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17th February 2017: 14th February 2017: A historic day for transboundary Prespa

22 September 2016: The Juniper Forests captured the interest of the “students” of the two summer schools, implemented this summer in Prespa

13th September 2016: 100 wetlands and 7 countries in 1 afternoon – the 1st Pelican census covering all of SE Europe and Turkey

15 February 2016: Our life in a wetland! Primary school students from across the transboundary Prespa basin show us what the wetland looks like through their eyes

8 October 2015: Walk in the forests of Prespa with your phone aw a guide!

23 July 2015: United by pelicans

9 February 2015: "Karagiozis, the protector of Prespa!"

2 February 2015, World Wetlands Day: I'ts time for ratification of the Agreement on the transboundary Prespa Park

21 January 2015: Second Dalmatian pelican falls victim to illegal hunting in the Evros Delta

15 April 2014: The Society for the Protection of Prespa is the “Best of the Best” once again!

21 March 2014: The re-introduction of animal husbandry as a conservation measure for the Grecian juniper woods of Prespa

31 January 2014: Prespa Park: at the crossroads of sustainability

3 July 2013: The very first nationwide Pelican Census in Greece!

3 April 2013: Striving to enhance the natural values of the Prespa region, for biodiversity and people, through joint actions across borders

1 February 2013: Prespa Park 2000-2013: time to take new initiatives

10 December 2012: Manual for the protection of fish and fisheries in Prespa

9 October 2012: The thrilling journey of migration!

9 August 2012: Only Greece is now delaying implementation of the International Prespa Park Agreement

The cooperation of the countries of SE Europe is imperative for the protection of the pelicans

8 May 2012: Transboundary Prespa puts fish and fisheries centre stage

3 February 2012: The Society for the Protection of Prespa is celebrating World Wetlands Day with events in Thessaloniki and across the borders in Prespa

23 January 2012: Environmental organisations denounce out-of-control illegal hunting in the Prespa National Park

6 October 2011: With a seal of approval from the European Union, the International Agreement for the Prespa Park is now in the hands of the three states that share the Prespa basin

15 April 2011: Learn all you need to know about keeping the treasures of the lakes safe from harm

2 February 2011: Ratification of International Agreement for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park still pending one year after

21 May 2010: Prespes: An ecosystem that still resists

2 February 2010: The three countries and the European Commission commit to cooperate for the protection and the sustainable development of the Prespa Basin

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Thursday 14 December 2017, 15:49

1 February 2013: Prespa Park 2000-2013: time to take new initiatives Print E-mail


   

If birds and fish can cross borders, why are decisions in the transboundary Prespa Park still made separately by each of its 3 countries?


The International Agreement for the Prespa Park was signed on 2nd February 2010 by the three countries sharing the Prespa Lakes and the European Commission.  Three years later and it has not yet been ratified by the Greek Government, leaving the Agreement’s transboundary institutions dormant. But it is not just the Agreement that Prespa lacks. Alongside this issue, MES, PPNEA and SPP – environmental NGOs from the 3 countries sharing the Prespa lakes – have established a cross-border NGO network so that civil society is more engaged in transboundary co-operation and can work to fill holes in various aspects of environmental protection that are left open by the inaction of the 3 states.

The second of February is always a big day for Prespa.  Not only is it World Wetland Day, a special day for Ramsar ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ like Prespa, but on 2nd February 2000 the Prime Ministers of the 3 countries sharing the lakes created the Prespa Park – the first transboundary park in the Balkans.  On the same day in 2010, an International Agreement signed by the Ministers of Environment and the EU Commissioner for Environment, formally engaged the 3 states and the EU and laid out how the Park should be protected and managed and how development would be sustainably achieved. The Agreement’s provision of permanent mechanisms for transboundary cooperation was internationally heralded and the 3 countries were applauded for committing to modern management methods. These mechanisms are ambitious regardless of location, but the agreement is especially groundbreaking considering the dynamics in the Balkans.

After a long and bureaucratic progression these last three years, the Agreement was ratified by all signatories with the exception of the Greek Government. Greece is now the last country to complete the process and to meet its 2010 commitment to revolutionise how Prespa is protected. Without full ratification of the Agreement, the transboundary institutions that will monitor and coordinate conservation actions in the Park are unable to start; at the same time, public and private stakeholders continue to protect, monitor and manage their particular share of a cross-border habitat, as well as cooperate with their neighbours, but without a basin-wide planning approach. Waters, forests and animals may live across borders, but Prespa remains in the paradoxical situation where holistic management efforts are frustrated by a line on a map.

So, the environmental NGOs active in the region have decided to take up the initiative once again. MES, PPNEA and SPP have come together in a permanent Network of Environmental NGOs for the Prespa Park, to work in the spirit of the international agreement: facilitating the exchange of information between the countries; lobbying for better management of the environment; assisting the states on technical measures and, at the field level, jointly working on monitoring and researching the rich wealth of species and habitats that are found in the Prespa Park. Working alongside the various national parks and town halls throughout the basin, they will strive to contribute to the protection of Prespa’s environment by advocating for people to follow nature’s example and make decisions that look beyond the lines on a map.

For more information:
Svetlana Pejovic, Communications Officer of MES
(e: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; t: 00389-2242773)
Marianna Vlassi, SPP Communications Officer
(e: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; t: 0030-210-3314893)
Silva Huda, PPNEA Communications Officer
(e: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; t: 00355-2256257)

Editor’s notes

  1. The Prespa basin is situated in the south Balkans and is shared by three countries. The basin is home to two lakes, Lesser and Greater Prespa, which lie at an altitude of around 853m, although many of the surrounding peaks are more than 2000m above sea level.
  2. The Prespa Park was established in 2000 with a joint Declaration by the Prime Ministers of the three countries. The Park aims to protect the ecological values of the area through collaboration between the three states, and also to promote the economic prosperity of the local communities in the three countries. The Transboundary Prespa Park is the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans. The ‘International Agreement for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park’ was signed by the 3 countries and the EU Commissioner for the Environment. It provides for transboundary institutions to manage and regulate the Park, key of which are the Prespa Park Management Committee (which monitors and coordinates activities to be implemented under the Agreement); the Secretariat (a subsidiary technical and administrative body); and a Water Management Working Group (composed of competent bodies from the 3 states to propose recommendations to the PPMC on integrated river basin management in line with the EU’s Water Framework Directive).
  3. The NGO Network consists of: MES (Macedonian Ecological Society) based in Skopje; the SPP (the Society for the Protection of Prespa), based in Agios Germanos, Prespa; and PPNEA (Protection and Preservation of the Natural Environment in Albania) based in Tirana.




 

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