Back in March 2022, PONT launched a call for applications for locally based non-Governmental Organisations involved in conserving the Korab-Shara and Albanian Alps areas. At the same time, PONT also invited the eligible Protected Area authorities to submit a planning grant application. This was in light of the decision by the PONT Supervisory Board to expand the PONT Focus Area last December to include the Korab-Shara and the Albanian Alps areas in Albania and North Macedonia.
Last week, on the 27th May 2022, PONT signed three agreements for the Shar Mountain National Park region. Following a review and evaluation of the applications submitted, the following grantees in North Macedonia were awarded grants:
- Public Institution Shar Mountain National Park, Tetovo: a 7-months planning grant;
- Mountaineering Club Ljuboten, Tetovo: an 18-months full grant
- Center for Education and Development, Tearce: a 15-months full grant
The grant agreements were signed in the presence of the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Naser Nuredini. At the event, the Minister remarked on the fruitful cooperation developed between the Ministry and PONT since 2018. Over the years, a number of Protected Areas have been supported: Galicica and Pelister National Parks, Lake Prespa and Vevchani Springs Monuments of Nature, as well as Ezerani Nature Park.
“Today, this cooperation is expanding to the Shar Mountain National Park, and we expect that conditions for expansion will be created in other protected areas, such as Mavrovo National Park and others ” stated Minister Nuredini in his address.
PONT Executive Director, Mirjam de Koning, thanked the Ministry for the effective cooperation and the Minister for joining the signing ceremony. She noted the timely importance of launching the new grants in support of the recently proclaimed park which is embedded in the wider transboundary region and with other important protected areas in Albania and Kosovo.
“We intend to support the Public Institution Shar Mountain National Park by financing its operational costs over the next ten years. This planning grant brings contributions from the German government, through PONT, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and other donors,” stated Mirjam de Koning.
She went on to express her satisfaction with the additional opportunity to support two local NGOs partnering with the Public Institution Shar Mountain National Park adding – “This will give the region a new start for sustainable development”. The NGOs will be assisting with the development of nature-based tourism and green businesses.