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 to respond to the lack of sufficient funding for conservation efforts.

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.

Since 2015 PONT has shown to be a very effective funding mechanism for improving conservation management and was awarded extra funding to expand, not only to the Ohrid region but also to the Korab-Shara region, the Albanian Alps region, and further into Greece.

As a conservation trust fund, PONT can 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 provides them with services. NTA is a collaboration between four Conservation Trust Funds aiming to reduce their operational costs and increase their outputs.

Our Values:

  • Ownership by beneficiaries for funding, actions, and results;
  • activities and pace according to skills and capacity;
  • culture of learning by doing, allowing one to learn from mistakes;
  • long-term (local) partnerships;
  • conservation actions on the ground;
  • support for local organisations;
  • long-term with a 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.




PONT’s Mission is “Conserving nature for a sustainable future 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 indispensable 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 and ecosystem services.
  • Promote collaboration between stakeholders; encouraging synergies to sustain Europe’s most important biodiversity hotspots, UNESCO designated transboundary World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves as well as the transboundary parks.
  • Promote transboundary cooperation, healing, and reparation, and a collective ecoregional approach.
  • Raise public environmental and ecosystem services awareness and community engagement.
  • Engage with governments to leverage funding and political commitments towards conservation.
  • Promote conservation efforts in corridors for environmental stability
Church, Ohrid, FRY Macedonia


Lake Prespa
Lake Prespa


PONT is a transboundary conservation trust fund.

As a trust fund, PONT’s funding is long-term and focused on the implementation of key conservation actions in the parks located in the regions, and in the ecological corridors connecting the parks. It is designed to ensure the sustainable management of the Prespa-Ohrid, Korab-Shara, Albanian Alps, and corridor regions. Our model emphasises long-term commitment, transparency, efficiency, accountability, and collaboration.

We believe in:

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

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

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

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. There are few Transboundary Conservation Trust Funds, including PONT. PONT is the only Conservation Trust Fund working in the Balkans.


PONT provides grants to the park authorities and to the civil society organisations working to conserve the transboundary conservation areas. Initially, PONT focused its funding on the Prespa lakes basin, including the six protected areas surrounding them.

PONT has expanded its initial work beyond the wider Prespa region in line with its mission and objectives. We are now also working in the wider Ohrid region, the Korab-Shara region, the Albanian Alps region in both North Macedonia and Albania, and finally in corridors connecting these regions including the border area of North-Western Greece.

PONT developed an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) to minimise any negative social or environmental impact which supports its present and future expansion.

Prespa Island Cows


  • 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
  • Anila Shehu

    Anila Shehu is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in project management and holds a master’s degree in public administration. …

    Programme 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
  • Anni Kallfa

    Anni initially graduated as a biologist from the University of Tirana and then went on to study for an MSc. in Environmental Sciences …

    Grants Coordinator
  • Spiro Mihal

    Spiro joined PONT RPO as a Grant Coordinator in February 2024. Previously, Spiro served as a Project Coordinator for a United Nations Development …

    Grants Coordinator


  • 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 …

  • Karen Möhring

    Biodiversity at heart: Karen Möhring is a Senior Portfolio Manager at the KfW headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, with over 20 years of experience in …

    Board Member
  • 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
  • Alexandre Manghi

    Alexandre has been an independent investor and consultant since 2012, with a focus on structuring and managing real estate portfolios.  He also provides strategic …

    Board Member
About - Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust
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