The most important event of this two-year grant funding provided by PONT and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation was the opening and operationalisation of the PPNEA local office, in Gorice e Vogel/Dolna Gorica, Prespa. The renovation works undergone by PPNEA through the length of the project has now provided good facilities for short stays at the office by the PPNEA staff conducting monitoring work, but also international visitors involved in work promoting Prespa.
20th Anniversary of the Transboundary Prespa Park Declaration
The 6th of February 2020, marked the 20th Anniversary of the Transboundary Prespa Park Declaration. PPNEA organised an inauguration ceremony which was attended by more than 100 participants, partners and stakeholders from across the basin and region, from government representatives to local residents. Several other events took place during 2020 at the PPNEA premises organised by PPNEA and by other projects and stakeholders. The events included environmental education sessions, stakeholder consultation meetings, and local population meetings.
PPNEA Research and Monitoring activities for Transboundary Wildlife Conservation and Wetland Habitats.
As part of the continued and ongoing conservation action, PPNEA conducted important research and monitoring activities both on wildlife conservation and on wetland habitats.
Transboundary Wetland Mapping and knowledge sharing.
A mapping and assessment study of the priority wetland habitats according to the Natura 2000 directive, was conducted during 2019 in the Albanian part of Prespa, by a group of experts from Greece and Albania. The study report was published in February 2020 together with a transboundary map with the distribution of priority habitats in Albania and North Macedonia. Following the mapping and assessment work, the team of experts from Greece worked on a report detailing management recommendation measures for Albania, which have been included in the three-year follow up grant.
The list of recommendations includes:
- Waste collection/ removal
- Planning and setting up special protected areas
- Grazing Management Plan
- Maintenance of macrophytic communities located in the openings of the reedbeds in Lesser Prespa (cutting and repeated cutting of the reed as a way of expansion control. This can be done in selected localities and in the form of stripes along the reedbed with a maximum width of 2 meters).
- Monitoring of Aldrovanda vesiculosa, an Appendix II of the Habitats Directive and characteristic of peculiar plant communities classified under the habitat type 3150*
Transboundary study on Bear Ecology.
Another valuable piece of research and monitoring work carried out in the Prespa basin was the transboundary study on bear ecology using diet and genetic analysis and camera traps. These studies started in 2018 under the previous grant and concluded in December 2020. The partners worked on the annual joint camera trapping reports during 2018 & 2019 and are now working on the final study report, pending the final results to be sent by the university’s laboratory in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Additionally, a questionnaire on large Carnivore-Human conflicts was designed and conducted among the local population stakeholder groups in Albania and North Macedonia, by PPNEA and MES partners. A study report was prepared by the team involved and now exists in its draft final form.
Environmental Education and Young People.
Alongside the research and monitoring work, PPNEA and its PrespaNet partners have developed and delivered two environmental education programmes in primary schools in the Prespa basin. We have organised two transboundary summer schools with university students, and have produced different communication materials, videos, leaflets and newsletters. As expected, the situation caused under the global pandemic COVID 19, has affected especially the plans for conducting the second environmental education programme on the topic of ‘’rivers and streams’’, which experienced serious delay because of school lockdown.
Photo credits: PPNEA