Friday, March 4, 2016

Lake Ohrid Project’s meetings

THE FIRST Management Planning Workshop to protect the transboundary Lake Ohrid region took place on 25 and 26 March 2015 in Korca, a city in southeast Albania and seat of Korca country, which also includes the city of Pogradec, situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid.

The workshop brought together national and local authorities of two sides of the lake and representatives of UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention (ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN), who discussed the heritage management systems currently in use in the region, and identified key stakeholders to support the development of a transboundary heritage management plan.

At the meeting stakeholders presentated of the state of the cultural and natural heritage in the Lake Ohrid region, with particular focus on the existing management structures and planning processes and two participatory working sessions. Two main participatory working sessions focused on undertaking a thorough stakeholder analysis, the first session with a thematic approach based on the key themes of the project (waste, sustainable tourism, urban development and spatial planning, civil society and communities), while the second involved group work focused on nature and culture. The mixed composition and size of the groups enabled dialogue across the various sectors and an integrated review of stakeholders present in the Lake Ohrid region.

THE SECOND Management Planning Workshop held on 3 and 4 June in Tirana, Albania, brought together stakeholders from the two sides of the lake to discuss a long-term vision and management objectives for a potential transboundary protection zone for Lake Ohrid. A total of 23 participants attended the workshop, developing jointly four vision statements through working groups led by facilitators from various institutions. The four statements led to a single statement, which will be fine-tuned over the course of the management planning process for the World Heritage extension project. The workshop also focused on mapping, improving knowledge of the area and understanding the different factors affecting the area, in particular ongoing and future projects and initiatives that may have an impact on the Lake Ohrid region and the potential transboundary World Heritage property..

THE THIRD Management Planning Workshop and Thematic Training for the Lake Ohrid Region was hosted in Pogradec, Albania from 7-10 December 2015. The workshop aimed to advance the work done on an integrated management system for the protection and sustainable development of the Lake Ohrid region.

The emphasis of both the Management Planning Workshop and the Thematic Training was on the long-term vision, discussing boundaries and buffer zones, and identifying management objectives for the Lake Ohrid region in Albania ain the ligt of the potential extension of the World Heritage property "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region" to Albania

Representatives from both countries participated in the workshop, including national authorities from the respective ministries of environment and culture, local authorities from the municipalities of the Lake Ohrid region, Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee (ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN) as well as a representative from UNESCO.

Transboundary Platform Meetings
The Inception Workshop held in Albania on September 2014 kick-started a three year initiative for protection of the Lake Ohrid region, serving also as first transboundary platform to define the roles and responsibilities. Second Transboundary Platform Meeting took place on 2 October 2015 in Ohrid following along the same footsteps. These events are part of a total of six meetings that aim to support the Albanian and Macedonian governments in their efforts to protect the Lake Ohrid area, and intends to create transboundary management structures for effective heritage management. About 20 representatives attended the Transboundary Platform Meeting, including officials from the two countries environment and culture ministries, and from the regions municipalities. UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee (ICOMOS and IUCN) attended the meeting. The Transboundary Platform meeting intends to improve and facilitate bi-lateral cooperation among representatives from both Albanian and Macedonian local and central administrations, the tourism sector, and those in charge of urban and rural development, culture, nature protection, resource management and the environment. The meeting seek to address the main factors affecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region, notably unplanned urban development, waste management, habitat alteration and the destruction and depletion of natural resources.

MILESTONE - The draft Baseline Assessment report prepared under the coordination of ICOMOS and IUCN ECARO has been published. The report provides crucial background information on the Lake Ohrid region in Albania covering a number of themes such as biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, tangible and intangible heritage and tourism.

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