Environment ministry tables bill ratifying protection of transboundary Prespa Park

Seven years after the signing of the international Agreement on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park in northern Greece and 17 years after its establishment, Deputy Minister for the Environment and Energy Sokratis Famellos tabled a bill in parliament, ratifying the deal.

The Prespa Park (PP), the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans, was established on 2 February 2000, World Wetlands Day, with a joint declaration by the Prime Ministers of Greece, Albania and FYROM, following a proposal from the Society for the Protection of Prespa and the WWF.

The news was welcomed by the municipality of Prespa and various environmental organizations and local protection groups such as the Managing Body of Prespa National Park, the Company for the Protection of Prespa, WWF Hellas, the Greek Ornithological Society, the Nature Protection Society, the Environment and Cultural Heritage Company, and the Goulandris Museum of Natural History.

The organizations urged lawmakers from all parties to approve the bill, as it was approved unanimously in the parliaments of other neighbouring European countries.

“The Prespa Park is the first cross-border nature reserve in the Balkans. For all of us, the future of the Prespa region – in the heart of the politically unstable Balkan region – means the cooperation and bridging of the gaps for a peaceful coexistence, maintaining the precious natural environment and sustainable development. In this direction, the implementation of the agreement will be catalytic,” the organizations said in a joint statement.