The Wider Prespa Region covers parts of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Greece. The transboundary area houses five protected areas, three wetland areas, part of a transboundary Biosphere Reserve as well as the transboundary Prespa Park. To ensure sustainable conservation and effective management of the protected areas, cooperation across borders is crucial.
In 2013, to strengthen cooperation between local stakeholders, three environmental NGOs – the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), the Association for the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), and the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) – officially established an environmental network for the region, called PrespaNet.Transboundary cooperation is a priority for PONT. PONT recognizes that the PrespaNet network is essential to enhancing cooperation between the different stakeholders involved in the management of Prespa Lakes Basin. It supports the flow of information about ecological and sustainable development issues affecting the region. Therefore, PONT is committed to supporting and strengthening the capacities of the PrespaNet NGOs and other environmental actors working in the region.
As per the PONT 5-year strategy, initial grants were provided to the PrespaNet partners, who have worked in the area for many years. Grant proposals were in line with capacity development and thematic priority objectives of PONT (including transboundary activities).
In the next phase the first grants to the protected area management bodies of the Wider Prespa Area will be granted. These grants will support the essential operating costs of the protected areas in line with the respective Protected Area Management Plans. For the Protected Areas, capacity development measures that are in line with the objectives of PONT are encouraged as part of the grant proposals.