The Prespa-Ohrid ecoregion lies at the heart of the Balkans. Covering parts of Albania, Greece, and North Macedonia, the lakes are among Europe’s oldest and recognized as one of the most ecologically valuable regions in Europe. This widely recognised transboundary area houses multiple protected areas, internationally recognised wetland areas (Ramsar sites), a transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a transboundary mixed Natural and Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The work of PONT initially focused on the Prespa Lakes and their surrounding environment, including the entire Galicica National Park and Pelister National Park in North Macedonia which extend outside the watershed of the Prespa Lakes. PONT is expanding its work beyond the wider Prespa region by adding the wider Ohrid region and other transboundary conservation areas in both North Macedonia and Albania. The wider Prespa-Ohrid region also includes Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park in Albania which sits outside the watershed of Lake Ohrid.
The following existing protected areas are included for financial support by PONT in the “Wider Prespa-Ohrid region and beyond”, the focus area of PONT: Ezerani Nature Park; Galicica National Park; Lake Prespa Monument of Nature; Pelister National Park; Prespa National Park; Pogradec Terrestrial/Aquatic Territory Protected Landscape; Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park; Vevchanski Springs Monument of Nature; Koritnik Nature Park; Lumi i Gashit Strict Nature Reserve; Lugina e Valbonës National Park; Thethi National Park; Mavrovo National; and Shara National Park.
Grants to environmental actors are for qualified NGOs, municipalities, and research institutes 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 identified for environmental actors are mainly focused on (transboundary) conservation activities and some important specialised conservation activities.