Following the expansion of the grant activities to the Korab-Sharra-Albanian Alps areas in Albania and North Macedonia, PONT is exploring the opportunities for replicating and upscaling successful practices and solutions applied in the Prespa-Ohrid region over the last 5 years.
The support to Environmental Actors in promoting sustainable uses of natural resources in the PONT Focus Region compatible with Protected Area management objectives is one of the 3 objectives in PONT’s Strategic Framework for the extended Focus Area.
The Connecting Natural Values and People (CNVP), through its branch offices in North Macedonia and Albania, is implementing a 3-year grant, titled “Empowering women for NTFPs development of Prespa”. The proposal builds on the achievements of the previous PONT grant “NTFPs for Prespa Economic Development”, which helped the informal group “Rural Women of Prespa” (RWoP) in North Macedonia establish itself as a non-governmental organisation. The grant is co-financed on the Albanian side through the support of the Swedish Embassy.
Networking and cooperation with the rural women in the Albanian part of Prespa facilitates exchange of know-how. The co-ordination of their efforts in promoting cultivation of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) in Prespa is a model of sustainable rural development in and around the Protected Areas.
One the 12th and 13th of May, a joint mission took place to explore if the successful approach can be upscaled in Dibër and beyond. Under the guidance of the Deputy Minister, Ms. Almira Xhembulla, of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, lessons learned were shared between CNVP, the Swedish Embassy, PONT and relevant stakeholders in the field.
During the visit the Regional Administration of Protected Areas (RAPA) Dibër was visited. The PONT Executive Director congratulated the RAPA staff who formulated a solid planning grant application in cooperation with RAPA Kukës for the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park with the help of a national consultant. Once the proposal is officially submitted by the National Agency of Protected Areas to PONT, the financing of the planning grant can start.
PONT also plans to support local NGOs following of a recent Call for Proposals with a focus on NTFPs and the cultivation of MAPs. A follow-up grant for CNVP is planned for expansion to the new geographical area to support other local stakeholders and municipalities.