Ecosystem protection of the Ohrid - Prespa transboundary region

FIELD

Protecting environment, promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk prevention and management

Project Title

Ecosystem protection of the Ohrid - Prespa transboundary region

Type of Contract/Category

Grant contract 2017/ 390-444

IPA Component/ (national or regional)

Programming year

IPA 2, Cross border cooepration: former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Republic of Albania, allocations 2014-2015

Lead applicant

 and

co-applicants

Albanian Local Capacity Development Foundation (ALCDF)

Hunting Federation of Macedonia (HFM)

Federation of Fisheries Organizations of Inbound Waters in Albania (FFOIWA)

SEG Holding  

Context/background

The Ohrid-Prespa transboundary region is combination of water and mountain reliefs. It covers a total surface area of 446.244,52ha, out of which core area is 14.339,25ha, and the rest is buffer zone and transition area. The unique natural characteristics of the region – over 200 endemic species living in the Ohrid Lake, such as Salmonid ohrid, Salmo letnica and Belvica acantolingua ohridana, the unique and endemic forest community in the Ohrid Lake region, and the original biotypes forests in the Prespa region, which are enriched with rare species with very high symbolic value, such as the Balkan lynx and specific bird species like the Dalmatian pelican, are all part of the rich natural mosaic that is recognised to have the potential to support the socio-economic development of the region, but which in the same time requires sustainable management, that will ensure preservation and protection of the unique nature.

The project will be concentrated on the core area mainly, even though all eligible municipalities from the Ohrid-Prespa transboundary regions will be considered project stakeholders, and as such will be informed and involved with the planned activities. Beside the urban municipalities that fall within the region, there are also a number of rural municipalities. Together with the rural areas within the urban municipalities they comprise a territory with unexploited natural potential, some of which are remote areas, with limited access to infrastructure, making the local population socially and economically vulnerable.

 

Abstract (short project summary)

The project will enable understanding the potential and development prospects of the region, as well as the challenges for its sustainable management, and balancing with the local populations’ economic activities, which in the rural parts are primarily related to traditional small-scale family-based agricultural practices. Considering this, the project intends to implement joint interest action, which plans for set-up of integrated environmental monitoring system, which will cover at least 10% of the transboundary core region or roughly around 1.434ha. Of these, 1.345ha are going to be terrestrial (proportional, 10% of the terrestrial portion of the core area), while as 88ha are going to be aquatic. The installation of the system is to provide information for the project partners to better plan the organisations’ strategic focus and upgrade the services for their members. Additionally, the system’s publicly available data will support the local decision-makers to better plan the local policies and development projects, so to fit them and use the economic and social development opportunities of the area.

Being aware that the power of the local population is rather limited, which is partly due to their limited awareness and development ideas that will utilise the ecosystem services of the region, the project will also be focused on working with the local population. They, as beneficiaries, are important to take part in the development of scenarios for sustainable management of the ecosystem services, and to have their capacities strengthened for enhancement of the overall tourism, forestry, fishing and hunting development potential of the region.

Thus, minimum 4 events in the two countries will be organised, for awareness rising of the local population. Additionally, educational video material will be prepared and disseminated through the local TV media, the social media and internet media. It is expected that by the end of the project, at least 25% of the core transboundary regions’ population will be directly or indirectly informed of the potentials and measures for socio-economic development of the region, achieved through sustainable management of the natural resources and smart utilisation of the ecosystem services.

Final beneficiary

The local population from the transboundary reserve located between Albania and Macedonia, covering a total area of 446.244,52ha, and estimated population of 455.000 inhabitants, who are characterized by rich cultural, ethnic and religious diversities. 14.339,25ha with the UNESCO Declaration from2014 are recognized as core area, where 13.457,81ha are terrestrial and 881,44ha are aquatic. The integrated environmental monitoring system will cover at least 10% of the core Ohrid-Prespa transboundary biosphere.

Action location/s

Ohrid, Struga and Resen from Macedonian side, and

Pogradec, Librazhd, Prrenjas, Pustec, from Albanian side;

Objectives

Overall objective: Contribute to balanced and sustainable socio-economic development of the Ohrid-Prespa transboundary biosphere reserve, through introduction of GIS-based system for planning and management of the natural resources and heritage of the target region.

Specific objective: Develop a system to map the most important ecosystem services of the Ohrid-Prespa transboundary biosphere reserve, and understand their contribution and their utilization for forestry, tourism, fishing and hunting enhancement.

Activities

The activities of the action will be organised in the following 4 work packages (WPs), each leading to delivery of particular project result:

WP1 –Project management: Involves activities related to team set-up, M&E procedure development and reporting, financial and narrative report preparation, coordination and management of the action, for transparent and effective delivery of the project results;

WP2 – Integrated environmental monitoring system: Is about defining the system in accordance to the stakeholders’ needs, supply of GIS system and training for its use;

- Feasibility study specifies the hunting and inbound waters spatial planning and information system (SPIS) performance.

- Small scale procurement - hardware and software - is supplied, and the system is installed and made functional.

- At least 100 stakeholder representatives are trained and aware of the possibilities and usage of the integrated environmental monitoring system.

- Developed analytical and reporting capacities of HFM and FFOIWA.

WP3 – Defining ecosystem service scenarios: Combines survey activities of the target groups, to identify their needs and requirements, as well as potentials for support and development of ecosystem services;

- At least 100 stakeholder representatives are surveyed to identify the economic activities in natural environment of the target region.

- One comparative analysis on utilization of natural resources while preserving the environment in CBC area is prepared.

- Developed management plan for Prespa, and short and midterm action plans for Ohrid and Prespa.

WP4 – Beneficiaries’ awareness raising – Involves development and dissemination of information and promotion materials, educative videos and training toolkit and workshops with local population on how to utilise the natural resources for their enhanced economic and social welfare.

- Min. 500 stakeholder representatives per country are informed through promotional events and materials.

- At least 10.000 people from the two countries have seen the educative videos

- Min. 400 beneficiaries from the 2 countries have strengthened capacities in diversification, preservation and sustainable utilisation and management and of the natural resources – directly educated through the 20 awareness raising meetings, eco-days and study visits.

Impact/Output/Result

R1. Developed and implemented transparent and accountable project management system, for effective and efficient delivery of the project results.

R2: Developed and installed integrated environmental monitoring system, to map the existing ecosystem services related to provisioning, supporting and culture, in the target area.

R3: Developed scenarios for sustainable management (utilization and preservation) of the existing ecosystem services, with involvement of the local population from the target areas.

R4: Increased stakeholders’ cooperation and support for preservation, development and restoring of the flora and fauna in the target area.

Facts & Figures

The key facts & figures relevant to the project:

• Project duration: 24 months

• Start date of the project: 01 January 2018

• End date of the project: 31 December 2019

Figures

• Cost of the action:  € 412,464

• EU contribution: € 350,594

• EU contribution percentage: 85 %