The protected areas as a vehicle for the sustainable development of the Greek countryside – The case of Prespa

Prespa’s local authorities, farmers, schools, sports-cultural associations and other local bodies joined forces to implement a major project (2018-2023) that set out to create an innovative model for the development of the country’s protected areas. The core of the ambitious multi-partner PoliPrespa project was the parallel strengthening of Prespa’s social and institutional capital and the sustainable utilisation of the region’s valuable natural and cultural resources, incorporating environmental values in productive and social processes. The co-ordinated co-operation of local bodies was a key point in implementing the various different actions it included.

Actions to strengthen education, sports and culture more broadly, mainly concerned support for local schools, cultural and sports clubs, the operation of the municipal library, the local sports centre and the area’s Byzantine collection museum, as well as health infrastructure. They aimed to improve the social services already provided and cultivate an outward-looking creativity, particularly in the community’s children and young people. In the agricultural sector, activities worked to protect and promote Prespa’s organic beans and strengthen competitiveness, but also to diversify production by introducing alternative agricultural products. The project also supported environmental wetland management that focused on protecting biodiversity while maintaining a direct link with human activities, as well as support for ecotourism. The creation of the Local Action Group, which had a pivotal role in the decision-making process, and in the success and sustainability of the entire effort, was a connecting link and point of reference for all the interventions carried out. After the project a digital platform is being developed to maintain and strengthen this progress in local dialogue and decision-making.



Municipality of Prespa

Public Benefit Enterprise of the Municipality of Prespa

Pelecanos Bean Farmers’ Co-operative

Prespa Cultural Association

Schools & Prespa Association of Parents and Guardians

Cultural, Environmental & Sports Association of Agios Germanos

Lefkona Cultural Conservation Association

Shooters Sports Association



Local Society, Culture & Ecotourism
Sustainable Agriculture, Ecotourism, Local Architecture, Cultural Heritage, Participation and Volunteers, Local Action Group