Signed on 3 September, the Regional Agency of Protected Areas (RAPA) Korçe applied for a planning grant in close consultation with the National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA). RAPA manages the Prespa National Park in Albania, and this monumental signing marks an important shift in Albania’s involvement in the conservation of the Prespa region.
The planning grant is the first step in PONT`s support to NAPA for the benefit of RAPA and the Prespa region. It aims to develop a detailed and realistic operational plan for 2019 and a full grant proposal to PONT for its implementation. It will take into consideration the contribution from the second phase of the project “Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Ohrid-Prespa (PRESPA-Albania)”, financed by KfW and implemented by a GFA led consortium.
NAPA and RAPA value the unique opportunity to combine the financial support from the KfW PRESPA ALBANIA project, focusing on investments, with that from PONT, focusing on co-financing operational costs.
The full grant proposal will take into consideration the input from some of the key local stakeholders by conducting a participatory Management Effectiveness (METT) assessment. The proposal contributes to capacity development by combining learning-by-doing, with an input from an international consultant.
Some of the ideas for the full grant proposal include hiring some additional Protected Area staff with expertise in biology, finance and administration, and communication and liaison. Increasing the staff numbers and capacities will provide opportunities for local people to be engaged with the management of the Prespa National Park, such as seasonal workers for fire management or biodiversity monitoring. Capacity building scenarios will be included in the full grant proposal, such as enabling rangers to conduct regular monitoring in the Prespa National Park. The collected data will be validated and stored by RAPA and NAPA, so that the data can be used for the management of the park.
During the planning grant, transboundary meetings with the neighbouring Protected Areas in the Wider Prespa Area are planned as well as the celebration of the famous local wine festival.
PONT is delighted with this progress and the synergies that can be achieved through effective transboundary cooperation – a cornerstone of PONT’s mission.