Conclusions of the international "Prespa Park" meeting, Tirana, Albania, October 2000

20/10/2000

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


Conclusions

1. On 16-17 October 2000, at the invitation of the Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, the official delegations of the governments of Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia met in Tirana to take forward the establishment of the ‘Prespa Park’, as agreed by the Prime Ministers of the three states on 2 February 2000. The International Working Meeting was hosted by the National Environmental Agency of Albania.

2. The participants included representatives of the Environmental Authorities and other services from the three states, as well as non-governmental organizations. It also included representatives from international organizations, and more specifically the Regional Environment Centre (REC), the UNDP offices in Skopje and Tirana and WWF International.

3. The meeting was and was opened by Ms. Makbule Ceco, Deputy Prime Minister of Albania and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, and chaired by Mr. Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands.

4. The following is a summary of the decisions or recommendations agreed upon by consensus.

5. A Coordination Committee for the Prespa Park should be established, with the three governments nominating its members as soon as possible and with the view to the signing of a formal agreement at ministerial level at a later stage. The structure, mandate, responsibilities and operational guidelines of the Committee have been agreed as described in Appendix I.

6. The preparation of a Strategic Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park (as described in Appendix II) should start at once. The preparation of the Strategic Action Plan will be the responsibility of the Society for the Protection of Prespa with the full participation of one NGO from the two other countries., appointed by the corresponding governments. The project will be funded by Greece, and will be monitored and guided by the Prespa Park Coordination Committee.

7. The proposal of the Greek government to fund building, equipment and facilities infrastructure for the monitoring of environmental parameters in Albania and the FYR of Macedonia (see Appendix III) were accepted, with the provision that the two governments concerned shall be fully involved in the location, design and implementation of this initiative.

8. The proposal of the Greek government for the establishment of a regional research and educational facility at the abandoned fish hatchery installations in Karyes of Micro Prespa (see Appendix IV) was accepted, but its scope and priorities should be determined by the Strategic Action Plan.

9. As a major GEF project proposal for the Albanian side of Prespa is being submitted, the meeting recommends that complementary action is considered in the other two countries, with the assistance of UNDP, and under the guidance of the Coordination Committee at the appropriate stage. The meeting also requests from the MedWet coordination to contribute to the development of this project within the framework of the MedWet Initiative.

10. The representatives of Greece and the FYR of Macedonia have supported the Quick Start project 4.3.7 from REReP [Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme] and ask the Albanian National Environment Authority to upgrade the project proposal in the light of decisions taken during this meeting. Greece and the FYR of Macedonia will ensure the necessary coordination before the second Task Force meeting.

11. Further coordination among all initiatives concerning or having an impact on the Prespa Park area should be carried out, based on a detailed inventory to be prepared urgently.

12. The Convention on Wetlands and the MedWet Initiative will continue to provide support and assistance at the request of the three governments involved in the Prespa Park, and as agreed during the Third Meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (Djerba, Tunisia, 1-5 April 2000).

13. The delegations of Albania and the FYR of Macedonia were positive in relation to having the Prespa region declared as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. This issue should be considered during the first meeting of the Coordination Committee.

14. The next meeting for the establishment of the Prespa Park will be held in Skopje on 22-23 January 2001.

15. Until that date, the following indicative timetable was agreed:

  • Submission of a REReP proposal for the Prespa Park: 30 October 2000.
  • Designation by the governments of Albania and FYR of Macedonia of their national NGOs that will assist the Society for the Protection of Prespa in the preparation of the Strategic Action Plan: 15 November 2000.
  • Signature of the contract between the Greek Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works and the Society for the Protection of Prespa for the preparation of the Strategic Action Plan: 30 November 2000.
  • Indication by the governments of Albania and FYR of Macedonia of the sites for the establishment of the environmental monitoring centres in Prespa, to be funded and equipped by the Greek government project under DAC [Development Assistance Coordination]: 30 November 2000.
  • Official appointment of the members of the Coordination Committee: 30 November 2000.
  • Signature of the contract between the Greek Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works and the Society for the Protection of Prespa for the establishment and equipping of two environmental monitoring centres in the Albanian and Macedonian part of the Prespa Park: 20 December 2000.
  • Review of the inventory of projects and activities with an effect on the Prespa Park: 22-23 January 2001, at the Skopje meeting.

The MedWet Coordinator is requested to assist the parties involved in achieving these target dates.

16. Finally, the participants expressed their gratitude to:

  • the government of Albania, and particularly to the National Environmental Agency for their hospitality in hosting the meeting;
  • the Convention on Wetlands for chairing the meeting and covering its major costs;
  • the MedWet Initiative for contributing catalytically in the organization of the meeting;
  • the government of Greece for its willingness to fund the first projects for the establishment of the Prespa Park.

Appendix I

A Coordination Committee for the Prespa Park

 1. The peaceful and friendly cooperation between the three states neighbouring the Prespa Lakes, focusing on the establishment of a Prespa Park, has been decided at a very high political level in early 2000 and we are certain that it represents the will of the people. Now the challenge is to give concrete form to this decision. Such transborder cooperation, due to its innovative character, must have a dynamic nature and develop with time as confidence is gained and links are built.

2. As a first step, and as a provisional arrangement, it is proposed that the three states establish a provisional Coordination Committee for the Prespa Park for the period 2000 to 2002. The Committee will start operating as soon as its members are appointed, but its official establishment will be carried out through a joint document signed at ministerial level. At the end of 2002, the three states will evaluate the work of the Committee and will agree on the necessary changes in its structure, form and operation, as well as on longer-term provisions for the collaboration of the three states focusing on the Prespa Park.

Proposed composition

3. The Prespa Park Coordination Committee shall have the following composition:

  • One representative of the Environmental Authority of each of the three neighbouring states.
  • One representative from the local communities in the Prespa region from each of the three countries, designated by the corresponding Environmental Authority.
  • One representative of the environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from each country, with significant local activities in the Prespa area, designated by the corresponding Environmental Authority.
  • One observer from the Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar).

4. Thus the Committee will have a total of nine national members, and one international observer.

5. The donor community will be invited to participate in the work of the Committee, as appropriate.

Committee’s responsibilities

6. The Committee, apart from its crucial political, administrative and institutional role, would also have a significant role to play in relation to technical issues, and thus the three states shall ensure that the Committee has access to the competent services in each country.

7. The Committee’s main responsibility shall be to guide the course of future measures and activities so as to realise the objectives of the Prespa Park that are:

" a) maintain and protect the unique ecological values of the "Prespa Park", b) prevent and/or reverse the causes of its habitat degradation, c) explore appropriate management methods for the sustainable use of Prespa Lakes waters and d) spare no efforts so that the "Prespa Park" become and remain a model of its kind, as well as an additional reference to the peaceful collaboration among our countries."

(From the Declaration of the three Prime Ministers of 2 February 2000.)

8. In this framework, it is proposed that the Committee will have the following main responsibilities:

8.1 Prepare an inventory of all activities and projects being carried out in the Prespa region that may have a direct or indirect effect on the natural or socio-economic status of the Prespa Park.

8.2 Monitor and coordinate the development and implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park (see Appendix II).

8.3 Monitor and coordinate the implementation of specific actions/ projects based on the framework programme for the Strategic Action Plan.

8.4 Identify and propose to the relevant governments and other interested parties next steps and necessary actions according to the Strategic Action Plan. This may include institutional and legislative measures to reinforce the collaboration of the three neighbouring states in the Prespa region.

8.5 Evaluate the results of ongoing actions according to the objectives of the Strategic Action Plan, and disseminate the results widely.

8.6 Inform the governmental authorities concerned on the implementation of the Prespa Park objectives so that proposed actions are reinforced by the appropriate political decisions. In this way the Committee, shall

a) obtain the political consensus and support at a national level for the implementation of the necessary actions, and

b) identify and propose possible funding sources at a national, European and international level for all of the above areas.

9. In addition, the Committee shall ensure that information concerning development plans and other planned actions, policies and programmes with a possible effect on the Prespa Park will be made available promptly to all three sides.

10. In case of unexpected events, such as floods, forest fires and other natural or anthropogenic catastrophes, the Coordination Committee shall contribute to the mobilisation of resources of the three states, and the international community as appropriate, to mitigate the negative impacts.

Operational aspects

11. The members of the Committee shall be formally nominated by the Environmental Authority in each country, so that they are kept informed of developments and thus be able to participate actively, assume specific duties and responsibilities and assist in case of emergencies.

12. The Committee shall meet on a regular basis (twice per year). Intermediate meetings at a short notice may also be arranged when the need arises.

13. The regular meetings will rotate among the three countries, in alphabetical order, starting with Albania with the meeting of 16-17 October 2000. Preferably, they should be held in the Prespa region.

14. The meetings shall be chaired by the state in which they are held. The chair will continue its duties until the next meeting.

15. The work of the Committee will be carried out in English. The Committee will decide which key documents will be translated into all the three languages of the countries involved.

Other issues

16. A small secretariat for the operation of the Coordination Committee, consisting of technical persons from each of the three countries involved, shall be organized. The Society for the Protection of Prespa will provide logistical support.

17. The Government of Greece has kindly offered to finance the running expenses of the Prespa Park of this secretariat and the meetings of the Coordination Committee for the first two-year period on the basis of an agreed budget.


Appendix II

Project proposal for the preparation of a strategic action plan for the sustainable development of the Prespa Park

("Prespa Park" hereafter means the transboundary protected area as defined in the Joint Declaration of the three Prime Ministers on 2 February 2000 and is not to be confused with the National Prespa Parks.)

1. Introduction

The Prespa region, which is shared by Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia, has many common natural, economic, social and cultural elements. Its conservation and development therefore requires a Strategic Action Plan that has a common development policy and is implemented simultaneously in the three countries. The development of the wider Prespa region should depend upon the same common principles and share an integrated vision and direction.

Consequently, it is proposed to prepare a pilot development programme based on the principles of sustainable development that reflects the Prespa location, its unique natural values and its socio-economic character. This programme will provide the opportunity for the three governments to co-operate for the benefit of their countries.

On the basis of the above concept, in 1999, the Society for the Protection of Prespa and WWF Greece submitted to the Greek Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment a proposal that related to the creation of the first transboundary protected region in the Balkans. The proposal was immediately accepted by the governments of the three states, so on the 2 February 2000 a Joint Declaration between Albania, Greece, and the FYR of Macedonia for the establishment of the Prespa Park, the first transboundary protected region in the Balkans, was signed by the three Prime Ministers.

The current proposal is the next step following the signing of the Declaration. Its goal is the preparation of an integrated Strategic Action Plan for the sustainable development and effective management of this transboundary protected area.

The participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the three countries in the preparation of the Plan will constitute an important contribution to these objectives, due to their long-term experience in the Prespa region and knowledge of ecological and development issues relevant to protected area management.

2. Overall Goal of the Strategic Action Plan

The overall goal of the Strategic Action Plan is to promote the sustainable development of the Prespa Park, including conservation of the natural and cultural values of the region.

3. Proposed Content of the Strategic Action Plan

The Strategic Action Plan will include the following:

A. Introduction

1. Aims and objectives of the plan
2. Description of the Prespa Park catchment area
3. Context of the Prespa Park in the wider region
4. Designations and existing management regimes. Special attention should be given to the relevant EU and international standards and requirements, such as the forthcoming EU Water Framework Directive, and the Ramsar Convention Wise Use Guidelines.

B. Outline and analysis of the area

1. Abiotic environment

1.1 Geomorphology
1.2 Geology
1.3 Climate
1.4 Hydrology, water quality
1.5 Pedology

2. Biotic environment

2.1 Vegetation and flora
2.2 Fauna
2.3 Threatened endemic rare and protected species and habitats
2.4 Specification and evaluation of designated areas/habitats

3. Ecosystem functioning

3.1 Identification of ecological processes
3.2 Anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem integrity

  • Interventions to the hydrology
  • Degradation of the ecosystems
  • Unsustainable spatial planning

4. Economic status

4.1 Primary sector (agriculture, stock raising, fisheries, forestry, mineral extraction)
4.2 Secondary sector (processing, manufacture, small industry)
4.3 Tertiary sector (tourism in particular)
4.4. Economic valuation of the ecosystem services

5. Status of social structures and services

5.1 Demographic records
5.2 Residential structure and services
5.3 Administrative structure and social infrastructure
5.4 Network of technical infrastructure
5.5 Transport network and facilities
5.6 Domestic water supply, irrigation systems, sewage treatment, waste disposal
5.7 Power and telecommunication infrastructure
5.8 Cultural elements (such as monuments, archaeological sites, traditional buildings)

C. Complete appraisal and evaluation of the area and synthesis of all records

1. Analysis of the basic strategic and political keystones for the development and protection of Prespa Park

2. Identification of specific indicators for environmental protection and sustainable development

3. Identification of the fundamental management issues that relate to all three countries and require coordination on a catchment basis, such as:

3.1 Management of waters
3.2 Management of the ecosystem and species, including agro-ecosystems
3.3 Management of sewage waste

4. Proposals for formalising the transboundary co-operation and the establishment of a management committee for the Prespa Park

D. Proposals for specific programs and management measures per sector, taking into account the particularities of each country.

1. Specific programs and actions for the protection of the environment in each country and in the region as a whole, including networks for transboundary cooperation

2. Specific programs and actions for the promotion of sustainable development per sector of activity in each country and in the region as a whole (primary, secondary, tertiary, infrastructure, etc.), including networks for transboundary cooperation

4. Institutional Arrangements for Project Implementation

The Greek Government, which will finance the project through the Development Assistance Coordination (DAC) line, intends to assign the execution of the project to the Society for the Protection of Prespa with the support of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Greece.

For the organization and coordination of the project in Albania and the FYROM, the Society for the Protection of Prespa will act as the project secretariat. SPP will cooperate with the competent state authorities and the local NGOs, who will act as Project Implementation Units. These NGOs will be appointed by the respective governments.

Finally, to ensure effective cooperation between the governments and NGOs, the project implementation will be supervised by the Prespa Park Coordination Committee.


Appendix III

Funding proposal for the establishment of the basic building infrastructure in Albania and The FYR of Macedonia within the framework of the Prespa Park

1. Introduction

As noted already, on 2 February 2000, a trilateral agreement between Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia was signed for the establishment of the Prespa Park - the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans. This agreement demonstrated the interest of the three states for the sustainable development and the protection of the natural and cultural values of the wider Prespa region.

Greece has, since 1974, declared Prespa as a National Park and a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar). Albania has also declared the Prespa Lakes, within the boundaries of Albania, as ‘National Park’. The FYR of Macedonia has legislated in the Prespa catchment area two National Parks - Galiçicha and Pelister, which relate to forestry ecosystems and one Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar), Ezerani, located to the north of Macro Prespa.

For Greece, a series of works and activities have already been foreseen and amongst them is the construction of a research station for the wider Prespa area. Similar infrastructure should be provided for the neighbouring countries.

2. Aim of the project

This proposal has the aim to create the necessary building infrastructure, which will accommodate the scientific personnel and the Management Bodies of the Prespa Park in Albania and the FYR of Macedonia.

3. Proposed works

The following works are proposed:

  • Construction of a building for a biological station in Prespa region (Albania)
  • Construction of a building for a biological station in Macro Prespa (FYR of Macedonia)
  • All necessary equipment of the biological station (including furniture, scientific and monitoring equipment, etc.)

In the above two sites, it is proposed that two 300 m2 buildings be constructed according to local architecture and using natural materials (wood, stone, etc.). The two buildings will operate as biological stations and will serve the accommodation and operational needs of the Management Body and the scientific personnel, who will participate in the management of the Prespa Park.

Both buildings will be constructed on land to be offered by the competent authorities. After their construction is completed, they will belong to the national authorities who are responsible for the management of the Prespa Park.

4. Project coordinators 

The Greek Government, who will fund this project through the Development Assistance Coordination line, intends to entrust the coordination of the project to the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP). The project will be implemented in cooperation with the relevant state authorities, who will select the proper location in each country and determine the particular needs.


Appendix IV

Establishment of a Regional Research / Educational Centre for the Prespa Park 

The Prespa Lakes, together with Ohrid Lake, are considered to be amongst the oldest lakes in Europe. In addition, Prespa is an area recognised as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. On 2 February 2000, the three countries agreed on the establishment of the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans.

The establishment in Prespa of a Regional Research / Educational Centre for the monitoring and protection of the Lake Ecosystems, which will provide all the necessary facilities and infrastructure for the management, research and protection of the area, is considered as a major priority. This Centre will be staffed with scientists from all three neighbouring countries.

The work of this Centre will be of great importance in addressing issues which have a direct or indirect effect on the Lakes ecosystems, including:

  • Conservation of wildlife species such as birds, mammals and fish
  • Pollution problems in the water and the surrounding areas
  • Management of habitats and related natural resources
  • Impact resulting from human activities and suggested management solutions

The proposal includes the following measures:

  1. organization of the infrastructure and accommodation facilities for the operation of the Regional Research / Educational Centre for the Prespa Lake Ecosystems. The Centre will be established in the vacant fish hatchery building on the Greek side, where there is space available to accommodate teams of 20 to 25 researchers / students, as well as a sufficient laboratory and workshop areas. These facilities will require considerable restoration work.
  2. Continuation and improvement of the monitoring system of Prespa’s basic biotic and abiotic parameters. The monitoring system of basic qualitative and quantitative parameters forms the main basis for identifying the dangers and threats to the ecosystems and to the rare and threatened species and for taking the necessary management decisions. In addition, an effective wardening system demands a constant, long-term presence and broad scientific knowledge. This activity needs to be organized in co-operation with the neighbouring countries and will be implemented in concertation with their respective services and organizations.
  3. Promotion of actions for co-operation with research organizations and Institutes from the Balkan countries and beyond, which have common interests relating to lake ecosystems.
  4. organization of training programmes for university research teams from all three countries.

International Working Meeting on the Establishment of the ‘Prespa Park’

Tirana, Albania, 16-17 October 2000

List of participants

State or organisationRepresentativeCo-ordinates
Albania

National Environment Agency











Mr Maksim Deliana
Chairman
National Environment Agency (NEA)
Bulevardi "Zhan d'Ark", Nr. 2
Tirana, Albania
T: +355 4 3652 29
F: +355 4 2306 82
E:mdeliana@albnet.net
Mr. Zamir Dedej
Director
Nature Protection Directorate
National Environment Agency (NEA)
Bulevardi "Zhan d'Ark", Nr. 2
Tirana, Albania
T: +355 4 364 904
F: +355 4 365 229
E: zamir@cep. tirana.al
Ms. Violetta Zuna
Director of Projects Implementation Directorate
National Environment Agency (NEA)
Bulevardi "Zhan d'Ark", Nr. 2
Tirana, Albania
T: + 355 4 364903
F: +355 4 365 229
E: violetazuma@ albmail.com
General Directorate of Forest and Pasture
Mr. Kole Malaj
Director General
GDFP
Mr. Genti Kromidha
Chief of Management and Cadastre Section
Rr. Sami Frasheri Nr. 4, Tirana, Albania
T: + 355 4 2567 84
F: + 355 4 2567 84
E:zhprifti@albanianonline.net
Tourism Development CommitteeMr. Franka Palona
Advisor
Bul. Deshmoret e Kombit Nr. 8
Tirana, Albania
T: + 355 4 2583 21
F: + 355 4 2583 21
E: kzht@tourism.gov.al
Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment AssociationMr. Leke Gjiknuri
Chairman of PPNEA
Mr. Spase Shumko
PPNEA
T: + 355 4 2228 39
F: + 355 4 2228 39
E: ppnea@ x4all.soros.al
Ministry of Agriculture and FoodMr. Arben Molla
Director of Agriculture Programme Office
Bul. Deshmorit e Kombit
Tirana, Albania
T: + 355 4 2283 55
F: + 355 4 2283 55
E: amolla@ albmail.com
Regional Environment Agency
Mr. Kostaq Kanari
Chief Inspector
Korca
T: + 355 824 4960
F: + 355 824 2953
Environment Centre of Administration and Technology (ECAT)Ms. Marieta Mima
Manager
T: + 355 4 2239 30
F: + 355 4 2239 30
UNDP / GEF Project
MedWetCoast
Ms.Tatiana Hema
Coordinator
Ms. Drita Dade
National Expert on Communication and Training
T: + 355 4 2578 95
F: + 355 4 2578 95
E: tanahema@ albanianonline.net
Greece
Mr. Spyros Kouvelis
Member of the Cabinet of the Deputy Minister
Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works
Amaliados 17 and Pouliou
115 23 Athens, Greece
T: +301 65 48 182
F: +301 64 32 589
M: 030 972 080 969
E: alcyon@otenet.gr
Mr. Michael Vrettakis
Economic and Commercial Attaché
Greek Embassy
Tiorana, Albania
T: +355 228 980
F: +355 228 979
Mrs. Myrsini Malacou
Director
Society for the Protection of Prespa
Aghios Germanos, Greece
T: +30 385 51 211
F: +30 385 51 211
E: spp@line.gr
Ms. Vassiliki Roumeliotou
Society for the Protection of Prespa
c/o WWF Greece
26 Filelinon Street
105 58 Athens, Greece
T: +301 33 14 893
F: +301 324 7578
E: v.roumeliotou@
wwf.gr
The FYR of MacedoniaMr. Rakip Doci
Deputy Director, Environment Agency
Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning
Drezdenka 52
1000 Skopje, FYR of Macedonia
T: +389 91 366 930
F: +389 91 366 931
E: infoeko@ moe.gov.mk
Ms. Kaja Šukova
Advisor, Project Preparing Department
Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning
Drezdenka 52
1000 Skopje, FYR of Macedonia
T: +389 91 366 930
F: +389 91 366 931
E: kajasukova@ hotmail.com
Mr. Vasil Anastasovski
Head of Division,
Environment Agency
Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning
Drezdenka 52
1000 Skopje, FYR of Macedonia
T: +389 91 366 930
F: +389 91 366 931
E: infoeko@moe.gov.mk
Convention on WetlandsMr. Delmar Blasco
Secretary General
Rue de Mauverney 28
CH-196 Gland, Switzerland
T: +41 22 999 01 70
F: +41 22 999 01 69
E: blasco@ramsar.org
Mr. Thymio Papayannis
MedWet Coordinator
23 Voucourestiou Street
106 71 Athens, Greece
T: +301 36 00 711-4
F: +301 36 29 338
E: thymiop@hol.gr
Regional Environment Centre (REC)Ms. Mira Mileva
IUCN/REC Biodiversity Secretariat
Ady Endre ut.9-11
2000 Szentendre, Hungary
T: +36 26 311 199 ext. 7008
F: +36 26 311 294
E: mmileva@rec.org
UNDP
Skopje
Mr Rikard Elfving
Programme Officer for Environmental Projects
Mr Gjorgji Miskovski
Project Manager.
UNDP
Dimitrie Chupovski No. 8
1000 Skopje, FYR of Macedonia
T: +389 91 116 335
F: +389 91 118 261
E: rikard.elfving@ undp.org
E: gjorgji.miskovski@
undp.org.mk
UNDP
Tirana
Mr. Vladimir Malkaj
National Programme Officer,
Mrs. Ledina Caslli
Programme Assistant SGP/GEF
T: +355 42 33 122
F: +355 42 32 075
WWF InternationalMrs. Jane Madgwick
Head of European Freshwater Programme
WWF International
T: +45 35 24 78 43
F: +45 35 24 78 68
M: +45 21 60 80 98
E: j.madgwick@ wwf.dk
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