One of the central tenets of the work of the Society for the Protection Prespa (SPP) is the principle that the conservation of Prespa’s remarkable biodiversity and landscapes are a highly effective vehicle for the sustainable development of the area. In this context, the SPP has been carrying out a number of environmental actions focussing on environmentally friendly agricultural activities for agricultural and apian products, which complement and support its wider conservation programme.
In this project the SPP worked with the American Farm School of Thessaloniki and the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens on a package of measures aiming to promote agricultural activities which favoured the environment and the area’s good conservation status. These measures included: personalised training and education in sustainable methods and best practices for Prespa bean farmers, incorporating new technology and digital infrastructure; and, support for bee-keeping and other alternative environmentally-friendly primary sector activities. In order to carry out the majority of these activities, the SPP also needed to upgrade its existing infrastructure, so as to be able to host the meetings and workshops involved, providing a stable base for providers and stakeholders alike to pursue the programme and fulfil the aims of the project.
These activities took place in collaboration with a larger project co-funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), entitled ‘Protected Areas: A Vehicle for the Sustainable Development of Rural Greece – The Case of Prespa’, or ‘PoliPrespa’ for short. Through an ambitiously broad range of social, environmental and agricultural activities, the multi-sector, multi-stakeholder PoliPrespa project aimed to protect biodiversity and strengthen social capital in the area, particularly amongst young people, as well as provide capacity-building to local organisations and authorities.