PROGRAMME

PONT’S GRANT PROGRAMME

Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust has two distinct grant programmes. One is for the Protected Areas and is focused on developing and operationalising their management plans. The second is for the Environmental Actors programme which is focused on filling the gaps for conservation and community involvement.

PONT started in the Wider Prespa Area with 5 Protected Areas (managed by 4 protected area management authorities) and 4 pre-selected Environmental Actors.

Support to 7 additional Environmental Actors is now provided following two open Calls for Proposals. In 2021, the Wider Ohrid Area was included in the PONT focus region with additional support going to 3 Protected Areas and 6 Environmental Actors following a third open Call for Proposals.

PONT has currently 24 ongoing grants with 7 grants awarded to protected area management authorities (managing 8 Protected Areas) and 17 Environmental Actors.

WHERE WE WORK

PONT’S PROTECTED AREA GRANT PROGRAMME

PONT enables protected areas in the Wider Prespa-Ohrid region and beyond to develop and implement their management plans and to conserve the environment through sustainable co-financing of operational costs.

PONT supports the development and use of standard operational planning and reporting systems for the implementation of proprietary protected area programmes. Standardised biodiversity monitoring systems are developed in which data collection, data analysis and data sharing are supported for habitat management, with an

efficient division of what can be done by the protected area staff themselves, environmental actors, local people and what to outsource to third parties. Enabling the protected area staff to increasingly use scientific data in managing the area must be included in the third-party contracts. The inclusion of minimum Natura 2000 requirements will gain importance in the coming years.

The protected area management authorities are supported with their operations and organisational development to make the organisations more robust and capable of sourcing third party funding.

Protected Area Partners

 PartnerCountryDescription
1National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) for Prespa National ParkAlbaniaThe overall objective of the ongoing 3-year grant from PONT is to improve management effectiveness, including relevant ongoing projects, of the park administration in collaboration with key stakeholders. Building upon the findings of the mid-term review of the management plan, a three-year operational plan was developed to meet the objectives set out in the management plan. The activities have been organised in six functional areas: (1) Park Administration; (2) Research and Monitoring; (3) Habitat and Species Conservation; (4) Rural Development; (5) Social and Cultural Assets; and (6) Education and Information. PONT is co-financing the hire of additional staff and local temporary workers, among others.
2Public Institution Pelister NP (PIPNP) for Pelister National ParkNorth MacedoniaThe ongoing 3-year grant from PONT supports the initiation of a systematic and gradual transition from profit- to conservation-oriented forestry management. The transition requires an adjustment to the established forest management practices and profound changes in the conservation financing model. It also needs to be accompanied by gradual and systematic capacity development to attain the management objectives set out in the updated management plan. The management plan has a focus on biodiversity conservation and monitoring, environmental education and visitor management. Under the updated management plan, the new zoning has increased the area where no extraction of natural resources is allowed (75% of “nature zone” or “core zone”) at the expense of the Zone of Sustainable development where sustainable extraction of resources is still permitted.
3Resen Municipality for Lake Prespa Monument of Nature & Ezerani Nature ParkNorth MacedoniaThe current 3-year grant from PONT draws upon the existing management plan for Ezerani Nature Park and the draft management plan for Lake Prespa Monument of Nature. The grant provides for the active management of critical habitats in the two protected areas, continuing and upgrading the current monitoring of biodiversity and strengthening the law enforcement operations. Support from other donors is sought to develop the remaining critical functions of the two protected areas, such as environmental education and visitor management.
4Public Institution Galicica National Park (PIGNP) for Galicica National ParkNorth MacedoniaWith the previous 3 grants from PONT, the park successfully decoupled conservation financing from resource extraction for the first time since it was established in 1958. It did this despite the significant decrease of income from visitor and tourist activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on previous achievements, the current 3-year grant aims to maintain the new conservation financing model in the face of the pandemic while upgrading the core functions of Galicica National Park. This is in line with the IUCN Category II Protected Area Management Guidelines as well as the EU Natura 2000 requirements which are integrated and imbedded within the updated management plan.
5National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) for Shebenik-Jabllanicë National ParkAlbaniaFollowing the existing management plan for the park, the focus of the first planning-grant from PONT, is on supporting recurrent operations such as law enforcement, environmental education and awareness raising as well as improving visitor infrastructure. The grant enabled the park authority to develop a detailed Operational Plan (OP) for 2022 and supporting budget using the PONT templates. The 2022 OP is based on a Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) assessment for 2021 and used for a one-year follow up grant from PONT
6National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) for Pogradec Terrestrial/
Aquatic Territory Protected Landscape
AlbaniaThe focus of the first planning-grant from PONT is on supporting recurrent operations such as law enforcement, environmental education and awareness raising as well as improving the quality of visitor services. The grant enabled the RAPA Korçe to develop a detailed Operational Plan (OP) for 2022 and supporting budget using the PONT templates. The 2022 OP is based on a Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) assessment for 2021 and used for a one-year follow up grant from PONT. This follows the existing management plan for the protected area and the World Heritage Supplement to the management plan adopted in 2017.
7Vevcani Municipality for Vevchanski Springs Monument of NatureNorth MacedoniaThe first planning grant from PONT is to help the Municipality develop the Operational Plan for 2022 for the protected area and the related budget using the PONT templates. Members of the Scientific and Stakeholder Council will be consulted for both the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) assessment and the development of the 2022 Operational Plan. The analysis of the eligible sources of co-financing and the updated METT assessment will help develop a realistic operational plan for 2022, addressing the most urgent needs and management priorities. The 2022 Operational Plan will constitute the basis for a follow-up one year full grant proposal to PONT.

PONT’S ENVIRONMENTAL ACTORS GRANT PROGRAMME

Grants to environmental actors are for qualified not-for-profit organisations with a local presence in the Wider Prespa-Ohrid region and beyond and with a strategy in conservation, developing society, improving communities, and promoting citizen participation in conservation.

PONT funding priorities for environmental actors are mainly focused on (transboundary) conservation activities and some important specialised conservation activities. The environmental actors with a focus on conservation in the Wider Prespa-Ohrid region and beyond are supported with their operations and organisational

development to make the organisations more robust and capable of sourcing third-party funding.

In addition, PONT financial support to not-for-profit organisations is directed towards the implementation of activities identified in the management plans for the respective protected areas and where there is a lack of capacity within the protected area management authorities. Applied research, with the involvement of protected area staff, directly focused on species or habitat management is also supported, but fundamental research is not.

Protected Area Partners

 PartnerCountryDescription
1Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP)GreeceThe Society for the Protection of Prespa was created in 1991 and has its office in the territory of the Prespa National Park in Greece. One of the main goals of the SPP is to support the wetland management in Prespa National Park on the Greek side of the Lake Prespa basin. The current activities under the 5-year grant from PONT support the ‘greening’ of the local economy on the Greek side of Prespa with an emphasis on applied research and monitoring and management of important habitat and species.
2Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA)AlbaniaThrough its local office at Goricë e Vogël (opened in 2020), the current PPNEA activities, address five areas: (1) Wetlands, waterbirds & climate change; (2) Environmental education & outreach; (3) Species conservation; (4) Freshwater island conservation; and (5) Local office management & transboundary coordination. This work is supported by an ongoing 3-year grant from PONT.
3Macedonian Ecological Society (MES)North MacedoniaConservation actions on the ground, coordinated by the local office in Resen, are supported by a 3-year grant from PONT. The grant also covers restoration of wet meadows and alder forest habitats, and interventions to advance the conservation status of priority bird and bat species. Several research and monitoring activities are also supported to provide additional scientific evidence before other conservation issues can be addressed, such as the conservation of the brown bear or the impact of fisheries on selected species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
4Public Scientific Institution Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid (HIO)North MacedoniaThe ongoing 3-year grant from PONT supports the implementation of the Strategic Plan focused on capacity development and applied research related to the management plans for the protected areas in Wider Prespa Area. The activities combine theoretical and practical training in the laboratories of HIO and the Lake Prespa Monitoring Station at Stenje, as well as applied research addressing priority management issues.
5Connecting Natural Values and People (CNVP)North Macedonia & AlbaniaThe ongoing 3-year grant from PONT is delivered by the CNVP branch in North Macedonia, in close cooperation with the CNVP branch in Albania. The grant supports sustainable cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants to serve as a model for decoupling local economic development from the harvesting of wild resources in the protected areas. The local NGO the ‘Rural Women of Prespa’ is supported in both organisational and technical capacity development.
6Alpine club PATAGONIA OhridNorth MacedoniaThe first grant from PONT currently supports the first phase of establishing an adventure zone in Galicica National Park. The aim is to attract more visitors to the park zones with a lower level of protection and reduce the pressure in the strictly protected zones.
7Association of sports “Sport for all – All for sport” OhridNorth MacedoniaThe current 3-year grant from PONT helps organise the Ohrid Ultra Trail throughout Galicica National Park in compliance with the highest international standards. The grant also aims to raise awareness among the local communities of the Prespa-Ohrid ecosystem, showcasing its value, and create new opportunities for involvement in the event as volunteers or service providers.
8Albanian Centre for Environmental Governance (ACEG)AlbaniaThe current 3-year grant from PONT helps orient tourism development towards nature-based tourism, focusing on inter-municipal cooperation and exchange. It aims to build capacity in the municipalities of Pustec and Devoll and facilitate transboundary cooperation. More specifically, it works to enhance the skills of young entrepreneurs around sustainable tourism through formal training and on-the-job coaching.
9ILIRIA-Protection and Social & Environmental Development Association (ILIRIA) AlbaniaThe first grant (current) from PONT focuses on the conservation of 10 vascular plant species in the Prespa National Park in Albania. Most of the selected species occur on both sides of the border so ILIRIA works in partnership with MASA. They also work closely with the respective protected area, national authorities and local stakeholders. The grant also contributes to the updating of the national and global red lists.
10Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MASA)North MacedoniaThe first grant (current) from PONT focuses on the conservation of six vascular plants species in Galicica National Park. As most of the selected species occur on both sides of the border, MASA works in partnership with ILIRIA. They also work closely with the respective protected area, national authorities and local stakeholders. The grant also contributes to the updating of the national and global red lists.
11Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development (BFSD)North-MacedoniaThe first grant from PONT supports actions towards the conservation of the endemic Prespa trout (Salmo peristericus) which is listed as Endangered (EN) on the global IUCN Red List. The grant enables the BFSD to design and facilitate a participatory process for developing a Conservation Action Plan for the endemic Prespa trout. This is being done in collaboration with the Public Institution Pelister National Park and other stakeholders involved in the management of water resources and freshwater biodiversity on the Macedonian side of Prespa.
12Center for Environmental Research and Information Eko-svest, subsidiary Eko-svest-VevcaniNorth MacedoniaThe first grant will help establish a pool of volunteers. They will be trained to use digital, open-source mapping tools to monitor the natural values in the Vevchanski Springs Monument of Nature, in close cooperation with the Municipality of Vevcani. And to ensure sustained support from volunteers in the long-term, the grantee will raise awareness among local young people of the natural value of their area and the need for active participation in nature protection.
13Red Cross – Local branch OhridNorth MacedoniaThe first grant from PONT will help develop two educational modules for kindergarten and elementary school children. In close collaboration with the Public Institution Galicica National Park, the grant will raise awareness amongst local schoolchildren around the need for protecting caves and bats, alongside building local capacity, ensuring the long-term continuity of environmental education activities.
14Association for active tourism Explorer 2018 OhridNorth MacedoniaThe first grant from PONT aims to promote the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles into the visitor services provided by its members – local businesses and civil organisations organising nature adventure activities - to minimise the impact of recreational activities in Galicica National Park and the Lake Ohrid region. The grant will also help establish the Friends of Galicica National Park as a participatory digital platform of nature-based tourism stakeholders.
15United Agro-Environmental Association (Agri-En)AlbaniaThrough the first grant from PONT, the Agri-En Association seeks to influence the protection of the Bushtrica River directly and indirectly, especially from urban pollution, sewage discharges, construction of water works and to improve the watershed management. Raising awareness, increasing management capacity and increasing cooperation between institutions and other actors will affect the protection of this river.
16AlbNatyra AssociationAlbaniaThe first grant from PONT to the AlbNatyra Association focuses on reducing the threats to the natural values of Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park in Albania by establishing a Monitoring and Reporting Network of volunteers from local community members. AlbNatyra will also assist the network in forming effective partnerships and collaborative working with the Park Authorities, the Police and the Fire Departments of the local governments of Librazhd and Prrenjas.
17Une, Gruaja (Me, the Woman)AlbaniaThe grant will serve to strengthen the capacity of Network of Local Active Groups members to engage with decision-makers and businesses to conserve the natural values of the area and promote sustainable practices and behaviour. Me, the Woman will also initiate the establishment of a transboundary network of civil society organisations in the Prespa-Ohrid region to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing concerning biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.
PROGRAMME - Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust
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