Prespa is one of those examples in Europe and in Greece where human activities such as fishing, agriculture and animal husbandry have been harmonised with the natural area, in such a way as to significantly enhance the variety of its unique natural and cultural characteristics and not to degrade it. However, the socio-economic conditions and trends that have prevailed since the beginning of the 1980s have also led to uncontrolled land use in Prespa, which is one of the biggest threats to the area’s biodiversity and landscape.
Since 1997, Municipalities in Greece with a population of less than 2,000 people have been obliged to draw up studies known as Open City Spatial and Residential Organisation Plans. Aiming for an integrated and balanced geographical distribution of human activities and thus the creation of sustainable development conditions, the studies were to be drawn up based on specific specifications and in fact constituted local spatial plans.
In 2006, with its own financing the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) undertook, on behalf of the Municipality of Prespa, to prepare the Prespa spatial plan study. The preparation of the plan included several stages until its completion and adoption by the competent authorities: mapping the existing situation in all sectors, mapping the legislation and plans that determine the progress of all existing activities, trends and perspectives that exist in the area, and proposals and urban planning directions for the organisation of institutionalised and urbanised residential areas.
The study, and especially the last part of the zoning planners’ proposals for the zoning organisation of the Municipality of Prespa, went through many years of local consultation between 2008 and 2014. At that time, the boundaries of the municipality had changed as well as the relevant legislation and this had the result that the final phase, where the proposals as formulated in the consultation stage take the form of a legal text for approval, has not yet been implemented.