aim was to support the increasing environmental needs of the Prespa-Ohrid region and respond to the lack of sufficient funding for conservation efforts.

As a conservation trust fund, PONT is able to provide long-term sustainable financing to the region’s parks and local environmental actors. PONT is a small but effective team based locally in Tirana, Albania. They are supported remotely by the Nature Trust Alliance (NTA), who provide them with shared services. NTA is a collaboration between four Conservation Trust Fund aiming to reduce their costs and increase their outputs.

Our Values:

  • ownership;
  • pace according to capacity;
  • culture of being able to learn by doing which allows for learning from mistakes;
  • long-term (local) partnerships;
  • conservation actions on the ground;
  • support for local organisations;
  • long-term with focus on programmes rather than project driven; bringing science and citizens closer together;
  • respecting traditional culture and knowledge;
  • giving the younger generation a role to play.

Mission

Church, Ohrid, FRY Macedonia

PONT’s Mission is “Conserving nature for a sustainable future in the Prespa-Ohrid ecoregion through long-term partnerships and financing

In accordance with its mission and role, PONT seeks to:

  • Manage and raise funds aiming to generate complementary funding; stable long-term financial support to conservation initiatives.
  • Contributing to long-term conservation objectives via co-financing key conservation actions, as a solid partner providing funding continuity for its beneficiaries.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and environmental actors to improve the quality and efficiency of management and to use the provided co-funding to reach the optimal impact on biodiversity conservation.
  • Promote collaboration between stakeholders; encouraging synergies to sustain Europe’s most important biodiversity hotspots and UNESCO designated transboundary World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve as well as the transboundary Prespa Park.
  • Promote transboundary cooperation, healing and reparation, and a collective ecoregional approach.
  • Raise public environmental awareness and community engagement.
  • Engage with governments to leverage funding and political commitments towards conservation.

 

Approach

Lake Prespa

PONT is a transboundary conservation trust fund.

As a trust fund, PONT’s approach to conservation differs from the standard “project based” or “short-term” solutions. PONT’s funding is long-term and focused on the implementation of key conservation actions. It is designed to ensure the sustainable management of the Prespa-Ohrid ecoregion. Our model emphasises long-term commitment, transparency, efficiency, accountability, and collaboration.

We believe in:

  • Localisation for global impact
  • Supporting grassroots
  • Community-led rather than community-based
  • Breaking down traditional methods of funding
  • Being based locally, knowing the area and those working in the area
  • Being outcomes focused rather than outputs focused
  • Creating an enabling environment
  • Providing mentorship
  • Being a flexible and accessible funder

PONT combines investment income from its endowment with other available capital and annual donations to generate grant-making resources for the protected areas and environmental actors, including civil society, municipalities, and science/academic institutions addressing nature protection in the region.

PONT raises and manages funds for the allocation of conservation grants verified by a rigorous monitoring and evaluation programme. PONT also leverages collaboration, political commitment, and funding towards the achievement of its mission.

Over the last 20 years, more than 50 conservation trust funds have been created around the globe with the aim of improving environmental management, primarily on a national level. To date, there are only 8 Transboundary Conservation Trust Funds, including PONT. PONT is the only Conservation Trust Fund working in the Balkans.

Programme

Prespa Island Cows

PONT provides grants to the park authorities and civil society organisations working to conserve the Prespa-Ohrid ecoregion. Initially, PONT focused its funding on the Prespa lakes basin, including the six protected areas surrounding them. This area covers the most significant biodiversity features of the Prespa lakes and their surroundings.

PONT is now expanding its work beyond the wider Prespa region in line with our mission and objectives. We are incorporating the wider Ohrid region into our area of focus, including the entire Ohrid lake basin in both North Macedonia and Albania. PONT is currently developing an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) to minimise any social or environmental impact and support its expansion.

Team

  • Mirjam de Koning

    Mirjam joined PONT as Executive Director in 2016. She is an expert on natural resources management and brings more than 20 years of …

    Executive Director
  • Suela Mehmeti

    Suela joined PONT RPO as Office Manager in May 2017. Prior to joining PONT, Suela was Project Accountant and Administrator for the GOPA …

    Office Manager
  • Oliver Avramoski

    Oliver has joined PONT as Grants Coordinator in May 2018. He has more than 15 years of experience in biodiversity conservation, including conservation …

    Senior Grants Coordinator
  • Daniela Ruçi

    Daniela joined PONT RPO as Grant Coordinator in November 2021. Daniela holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), a Bachelor of Science …

    Grants Coordinator
  • Gwenaelle Joubert

    Gwen has joined PONT as Fundraising Officer in February 2021 to support the development and implementation of a Fundraising Strategy for the organisation. …

    Fundraising Officer

Board

  • Lynda Mansson

    Lynda has been Director General of the MAVA Foundation since 2010. MAVA’s programmes are focused on nature conservation in West Africa, the Mediterranean basin and …

    President
  • Demetres Karavellas

    Demetres is the CEO of WWF Greece, a position he has held since 1998. Over the last few years, he has worked on key …

    Vice President
  • David Morrison

    Having led the successful development of Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) from its inception in 2008 until 2015, David has been involved with the development …

    Board Member
  • Gabriel Schwaderer

    Gabriel Schwaderer graduated University with a Geography degree.  He has more than 25 years of experience in protected area management, international nature conservation, and …

    Board Member
  • Dr. Klaus Mueller

    Dr. Klaus Mueller is Director at KfW Development Bank and currently Head of the Department South East Europe and Turkey. He began his professional …

    Board Member
About - Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust