PONT enables protected areas in the Wider Prespa-Ohrid region 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 species and 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 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

National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) for Prespa National ParkAlbaniaThe overall objective of the grant is to improve management effectiveness of Prespa National park in cooperation and synergy with key stakeholders, including relevant ongoing projects. Building upon the findings of the mid-term review of the management plan, a three year operational plan was developed to attain the management objectives set out in the management plan, with the activities organized 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. Prespa National Park will continue to work with the staff and local temporary workers they employed with the help of PONT.
Public Institution Pelister NP (PIPNP) for Pelister National ParkNorth MacedoniaThis grant supports the initiation of a systematic and gradual transition from profit- to conservation-oriented forestry management requiring an adjustment of the established forest management practices and profound changes in the conservation financing model. This transition needs to be accompanied by gradual and systematic capacity development to attain the management objectives set out in the new management plan, with a focus on biodiversity conservation and monitoring, environmental education, and visitor management. The new management zoning expands the conservation 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 extraction of resources is permitted.
Resen Municipality for Lake Prespa Monument of Nature & Ezerani Nature ParkNorth MacedoniaThis grant 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 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.
Public Institution Galicica National Park (PIGNP) for Galicica National ParkNorth MacedoniaWith the previous grant from PONT the park succeeded to decouple conservation financing from resources extraction for the first time since its establishment, despite the significant decrease of income from visitor management due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the previous achievements, this grant aims at maintaining the new conservation financing model in the face of the pandemic while upgrading the core functions of Galicica National Park in line with the IUCN Category II protected area management guidelines as well as the EU Natura 2000 requirements that are integrated and imbedded within the new management plan.


Grants to environmental actors are for qualified NGOs, municipalities, and research institutes with a local presence in the Wider Prespa-Ohrid region and with a strategy in conservation, developing society, improving communities, and promoting citizen participation in conservation. PONT funding priorities identified 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 are supported with their operations and organisational development to make the organisations more robust and capable of sourcing third party funding.

In addition, PONT’s financial support to NGOs and research institutes is directed towards complementing and/or implementing the activities identified in the management plans for the respective protected areas and where there is a lack of capacity within the protected area management bodies. Applied research, with the involvement of protected area staff, directly focused on species or habitat management is also supported, but fundamental research is not.

Environmental Actor Partners

Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP)GreeceThe grant supports efforts to improve 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.
Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA)AlbaniaThe proposed activities are grouped into five programmes: (1) Wetlands, waterbirds & climate change; (2) Environmental education & outreach; (3) Species conservation; (4) Freshwater island conservation; and (5) Local office management & transboundary coordination. The diversity of planned activities help address several priorities of PONT’s Strategic Framework.
Macedonian Ecological Society (MES)North MacedoniaConservation actions on the ground include restoration of wet meadows and alder forest habitats, complemented by interventions to advance the conservation status of priority bird and bat species. Several research and monitoring activities 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.
Public Scientific Institution Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid (HIO)North MacedoniaImplementation of the developed strategic plan focusing on capacity development and applied research supporting the management plans for the protected areas. The activities combine theoretical and practical training in the laboratories of HIO and the Stenje Monitoring Station, as well as field sampling and monitoring.
Connecting Natural Values and People (CNVP)North Macedonia &
Sustainable cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants to serve as a model of decoupling local economic development from harvesting of wild resources in the protected areas. The local NGO the ‘Rural Women of Prespa’ is supported in both organisational and technical aspects.
Alpine club PATAGONIA OhridNorth MacedoniaFirst phase in the establishment of an adventure zone in Galicica National Park to attract more visitors in the park zones with lower level of protection and to reduce the pressure in the strictly protected zones.
Association of sports “Sport for all – All for sport” OhridNorth MacedoniaThe grant focuses on organizing the Ohrid Ultra Trail in compliance with the highest international standards. The runners compete along selected trail routes connecting the most important natural and cultural locations and landmarks throughout the Galicica National Park. The grant also aims at increasing local awareness among the local communities of the Prespa-Ohrid ecosystem and the values it upholds, and at opening new opportunities for their involvement in the event as volunteers or service providers (accommodation, tourist guiding service, local gastronomy).
Albanian Centre for Environmental Governance (ACEG)AlbaniaOrient tourism development towards nature-based tourism, focusing on inter-municipal cooperation, exchange and capacity building in the municipalities of Pustec and Devoll and facilitating transboundary cooperation. Enhance the skills of young entrepreneurs on sustainable tourism, not only through formal training but also on-the-job coaching.
ILIRIA-Protection and Social & Environmental Development Association (ILIRIA) AlbaniaThe grant focuses on the conservation of ten vascular plant species in Prespa National Park. Most of the selected species occur on both sides of the border and therefore ILIRIA works together with MASA and in close cooperation with the respective protected area and national authorities and local stakeholders. The grant also contributes to the updating of the national and global red lists.
Research Centre for Environment and Materials of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MASA)North MacedoniaThe grant focuses on the conservation of six vascular plants species in Galicica National Park. Most of the selected species occur on both sides of the border and therefore MASA works together with ILIRIA and in close cooperation with the respective protected area and national authorities and local stakeholders. The grant also contributes to the updating of the national and global red lists.
Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development (BFSD)North-MacedoniaThe grant supports actions concerning 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 design and facilitate a participatory process for developing a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the endemic Prespa trout. This is being done in close cooperation with the Public Institution Pelister National Park and other stakeholders involved in the management of water resources and freshwater biodiversity in Prespa
PROGRAMME - Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust