As the festive spirit engulfs the streets of Tirana, and as the end-of-year holidays loom, a group of dedicated individuals made up of 6 PONT grantees working in the cross-border region of Korab-Shara/Albanian Alps convened for their third meeting.
Hosted by EcoAlbania, in their new offices, the gathering aimed to sustain the momentum generated by their collaborative efforts and unveil the initial outcomes of their project. The primary focus of this endeavour lies in promoting the principles of good governance within protected areas and outlining a comprehensive plan for two ecological corridors connecting these vital regions within the PONT focus area.
The meeting proved to be an invaluable platform for exchanging experiences and knowledge among the participants. This collaborative sharing fostered a profound sense of unity and a shared mission centred around conservation for the betterment of nature and people. Notably, the discussions encompassed emerging and exciting initiatives, including the exploration and discourse on Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECM). As a novel conservation approach distinct from traditional protected areas, OECM represents a change in thinking, suggesting that conservation can be achieved primarily as a by-product of other management practices. As it is still in its infancy, the concept requires accurate interpretation and time for assimilation. However, it paves the way for a trajectory that aligns with the ambitious target of 30×30 for biodiversity conservation in Albania.
The online guest of this meeting, Robertina, Executive Director of the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), emphasised that the OECMs, as a very innovative approach, diverge from traditional conservation strategies. It introduces a more nuanced and adaptive framework, recognising the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human activities.
As the participants elaborated on their thinking around the details of OECM, their collective dedication to shaping a sustainable future for Albania’s biodiversity was evident.