23 years of the transboundary Prespa Park – Slow but steady progress with institutional collaboration

23 years of the transboundary Prespa Park – Slow but steady progress with institutional collaboration

It’s World Wetlands Day today, and exactly 23 years ago the prime ministers of the 3 littoral states established the transboundary Prespa Park, following a proposal of the Society for the Protection of Prespa and WWF Greece.

It took a great deal of time and effort, but just before this year’s anniversary of the Prespa Park, on Tuesday 31st January, the environmental organisations that have consistently and patiently asked and, more importantly, worked over the past years for the conditions to mature so that official interstate collaboration in the region might advance, had the pleasure of attending the second regular meetings of the Prespa Park Management Committee and its Working Group on Water Management. These are the joint bodies for dialogue and co-decision in operation after the entry into force of the international Agreement of 2010 for the Prespa Park, which met online this time.

The most significant decision that was taken in these meetings was undoubtedly that on technical co-operation between the 3 countries on the basis of a detailed sequence of steps (road map), due to commence immediately with the ultimate goal of harmonising water management at watershed level, which is indispensable if the great challenges brought about by the climate crisis are to be addressed.

Even though progress with interstate dialogue and implementation of agreed actions on the substantive issues of joint concern is slow, institutional collaboration between the 3 states and the EU is in itself a difficult and ambitious target already achieved! The environmental organisations will from now on focus on what could and should be done to strengthen and accelerate the productivity of interstate collaboration, as dictated by the needs of society and of biodiversity in Prespa, our common home.


The 3 prime ministers declare the transboundary Prespa park in 2000