Conclusions of the International Working Meeting on the establishment of the transboundary Prespa Park, October 2000
Last World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2000, the Ramsar Bureau participated in ceremonies near Prespa Lake that were attended by the Prime Ministers of Albania, Greece, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, their excellencies I. Meta, C. Simitis, and L. Georgievski respectively. The purpose of the trilateral meeting of Prime Ministers was jointly to declare the transboundary "Prespa Park", a new protected area including parts of all three countries, and their joint declaration is available on this Web site. This first transboundary protected area in the Balkan region has now moved closer to implementation following a working meeting amongst the three countries involved which was successful in pushing forward concrete plans for setting up a Coordinating Committee, developing a strategic plan, and establishing infrastructure. Here is a summary of the import of the meeting, followed by the agreed Conclusions.
Greater Lake Prespa, World Wetlands Day 2000 (Photo: Delmar Blasco/Ramsar)
An International Working Meeting on the establishment of the Prespa Park was held in Tirana, Albania, on 16-17 October 2000, under the aegis of the Convention on Wetlands and hosted by the Albanian government. Official delegations from Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia took part, as well as representatives of Regional Environment Centre, UNDP (Tirana and Skopje), and WWF International. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The unanimous conclusions of the meeting include:
- agreement on the establishment of a Coordination Committee with representation from the three countries (with government, local society, and NGO participation) and of a secretariat;
- immediate launching of the preparation of a Strategic Action Plan;
- approval of two projects to be funded by Greece;
- joint development of a project under REReP and a second one under GEF / UNDP;
- a strict time schedule was agreed;
- a first meeting of the Coordination Committee is planned for Skopje, FYROM, on 22-23 January 2001.
As to the role of MedWet in this successful transboundary initiative, the following should be noted:
- The initial agreement among the three prime ministers has been catalyzed by MedWet since mid-1999.
- The Tirana meeting was arranged and organized by MedWet, which also prepared and circulated its working documents.
- The Prespa Park Coordination Committee was agreed on the basis of a proposal prepared by MedWet.
- MedWet was requested by the three national delegations to monitor and facilitate the implementation of the Tirana agreement and especially its time schedule.
International Working Meeting on the Establishment of the "Prespa Park"
Tirana, Albania, 16-17 October 2000
Under the aegis of the Convention on Wetlands
Hosted by the Government of Albania - National Environmental Agency