PONT had the honour to meet Mr. Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning (MOEPP) of North Macedonia, during his visit to Tirana on 24 February 2022. During this planning meeting, the successful cooperation over the last four years was highlighted.
A recent additional contribution by the German government enables PONT to geographically expand its granting programme to the Korab-Shara transboundary conservation area in Albanian and North Macedonia.
The Minister highlighted the high conservation value of this large transboundary area and its nature-based tourism potential. Mr. Nuredini welcomed PONT’s support to the recently declared Shara Mountain National Park, matching the funding already secured from the Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. Both parties agreed for a first planning grant to the newly established Public Institution of the park, to be developed with the help of a national consultant hired by PONT and launched in June 2022. This will pave the way for a long-term partnership for co-financing operational costs to ensure effective management of the park, in accordance with the management plan which is planned to be formally approved in 2022. The success story of Galicica National Park, managing to decouple its financing from the direct use of natural resources, with the help of PONT’s co-financing, can serve as a model.
Further cooperation is planned with the ongoing and newly planned support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNEP. In 2022 PONT is also planning to launch two calls for proposals for civil society organisations in the Korab-Shara area. The first call for proposals will focus on locally based non-governmental organizations to support the park authorities in their management efforts. The second call will be for national NGOs to support various protected areas in the PONT Focus Region as well as the ecological corridors between the transboundary conservation areas.