In January 2020, PONT and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) published a joint Call for Proposals for grants inviting eligible organisations to address the sustainable management of water catchments and conservation of plants in the Wider Prespa Area.
Applications from NGOs and academic institutions from Albania and North Macedonia were evaluated in a two-stage process: the applicants whose concept notes were selected by the joint evaluation panel of PONT and CEPF were then invited to submit full grant applications.
Following the completion of the second stage of the evaluation process, PONT and CEPF awarded two complementary grants concerning the conservation of endemic plants restricted to the Galicica/Mali i Thatë mountain, spanning the borders of Galicica National Park, in North Macedonia, and Prespa National Park in Albania.
The grant to the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Art (MASA) concerns the conservation of six vascular plants species in Galicica National Park. A complementary grant to ILIRIA – Protection and the Social & Environmental Development Association focuses on the conservation of ten vascular plant species in Prespa National Park. Most of the selected species occur on both sides of the border.
Both grants support actions at site level, such as updating and amending the management plans for the parks, establishing a regular monitoring system, and implementing specific in-situ conservation actions. At the national-level, the grants will enable relevant authorities to update their national red lists and conservation policies. Updating the Global IUCN Red List by publishing the assessments for the plants meeting the criteria will contribute to the international-level conservation policies. Both grants are designed to foster a new generation of young professionals in plant conservation through training and networking of universities and academic institutions within the two countries.
The work will be implemented from June 2020 to December 2021, with MASA and ILIRIA working together as project partners in close cooperation with the respective protected area and national authorities, as well as local stakeholders.