The Prespa Project

The project is organised around five programmes and will directly target five – and
indirectly, two – of the nine focus points of the TSF. Overarching objectives  for the proposed activities are defined for each programme and projected outcomes for each action within them.

 Programme 1, ‘Wetlands,Waterbirds & Climate Change’, will address three focus points of the TSF 1 through activities that will increase knowledge of the effects of climate change and help to strengthen
Prespa’s resilience through biodiversity monitoring, restoration and management activities
in the face of changing environmental circumstances at a transboundary level.

 Having in mind the recent minimum water level of Great Prespa Lake that is causing rapid changes in
the dynamics of habitats and species, the programme’s activities will target important
affected wetland areas and biodiversity. In addition, data will be gathered in order to
produce the first assessment of the lake’s vulnerability to climate change. The SPP recently
facilitated a similar assessment on Lesser Prespa Lake and they will take the lead in
facilitating the process for Great Prespa Lake; both will contribute to informed decision
making at a transboundary level, countering populist short-term actions gaining traction
through a lack of scientific information. Species conservation is a big part of Programme 1,
1 Water and wetlands [1], Pelicans and other waterbirds [2] and Landscapes [7]
and also takes a central role in Programmes 3 and 4. Namely, Programme 3, ‘Species
Conservation’, will see the monitoring and conservation of large carnivores, bats and other
charismatic and conservation priority species 2 , while Programme 4, ‘Freshwater Island
Conservation’, proposes research-driven monitoring of waterbirds and an ambitious
applied conservation project that will bring a critically endangered population back from
the brink of extinction 3. Both programmes will have an intense capacity-building function
for three protected areas (PAs) in Albania and North Macedonia. Importantly, Programme
4 will use the unique island ecosystems in both countries in order to stress the necessity of
standardised trans-institutional and -boundary conservation and bring representatives
together in joint transboundary activities. Programme 2, ‘Environmental Education and
Outreach’, will deepen local stakeholder involvement by touching on almost every activity
within programmes 1, 3 and 4. PrespaNet will continue harmonising the environmental
information that circulates, informs and educates basin-wide; furthermore, the network will
build on modest existing citizen science movements and further its role as a catalyst for
new and locally trained ecological and conservation expertise. Environmental awareness
raising in the local population is crucial for the sustainability of most aspects of the project,
and PrespaNet will use its ever-growing network of followers to communicate our work.
Most importantly, our extremely positive example of transboundary NGO co-operation will
take centre stage in our outreach, in hopes of eventually transposing it onto much-needed
inter-governmental collaboration. Finally, as per the current project, Programme 5 “Local
office management and transboundary co-ordination’ forms a basis for every activity in the
proposal and will ensure streamlined execution via constant co-ordination between the
local officers, with the wider organisational structures of the partners, and with regional
The current project facilitated an intense exchange of experience between the
partner organisations offering organisational growth to all. However, as only recent
permanent additions to Prespa (through the local offices), MES and PPNEA particularly
benefited from the SPP’s partnership; a champion in biodiversity conservation, with a long-
term presence in the region. The current proposal has a wider scope, but does not deviate
from the goals set forth in the TSF; a second investment will grant PrespaNet support to
confirm itself as an important actor in transboundary conservation and fully consolidate
MES and PPNEA’s presence in Prespa with the SPP’s support in the key points of
intervention. This will result in balanced environmental-NGO capacities between countries,
prepared to tackle complicated conservation challenges that require seamless
transboundary co-ordination (e.g. facilitate timely adaptation of biodiversity and human
communities to the effects of climate change).
The project activities will be carried out by the three PrespaNet partner organisations,
under the facilitation and guidance of their Strategic Platform partner EuroNatur. The role
of EuroNatur focusses on facilitating the network, offering guidance as needed and on
administrating the grant. EuroNatur will participate in steering group meetings and provide
technical input during the entire course of the project. The PrespaNet partners will send
their financial and narrative reports to EuroNatur, who will keep the Aage V. Jensen Charity
Foundation updated and submit all necessary reports to the foundation. Furthermore,
EuroNatur will help to amplify the public outreach, especially at an international level.


Programme One: Wetlands, waterbirds & climate change
Transboundary actions
P1/TB1: Towards a climate change resilient Prespa – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P1/TB2: Alder forest restoration – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P1/TB3: Waterbirds in a changing climate – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P1/TB4: Wet meadow management – MES/SPP
National actions
P1/MKD1: Establishing floating platforms for safe breeding of terns – MES
P1/AL1: White stork platform establishment – PPNEA
P1/AL2: Wetland habitat management – PPNEA
Programme Two: Environmental education & outreach
Transboundary actions
P2/TB1: Environmental education – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P2/TB2: Prespa field laboratory – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P2/TB3: PrespaNet communications – MES/PPNEA/SPP
Programme Three: Species conservation
Transboundary actions
P3/TB1: Brown bear conservation – MES/PPNEA
P3/TB2: Bat monitoring – MES/PPNEA
National actions
P3/MKD1: Roe deer density estimation – MES
P3/AL1: Research & monitoring of chamois – PPNEA
P3/AL2: Inventory of breeding birds – PPNEA
P3/AL3: Bird Banding – PPNEA
P3/AL4: Otter research & monitoring – PPNEA
Programme Four: Freshwater island conservation
Transboundary actions
P4/TB1: Islands bridging institutional and political frontiers – MES/PPNEA
National actions
P4/MKD1: Reversing a tortoise extinction vortex – MES
P4/MKD2: Cormorant diet research – MES
Programme Five: Transboundary collaboration, local office management &project
Transboundary actions
P5/TB1: Transboundary collaboration – MES/PPNEA/SPP
P5/TB2: Project facilitation & international public outreach – EuroNatur
National actions
P5/MKD1: Local office management – MES
P5/AL1: Local office management – PPNEA
P5/GR1: Project management – SPP