In 2018, PONT has granted the NGO, Macedonian Ecological Society in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MES) (www.mes.org.mk), an initial one-year grant aimed at strengthening MES’s institutional capacities by opening a local office in the municipality of Resen.
The PONT grant provides core funding aimed at supporting MES’s key objectives in line with its mission, as well as operational support for a dedicated staff position at the new MES office. The establishment of the MES local office is considered an important step in strengthening stakeholder involvement in the Prespa region, as it provides the opportunity to work more closely with the local government, Protected Areas and the local population.
Concrete conservation actions financed though the PONT grant will focus on wetlands restoration, habitat mapping and developing measures for their preservation. In addition, a network of community volunteers will be established, which will assist in the protection and monitoring of wild plants. The grant also provides funding for large carnivore conservation activities, including transboundary studies that will provide data on the distribution and the population size of specific large mammals and the damage caused to livestock, and the development of guidelines for preventive measures in the identified conflict hotspots. The latter will be done in close cooperation with the PrespaNet partners in Albania and Greece.
MES is a national conservation organization created in 1972, which promotes good conservation practices across the country in order to assure sustainable use of resources, protection of its environment and the preservation of its rich biodiversity.
MES has been working in the Prespa area for many years and has a strong collaboration with the local government, Protected Area staff members and local stakeholders. With funds from a small planning grant provided by PONT in Q4 2017, bilateral meetings with the Municipality of Resen and the National Parks Pelister and Galicica were conducted in order to discuss future plans and to ensure activities are aligned.
A stakeholder meeting to present PONT’s five-year strategy and MES’ future plans in the Prespa region was organized, as well as the Forum for Conservation funding in Prespa. The forum served as a donor coordination meeting where all donors working in the region exchanged information and discussed upcoming plans with a focus on better coordination and allocation of funds in the future.
Stakeholders have asked PONT to repeat the forum on an annual basis with the assistance of PrespaNet for donor coordination on an operational level.