Complementing the recently approved three-year grants for the Protected Area Authorities in the Wider Prespa Area in North Macedonia and Albania, the PONT Supervisory Board, in its meeting held on 16 December 2020, also approved three-year grants for Environmental Actors.
The three-year grant applications were developed by Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) and the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES) as part of the transboundary NGO network PrespaNet. The proposed activities of the proposals by PPNEA and MES 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 will help address several priorities of PONT’s Strategic Framework for the Wider Prespa Area. The required co-financing (25%) for PPNEA and MES is again secured by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation. PONT is pleased that the recently established local offices of PPNEA and MES have resulted in an improved cooperation between the Protected Area Authorities, local communities and other NGOs.
For the planned transboundary activities by the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) on the Greek side of the Prespa basin a major financial contribution has been secured through the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation with additional co-financing by PONT (via the ongoing 5-year grant from PONT for the SPP). Planned transboundary activities implemented by the SPP include: assessment of impacts of climate change on Great Prespa Lake; waterbird monitoring; environmental education on climate change; support to PPNEA for developing their summer school; support to MES, and PPNEA, for their work on wet meadow management and alder forest restoration; and transboundary collaboration, including the mid-term evaluation of the transboundary Strategic Framework for Prespa.
The third three-year grant application is by the Association of sports “Sport for all – All for sport” Ohrid to continue organising and expanding the Ohrid Ultra-Trail event. The long-term goal of the grant proposal is to place “Ohrid Ultra Trail” (OUT) – a trail running competition in Galicica National Park (NP), on the calendar of 20 most globally renowned Ultra-Trail running events. The proposal focuses on organizing the next three editions of the OUT in the period 2021-2023 in compliance with the highest international standards. The runners will compete along 5 trail routes of different length (20 km, 40 km, 60 km, 80 km and 100 km) selected in cooperation with the Galicica NP managers and that connect the most important natural and cultural locations and landmarks throughout the park. The organizers will ensure that OUT participants are familiar with and strictly adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principle during their race. The proposal hast a strong component on promoting the natural, historical, and cultural values of Galicica NP to a broad international audience using various digital communication channels and through participation at renowned international sport and expo events. The proposal also aims at increasing local awareness among the members of the local communities of the Prespa-Ohrid ecosystem and the values it upholds, and also at opening new opportunities for their involvement in the event as volunteers or service providers (accommodation, tourist guiding service, local gastronomy).