International recognition for transboundary water governance
International recognition for the work of SPP and its partners on water governance in the transboundary Prespa Park
The persistent and systematic work of the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) over the last two decades, advocating for the establishment and operation of an interstate cross-border collaboration scheme in the Prespa basin, with special emphasis on joint water management, has recently been recognised by the global community organised under the UN system. The UN-Water mechanism chose transboundary cooperation in the Prespa Park as one of the two global “good examples” it showcased in its publication “SDG 6 acceleration Snapshots“, demonstrating “what progress looks like” in the field of transboundary cooperation for water (and more specifically, with achieving the ‘Sustainable Development Goal 6-Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, Target 6.5-By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate’). Overall, only 16 snapshots were selected worldwide to inspire further action on SDG 6 (see more on SDGs, here).
What is even more rewarding for the SPP is the full endorsement of the Society’s strategic approach, which rather than a simple “traditional” interstate collaboration in the Prespa Park, but strived for a modern multi-stakeholder participatory official transboundary governance scheme, as well as the recognition that the primary key success factor for bringing about the formal cross-border collaboration regime was the “sustained efforts by local civil society organizations and municipalities” (Key success factors, points 4 & 1).
This development will hopefully contribute in practical terms to a renewed and more ardent engagement of state services and individuals in all 3 littoral countries in the work of the Prespa Park, in order to secure more tangible results, important joint decisions and the implementation of necessary measures and activities. In this vein, a new ambitious objective lies ahead for the SPP and its partners, namely, to be able to claim the Prespa Park as a best practice example in the years to come under the next global target, i.e. ‘Target 6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes’, which is heavily overdue.