IEMP Project

Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Prespa Lakes Basin of Albania, FYR of Macedonia and Greece (IEMP)

The Prespa Integrated Ecosystem Management (IEMP) project was a large international project, carried out with Global Environment Facility (GEF) support. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was the implementing agency, and the project was executed in three components, one each for Albania and North Macedonia, and a transboundary component that also referred to Greece. The overall project goal was “The conservation and sustainable use of globally significant biological diversity and trans-boundary water resources of the Prespa lakes Basin.” The project objective was to catalyse the adoption of integrated ecosystem management in the transboundary Prespa lakes basin in order to conserve globally significant biodiversity, mitigate pollution of the transboundary lakes and provide a sustainable basis for the basin’s further social and economic development.

The project was technically structured across five outcomes, and included a number of activities or sectors within the same framework, such as research and monitoring, concrete conservation actions, institutional efforts, legislative and administrative work, lobbying, hands-on conservation, public awareness and networking. The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) participated under the transboundary component, which focused on strengthening the cross-border co-ordination mechanism and fostering transboundary water conservation and management, as well as capacity building. It also developed a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and a Strategic Action Programme that were not systematically implemented, while Conservation Action Plans for reed beds, Grecian Juniper forests, brown bear, caves and bats, and mountain tea were also produced.

In addition, a transboundary monitoring system (TMS) was produced collaboratively by the SPP, which addressed a variety of areas, such as fish, birds and other biodiversity, aquatic vegetation, forest and terrestrial ecosystems, water quality, land use and socio-economic aspects. A transboundary monitoring study-document and several reports on the pilot field monitoring activities implemented per thematic area were produced. The TMS was developed with the contribution of national and international scientists and under the guidance of a multi-stakeholder working group composed of representatives from all three countries.

The transboundary component of the project produced multiple publications and public awareness and communications materials and a Communication, Education and Public Awareness Strategy was completed in October 2008. A publication entitled “Empowering Life, Building Resilience”, a book on the Fish of Prespa, as well as a number of brochures and publications covering the thematic areas of agriculture, biodiversity, fisheries, forests, governance, tourism, and water were made as part of this work.