The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) was established in 1991 by two visionaries, Dr Luc Hoffman and Thymios Papayannis, who wanted to create an organisation that would work collaboratively to protect Prespa’s remarkable nature and culture, through scientific principles and dialogue, ensuring that all those who strived for the conservation of this incredible and biodiverse corner of SE Europe spoke with a single and effective voice.
Many partners and donors have contributed to the SPP’s steady growth and development over the three decades of our existence, and this longstanding support and belief in our work has been a determining factor in the organisation’s successes over the years. Crucial core support has been provided by Swiss MAVA Foundation, founded by Luc Hoffman in 1994, which has allowed the SPP to build and follow a stable long-term strategic path for conservation in Prespa through a succession of five-year strategic plans, known as the ‘SPP Strategic Framework’.
While funding for many activities arises from specific projects that have been designed to achieve a particular strategic objective, the core funding from MAVA covered the full range of the SPP’s activities, many of which did not fall under more specific projects. This has included regular research and monitoring, core wetland management, policy and advocacy activities, education and training, communications, fundraising and the administration and management of the SPP.
In anticipation of its closure in 2022 the MAVA Foundation established the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (ΡΟΝΤ) in 2015, together with the German Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), working through the KfW Development Bank. The aim was to continue to support the work of the SPP and to support the increasing environmental needs of the Prespa-Ohrid region in response to the lack of sufficient funding for conservation efforts. As a conservation trust fund, PONT has been able to provide long-term sustainable financing to the region’s parks and local environmental actors, the SPP amongst them, and the trust took over funding the SPP’s strategic framework in July 2017. PONT has since provided significant funding for the SPP’s five-year strategic framework for 2018-2022, across the full range of our conservation programme, and also supports our current strategic framework for 2023-2027.
The SPP remains exceptionally grateful to the MAVA Foundation and PONT for their long-term support, which has enabled the conservation of Prespa’s exceptional natural and cultural values through the stability of strategic planning that can depend on ongoing support over many decades.
Catsadorakis, G., O. Alexandrou, D. Dimidzievski, B. Hoxha, I. Koutseri, D. Melovski, G. Mertzanis, M. Petridou, I. Shyti, A. Stojanov, A. Trajçe. 2021. Current situation of the golden jackal Canis aureus in the transboundary Prespa Park.
Catsadorakis, G., V. Roumeliotou, I. Koutseri & M. Malakou. 2021. Multifaceted local action for the conservation of the transboundary Prespa lakes Ramsar sites in the Balkans. Marine and Freshwater Research.