PONT aims to expand its work beyond the Prespa region to include other areas such as the Ohrid lake basin. With the help of KfW Development Bank, the GOPA Worldwide Consultants in association with Stritih Sustainable Development recently started the work on a Feasibility Study for Expanding the Focus Area of the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT), expected to be completed in October 2020.
The study will look at opportunities to provide PONT support for Protected Areas and Environmental Actors in the Wider Ohrid Region in both Albania and North Macedonia, replicating the ongoing PONT approach in the Wider Prespa Area.
The inception phase (7-24 July) of the study started with a visit to the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and the National Agency of Protected Areas in Tirana, Albania. From 15-17 July the consultants and the PONT Executive Director visited Protected Area managers and Environmental Actors on the Albanian side of the Wider Ohrid Region. Following the previous desk-top analysis and the input from these meetings, on 23 July the PONT Programme Development Committee discussed an initial list of priority Protected Areas and Environmental Actors, based on their importance for biodiversity and readiness to meet PONT’s criteria for receiving grants.
In a next phase of the study the consultants will visit North Macedonia and investigate PONT readiness of Protected Areas and Environmental Actors, to be added on the priority list. The work will proceed with an in-depth analysis of those on the top of the list and develop geographic expansion options taking into account available resources, and in line with PONT’s mission and objectives. The study results will be presented to the PONT Supervisory Board before a decision with regard to the geographic expansion is taken.