November 6, 2020
The establishment of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Albania and Kosovo for the protection of nature in the Shar and Korab-Koritnik region is making progress, inspired by an example from North Macedonia.
The coronavirus cannot stop the engagement of people in nature protection in the Shar and Korab-Koritnik region in North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania. Prepared earlier within the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ) previous programme Transboundary Ecosystem Management (TEM), the establishment of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Albania and Kosovo is making progress.
Local participants signed a memorandum of cooperation digitally, due to the current restrictions. The mission of LAGs is to ensure sound and long-term conservation and support sustainable regional development in the Shar and Korab-Koritnik region together with the local population as active drivers.
The document on the Korab-Koritnik LAG in Albania was signed by the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), Agro-Eko Dibra, Ecologists of the Region, Environment Protection and Tourism Development, and Young Environmental Experts. One of the LAG’s main objectives is to support awareness raising and understanding of the local population, as well as that of other stakeholders on the values of the protected area and the needs for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources.
The group of nongovernmental organizations and associations will enhance and develop the capacities of the parties and the local community living in the Korab-Koritnik territory to sustainably protect and manage the area’s environment, biodiversity and natural resources. It also aims to provide assistance in building common understanding for the Local Development Strategy (LDA) that will be established by the LAG and its implementation, alongside active assistance in promoting and strengthening cross-border cooperation with the neighboring LAGs in Northern Macedonia and Kosovo.
The move was inspired by the example from North Macedonia, where the Friends of Sharra LAG (established in 2015) recently had great success with the Pro-National Park campaign: the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning opened the proclamation process to designate the Shar Mountains as a national park. This means that the efforts of Friends of Sharra and their partners to protect the rich mountain landscape are finally paying off.
The current actions of the three LAGs are done in the frame of Transboundary Ecosystem Management 2, a subprogram of the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South East Europe – Implementation of Biodiversity Agreements (ORF BDU). They are jointly implemented by EuroNatur, the Macedonian Ecological Society, Center for Education and Development, Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) and FINCH in Kosovo.