All protected areas in the PONT Focus Region, currently eligible to receive PONT grants, have successfully completed the first phase of the granting process.
After the successful completion of the planning grants in 2022, PONT has recently approved the first one-year grants to three protected areas in the PONT Focus Region: Shar Mountain National Park in North Macedonia, the Albanian Alps National Park and the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park in Albania.
The initial planning grants helped the protected area management authorities develop a detailed operational plan and budget for 2023. These are in line with the priorities identified in their management plans as well as the management effectiveness assessments for 2022. The latter was conducted using the latest edition of the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT, Version 4).
PONT has also approved new grants to support the implementation of the 2023 operational plans for the Pogradec Protected Landscape and the Shebenik National Park in Albania, developed similarly to those mentioned above.
Protected areas are the fundamental building blocks of nature conservation in the PONT Focus Region and are central to PONT’s approach. By co-financing up to 50% of the operational costs, PONT helps the protected areas in the PONT Focus Region establish key management functions and operations, including biodiversity monitoring and conservation, visitor management, environmental education, and sustainable use of natural resources. Nature conservation in the PONT Focus Region is further supported through grants to Environmental Actors implementing activities in the protected areas and also in the ecological corridors connecting them.
With the approval of 5 one-year grants for Shebenik, Shar Mountain, and Albanian Alps National parks, Korab-Koritnik Nature Park, and Pogradec Protected Landscape, PONT has reached an important milestone in pursuing its mission to conserve nature for a sustainable future in the PONT Focus Region through long-term partnerships and financing.