The agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Target 22 of the recently adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework recognises the vital role of women in biodiversity protection. Women’s roles as key land and natural resource managers are central to sustainable development. As a trust fund, PONT believes in the power of local action to have a global impact, and it recognises the critical role of women in protected areas.
PONT has worked in Albania, North Macedonia, and Greece for over five years to protect biodiversity. Conservation outcomes are improved by supporting the participation of women in all aspects of conservation initiatives, including planning, implementation, and monitoring.
Several grantees of PONT, including Rural women of Prespa supported by CNVP, Albanian Centre Environmental Governance, Agritra Vision Center working with World Vision Albania, Unë Gruaja, and AlbNatyra, are working in Prespa, Dibër, Pogradec, and Librazhd with a focus on strengthening the role of women in the PONT focus area.
CNVP, through the grant of PONT, is working in the Albanian Alps, Korab Koritnik, and Shar mountain, as well as the ecological corridors between the Protected Areas to improve management of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and support nature-based tourism to enhance nature conservation while providing new development opportunities for the local communities, women in particular.
World Vision, with its local office in Dibër, is supporting the active participation of women in entrepreneurship initiatives for sustainable regional tourism. With PONT’s support, it is working to include women on an equal basis not only in sustainable use of NTFPs, but also in other seasonal sectors such as tourism and cultural services.
The empowerment of women in rural areas has unlocked opportunities for the development and progress of women, but also their contribution to nature conservation. Such is the case with the Rural Women from Prespa—an association of women who contributes to conservation of endemic plants in the wild through their cultivation in the Prespa region.
The Women’s Association in Pogradec, “Unë Gruaja,” is promoting and effectively integrating women in protected areas through networking, empowerment, and the promotion of their equal participation in local environmental decision-making processes. Women are often at the heart of their communities and play a critical role in shaping and implementing conservation policies. They have a unique perspective on environmental issues and can help ensure that conservation efforts are socially and culturally appropriate.
AlbNatyra’s efforts in the Shebenik National Park are exemplary, as they recognise the invaluable role of women in sustainable development and conservation. Migena Kukli and Ina Zharri, the project coordinators of AlbNatyra, understand the unique perspective women bring to conservation efforts. As primary caregivers for their families and communities, women deeply understand the interdependence of human and natural systems. Additionally, their traditional ecological knowledge can provide valuable insights into local environmental issues and help inform conservation strategies.
By supporting women’s participation in all aspects of conservation initiatives and the facilitation of exchange between these initiatives, PONT is contributing to a more sustainable and equitable future.