World Wetlands Day 2002: Prespa Park
World Wetlands Day 2002
On Saturday 2 February, a celebration of the Prespa Park was held in the village of Otheshevo, Resen area in the FYR Macedonia. The event was organized by the trilateral Prespa Park Secretariat, implementing the decision of the Prespa Park Coordinating Committee.
The Prespa Park was established on 2 February 2000, with the joint declaration of the Prime Ministers of the three countries (Albania, FYR Macedonia, Greece), with the participation of the Ramsar Convention Secretary General Delmar Blasco. The initiative was supported strongly by Ramsar / Medwet, and the first meeting of the Prespa Park Committee was held with the financial support of the Ramsar Bureau and chaired by Delmar Blasco.
The event of 2 February 2002 comprised a press conference, with the participation of the Minister of Environment of the FYR Macedonia, Mr. Vladimir Djabirski, representatives of the Local Authorities of the Prespa area from the three counties, Mr. Mihalis Modinos, President of the National Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development, representing the Greek Ministry of Environment, NGOs participating in the Coordinating Committee and MedWet/Ramsar represented by S. Kouvelis, MedWet Coordinator and Th. Papayanis, Senior Advisor on Mediterranean Wetlands.
The event also comprised an exhibition and contest of school drawings on Prespa, which was organized and prepared by the Mayors of the Prespa communities from the three countries, with the support of the Secretariat.
The event was successful and coverage was provided by the press and 3 TV channels (2 Macedonian and one Greek).
Prespa Park is considered an important success, being the first transfrontier protected area established in the Balkan region. Since its establishment, the Prespa Park Coordination Committee has convened in three regular and two extraordinary meetings, and has done quite a lot of work, including the development of a Strategic Action Plan (funded by the Greek Government), the preparation of a concept for GEF funding, which has already been accepted for pipeline entry. Prespa Park has also attracted the active interest and support of bilateral funding agencies, including the German GTZ and KfW.