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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

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

 

                               

                                 

One year ago, on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2010, the three countries sharing the valuable ecosystem of the Prespa basin, Albania, Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), together with the European Commissioner for Environment, signed an ‘International Agreement for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park’. Today, the Agreement remains inactive, while the expectations it has created run the risk of remaining unfilled pending ratification from the European Union and the three signatories. Only last November, 9 months after signature, did the European Commission submit the Agreement to the European Council and Parliament for approval. The road is bound to be even longer, since the EU accession process should be followed by national ratification in the 3 countries.  

The signing of the 2010 Agreement signaled the formal engagement of the three littoral states in the Prespa Park cooperation process, as well as the active involvement of the EU therein, 10 years after the initial establishment of the Prespa Park as the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans. This is in fact one of the most significant agreements for the comprehensive protection of a catchment basin and Ramsar wetland in Southeast Europe, aiming at the conservation of the natural environment and sustainable development of the region through a standing mechanism of transboundary cooperation. Its signature had been greeted with great satisfaction and optimism by local stakeholders in the three countries that have been painstakingly working for the achievement of the said objectives for a whole decade. It had also attracted international attention, with acclaim for the Greek Government, which is seldom known to play a major role in initiatives of modern management and protection of nature but is rather found at the dock, mainly in the EU plane, for poor implementation of relevant law and policy.    

In the meantime, while the Prespa Park Agreement is ‘stuck’ at the European bureaucracy with no indication of the time it will be disentangled, protection and management of the Prespa basin continues to rely on initiatives of local and private bodies and its inhabitants. On the Greek side, the Management Body of the Prespa National Park is unable to exercise its functions and effectively shut down last December due to financial constraints. But this body is central for the implementation of the Prespa Park Agreement as it is expected to host the Secretariat of the new system for the first 4 years.

All said, what does the slow -at best- pace of EU ratification offer to the Prespa area and its people? Most probably a grave loss of momentum and an increase of the chance that the ‘willing’ Governments of February 2010 in all three countries will be eventually replaced by others that might not have the Prespa Park collaboration process high on their agenda. In this vein, the expectations of the Prespa conservation community that the EU would become a driving force of the Prespa Park system and would catalyze more effective and result-oriented cooperation are for the time being frustrated by the distortion caused by slow-moving bureaucracy and reduced awareness in Brussels of the potential significance and impact of EU participation in the Prespa Park process.     

Therefore, on the occasion of this year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day, which coincides with the 11th anniversary of the Prespa Park and the first anniversary of the Prespa Park Agreement, the Society for the Protection of Prespa stresses the need for immediate acceleration of the ratification process at EU level and for the activation of the Commission in order to safeguard the progress achieved through this Agreement in entrenching the environmental acquis in a region of high ecological value right at the European Union’s external borders with candidate states.

For more Information please contact the Society for the Protection of Prespa: Vivi Roumeliotou, Policy and Sustainable Development Coordinator, (+30)23850-51211

 

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