Jul 12, 2017


Today a new nature protection project was launched in the Galicica Info Center by Minister of Environment Sadulla Duraki, European Union Ambassador Samuel Zbogar and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Louisa Vinton.

The project worth EUR 4.3 million is funded by the EU and UNDP, and will be implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning over the next 36 months.

“The successful implementation of this project will contribute to more sustainable management of natural resources within protected areas in the country. We will ‘show by doing’ that investing in nature protection brings economic benefits to the surrounding communities,” said Minister Duraki.

The country has set ambitious targets for nature protection: a network of 86 protected areas has been designated that covers some 9 percent of the national territory. However, official designations are often not matched by effective practical measures to preserve the country’s natural treasures.

The project’s central feature is a grant scheme aimed at three goals: 1) to address priority needs in improving the management of protected areas, where possible including those proposed as pilot Natura 2000 sites; 2) to promote more sustainable use of natural resources; and 3) to demonstrate through practical examples that nature protection and local economic development can go hand in hand.

“The European Union is continuously assisting the country to build a better future for its citizens. We believe that this project will help protect the country’s rich biodiversity and natural areas while improving people’s lives,” said Ambassador Zbogar.

Given the wide variations in management structures for protected areas, and their varying capabilities, the grant scheme will use two separate mechanisms: one for larger, more-developed protected areas with established management structures (such as Pelister, Galicica and Mavrovo National Parks); and one for smaller, less-developed protected areas, where a management authority has not yet been created. In all, the project will award and oversee some 20 grant projects, to be implemented by management authorities, local self-governments and NGOs.

In addition, the project will construct a number of small-scale wastewater treatment plants, to demonstrate their potential as a low-cost solution to pressing environmental challenges faced by many communities located near protected areas.

“The country is recognized globally as an unrivalled ‘hotspot’ of biodiversity”, said UNDP’s Vinton. “At UNDP we are delighted to have this new opportunity to work with our national partners to ensure that this natural treasure is protected for future generations.”

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