For the last four years, PONT and Connecting Natural Values and People (CNVP) have successfully cooperated in the areas of Non-Timber Forest Products and Nature Based Tourism. CNVP, through its branch offices in North Macedonia and Albania, is currently implementing an ongoing 3-year grant, titled “Empowering women for NTFPs development of Prespa”. The grant builds on the achievements of the previous PONT grant “NTFPs for Prespa Economic Development”, which helped the informal group “Rural Women of Prespa” (RWoP) in North Macedonia establish itself as a non-governmental organisation. The activities on the Albanian side are supported by the Swedish Embassy through the “Local Economic Development” project.
Following the expansion of grant activities to the Korab-Sharra-Albanian Alps areas in Albania and North Macedonia, PONT is exploring opportunities to replicate and upscale successful practices and solutions applied in the Prespa-Ohrid region over the last years. Since May 2022, both CNVP and PONT have worked together to join forces in this new geographical area.
CNVP, through its branch offices in North Macedonia and Albania, will now be implementing a new and separate 3-year grant, titled “Sustainable use of natural resources for transboundary socio-economic development of protected areas in North Macedonia and Albania (Korab-Koritnik, Shar and Albanian Alps). The new 3-year grant builds on the experience gained by CNVP in Prespa as well as the extensive work CNVP has carried out in both the Korab-Sharr and the Albanian Alps areas over many years with the support of other donors. By coordinating its activities in the Sharr Mountains National Park, CNVP Kosovo will significantly contribute to transboundary cooperation in the Korab-Sharr area. The focus of this proposal is on sustainable use of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and nature-based tourism and applies a participatory, transboundary and cross-sectoral approach. This will benefit both nature conservation and local community members such as farmers, entrepreneurs, environmental activists, and in particular women and youth.
In the first year, the activities will be launched within the PONT eligible Protected Areas – Mavrovo and Shar Mountain national parks, in North Macedonia, Korab-Koritnik Nature Park and Albanian Alps National Park in Albania. The activities will expand to the ecological corridors connecting them and to the wider landscape, in the second and third year.
The new grant from PONT is delivered by CNVP, North Macedonia and CNVP, Albania, in close cooperation with CNVP, Kosovo with support from Sweden and Euronatur through the SUNRED and NATURA projects. The grant will focus on improving the socio-economic conditions of local communities, while contributing to nature conservation.
A small grants programme for local NGOs, resource use associations, local governments, local businesses, farmers, and community members will be implemented by CNVP to promote and pilot new approaches and practices in nature-based tourism and NTFPs management in transboundary context. This will be accompanied by awareness raising and capacity building activities, facilitating local participation in nature conservation, as well establishing effective governance mechanisms.