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Formal interstate cooperation in the Prespa basin has always been considered highly ambitious, due to the difficult geopolitical circumstances in the Western Balkans and the lack of an institutional tradition in the states involved.

Conference
First regular meeting of the Prespa Park Management Committee, 23 June 2022, Pyli, Greece © SPP archive

Nevertheless, on 23rd and 24th June, the inaugural meetings of the Prespa Park Management Committee and the Working Group on Water Management took place on the shores of Lesser Prespa Lake at the Prespa National Park Information Centre, 22 years since the prime ministers of Albania, Greece and North Macedonia proclaimed the establishment of the transboundary Prespa Park and twelve years since the Agreement on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park Area was signed by the environment ministers of the three states and the European Commission.

In these historic meetings representatives of the EC, the environment ministries from the three states, local authorities, environmental NGOs and protected area authorities participated and discussed together in an extremely positive atmosphere, setting joint priorities on which the partners will focus their work in the next period.

This is hopefully only the start of a long-term, and especially productive, process, during which the NGOs will have to keep playing a catalysing role, while the state parties will have to invest the resources required to achieve the effective protection of the natural ecosystem and biodiversity, the effective management of common resources, particularly water, and the sustainable well-being of local communities in Prespa.

The PPMC and WGWM meetings were organised under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) of Greece, with funds provided by the Green Fund. The Municipality of Prespes, Greece co-funded the organisation of the meetings, while the Society for the Protection of Prespa coordinated preparation of the meetings, with the support of the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT).

More information:
Vivi Roumeliotou
Coordinator of policy sector
Society for the Protection of Prespa
E-mail: v.roumeliotou(at)spp.gr
www.spp.gr

 

 

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