17 Municipalities and NGOs Selected for Nature Protection Grant SchemeMar 13, 2018
A total of 17 applicants representing a diverse group of municipalities and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been selected to receive grants of EUR 50,000-100,000 for nature protection projects as part of a EUR 4 million program designed to improve the management of the country’s protected areas. The three-year project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.
The project aims to improve nature protection and to promote sustainable use of natural resources while increasing the capacity of management authorities of protected areas, local self-governments and CSOs to manage and promote protected areas in a professional and sustainable fashion. The goal is to show by example that protecting nature can go hand in hand with social and economic benefits for local communities. The project will also help prepare the country to implement the EU nature protection framework and fulfill national commitments arising from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Competition for the grants was intense, and in all 79 concept proposals were submitted. An evaluation committee selected the winning 17 proposals based on quality, impact, sustainability, diversity and alignment with local and national nature-protection strategies.
To qualify to receive their grants, successful applicants are now required to complete an intensive capacity-development program that will see the concepts transformed into full-fledged project plans.
The successful applicants and their proposed projects are:
- Municipality of Kavadarci – Establishing sustainable management in the Tikves nature reserve.
- Municipality of Gostivar – Empowering local actors to explore, research and conserve the natural heritage of Ubavica Cave.
- Municipality of Prilep – Promoting sustainable management of the Markovi kuli monument of nature.
- Center for Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Practices and Rural Development (CeProSARD) – Improving the management of natural resources at Pelister National Park.
- Milieukontakt Macedonia – Conserving biodiversity in the mountain grazing areas of Sar mountains.
- Association for Local and Rural Development – Creating an enabling environment for rural development by valorizing and protecting natural resources in Mavrovo Rostushe.
- KOCKA – Creating a national atlas of protected areas.
- Krste Jon Scouting Center – Monitoring the reed belt of Ohrid Lake and developing sustainable adventure tourism.
- Ursus Speleos – Ensuring sustainable nature protection at Slatinski izvor cave national monument.
- Society Izvor – Enacting sustainable management, protection and promotion of the Kuklica monument of nature in Kratovo.
- Elipsa Kumanovo – Conserving natural heritage in the Bislim Gorge canyon of nature.
- Natura Nova – Branding forest products for biodiversity protection and tourism promotion in the Mount Belasica Region.
- Eco-sense – Establishing a monitoring and management system for the Vevchani springs.
- ECO TOURISM 2016 – Improving the management and sustainable use of the Belchisko wetland (Sini Viroi).
- Tikvesija Hunter’s Association – Protecting and promoting biodiversity of the Drenovo gorge and Kozuv mountain.
- Blue Project – Protecting and promoting a sustainable community at the Duvalo monument of nature.
- Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development – Promoting sustainable management of natural resources in the Prespa region.
The selection was part of a two-pronged approach. Municipalities and CSOs were eligible for smaller grants through a public call for concept proposals, whereas the management authorities of eight larger protected areas are currently developing project proposals for grants of EUR 200,000-400,000. The larger grants will be awarded at a later date for the Pelister, Galicica and Mavrovo national parks; Dojran, Ohrid and Prespa Lakes; Jasen strict nature reserve; and Matka Canyon monument of nature.
The winning proposals will be recognized in a public ceremony to be held at Markovi kuli on 28 March 2018.