In an effort to continue coordinating transboundary conservation, the authorities of the Protected Areas (PA) in the Transboundary Prespa Park (TPP), met for the third time on the 7th December 2022, at the visitor centre of Pelister National Park in North Macedonia.
The meeting was attended by representatives of:
- Public Institution Pelister National Park, North Macedonia
- Resen Municipality, managing Lake Prespa Monument of Nature and Ezerani Nature Park, North Macedonia
- Public Institution Galicica National Park, North Macedonia
- National Agency of Protected Areas and the Regional Administration of Protected Areas – Korca, responsible for managing Prespa National Park, Albania
- Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency, Management Unit of Prespa National Park and Protected Areas of Western Macedonia, Greece
- Representatives of the Project Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Prespa
- Representatives of the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust
The meeting aimed to take stock of the conservation activities implemented by the PA authorities since their last meeting in December 2021 in Gorica e Vogel, Prespa National Park – Albania. They exchanged lessons learned and identified priorities for joint action in 2023. More specifically the participants presented and discussed the following:
- Activities, initiatives, and projects launched since the last transboundary meeting
- Important achievements in any of the key functional areas of the PAs (conservation, visitor management, awareness and environmental education, and governance and management)
- Activities or areas of cooperation between the PAs around Prespa since the last meeting
- Activities to be coordinated or jointly implemented in 2023
Many of the activities implemented by the PA authorities were undertaken in close cooperation and coordination with the civil society sector, in particular the members of the PrespaNet (Society for the Protection of Prespa, Greece, Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment of Albania, and the Macedonian Ecological Society). PONT played an important role in transboundary conservation in 2022 by providing financial support to both PAs and Environmental Actors, including PrespaNet.
Following the presentations by all PA representatives, the participants identified three broad areas of cooperation and coordination for 2023:
- Biodiversity monitoring and exchange of data,
- Environmental education,
- Capacity building.
The participants highlighted the importance of the work of the Transboundary Prespa Park bodies have started, i.e., the Prespa Park Management Committee (PPMC) and the Working Group on Water Management (WGWM) who met for the first time in July 2022, in Pyli, Greece. The staff of the PAs, assigned to serve as members of the PPCM Secretariat, as well as the PA experts participating in the bodies of the Transboundary Prespa Park will be instrumental in coordinating the input of PA authorities in the work of this important transboundary governance institution.
The participants also discussed arrangements to improve the effectiveness of transboundary communication and coordination, agreeing to formally assign focal points for each PA authority. It was also agreed that the Public Institution Galicica National Park will host the next meeting in Autumn 2023.