Two new projects to empower local people to support nature protection at the Balkan Green Belt

The Shar Planina/Korab-Koritnik region in the trilateral border area of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania is one of the pearls of the Balkan Green Belt. During 2019 two new projects were launched in order to identify and develop appropriate and innovative measures for nature protection and regional development facing the main threats to biodiversity, such as unsustainable use of natural resources and constructions.

Transboundary Pearl "Shar Planina/Korab-Koritnik" © NGO Finch

During previous projects much has been achieved: identification of natural and cultural values and main threats to biodiversity in the region, improvement of cooperation between important key stakeholders as well as increasement of awareness of protection needs in the region. In 2019 the focus will be on bringing generated knowledge to relevant local actors so that they are able to implement measures such as organic cultivation of plants which improves habitats, takes the pressure from wild populations and diversifies the income source of local people.

In order to support the designation of a National Park in the Shar Mountain of North Macedonia the Local Action Group (LAG) “Friends of Shara” (FOSH) was established in 2015. In previous years, the LAG FOSH made a valuable contribution to biodiversity conservation by increasing local awareness and knowledge. Furthermore it serves as driving force for the involvement of local people in nature protection activities, like joint events to clean the area from trash. In the next two years the civil society of the transboundary Shar Planina/Korab-Koritnik will be empowered through the (further) establishment and capacity building of LAGs.

The two new projects are being implemented by the CSOs EuroNatur, MES, PPNEA, FINCH as well as the LAG FOSH and financially supported by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).