Preparation of a Draft Spatial Plan for the East Planning Region
The Spatial Plan of the East Planning Region is the second most important strategic document after the Spatial Plan of the Republic of Macedonia. Nature conservation will be one of the main pillars of this Plan, which will lay the foundations for proper land use, landscaping and land management in the region in future. With the development of this document, the Programme will support and promote the sustainable development concept in the East Planning Region.
Development of a Draft National Strategy for Nature Protection
With the goal of enhancing the implementation process of the national legislation for nature protection and further harmonization of the national with the EU legislation, the National Strategy for Nature Protection – Draft Version was developed through the Nature Conservation Programme in Macedonia. In addition to the strategy, the Programme will support the implementation of activities from the Strategy for strengthening national capacities and creating conditions for application of ecosystem services.
Strengthening the capacities of CDEPR and the municipalities in the Bregalnica region for sustainable management of natural resources
For the successful implementation of the NCP, as well as for sustainability of the achieved results, an important component is the support to activities for strengthening the capacities of Centre for Development of the East Planning Region (CDEPR) and the municipalities in the region, when it comes to protection of nature and sustainable management of natural resources. So far the NCP has supported innovative and tailor-made tools and formats for studying, as well as transfer of knowledge and experience.
This approach will continue to be applied so that in the future CDERP and the municipalities can be leaders in nature conservation in the region by the independent implementation of projects and activities.
Establishing Protected Areas and Natural Rarities in the Bregalnica Region
Protected areas are established for the protection of biodiversity within natural habitats, the processes that occur in nature as well as the abiotic characteristics and landscape versatility, at the same time ensuring socio-economic benefits for the local population. In order to start the process of establishing protected areas in the Bregalnica region, as part of the Programme, an Ecological GAP analysis and ecological sensitivity map for the region of interest were made, when the potential areas for protection were identified.
With the Programme’s support, through a wider consultative and participative process, three scenarios will be developed for protected areas in the Bregalnica region and the most adequate one will be selected. It will also support the preparation of the necessary documents for declaration of protected areas as well as for establishing an adequate management structure. Support will be also provided for the activities for revitalization of riparian vegetation, as an important habitat in the Bregalnica region and for developing standard data forms for potential Natura 2000 areas.
Developing Ecotourism in the East Planning Region
As part of the Nature Conservation Programme in Macedonia, with the active engagement of many interested parties, a study was developed about the potentials for developing tourism in the EPR as well as Strategy for Tourism Development in the EPR with an action plan (2016-2025), which is the fundamental strategic document of the CDEPR for tourism development. Also, four priority activities defined in the Strategy were implemented with support of the Programme.
The Programme will continue to support activities for development of ecotourism by forming a Coordinative body, strengthening the local capacities, encouraging start-ups, as well as nominating Lesnovo as UNESCO geo-park and establishing the eco-ethno park Cesinovo-Oblesevo.
Raising Public Awareness about the Importance of Natural Values
The Nature Conservation Programme in Macedonia pays a lot of attention to raising public awareness about the importance of natural resources and the possibility for their sustainable use. In the first phase of the NCP several tools were developed for different target groups, such as the Facebook page „Со грижа до бериќет“, an Instagram profile, a You tube channel, an electronic newspaper, as well as special events, campaigns and short videos.
In the second phase of the NCP the communication with the public will continue via innovative tools that would make it possible to relay the importance of nature to the population in the Bregalnica region and beyond.
Support of Small Projects
By supporting small projects for nature conservation, sustainable management and use of natural resources in the Bregalnica region, and the implementation of practices for use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, the NCP contributes to improving the living conditions of the local population in the region. The NCP has supported a total of 35 projects in the Bregalnica region so far, 14 of which were implemented by the municipalities, and 21 by NGOs. Next, the NCP will upscale or replicate the best small projects implemented in the first phase, and will also support the implementation of new projects which include cooperation between municipalities and NGOs.
More information about the small projects carried out as part of the Programme can be found at the following link: http://www.bregalnica-ncp.mk/mali-proekti/
Integrated Forest Management
Integrated forest management means concrete measures addressing issues on adaptation to climate change and measures for their mitigation as well as for protection of biodiversity.
In the first phase of the NCP, cooperation was established between the Faculty of Forestry, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje and the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-HAFL), Switzerland, with the purpose of exchanging experience and knowledge between the two institutions about new approaches in forest management and protection of biodiversity through: improving the curriculum at the Skopje Faculty of Forestry; supporting undergraduate and postgraduate thesis of Macedonian and Swiss students and their work in pairs, as well as organizing block-lectures in the Bregalnica region.
The support for cooperation between the two institutions will continue in the Programme’s second phase, with exchange of experience and capacity strengthening based on the improved curriculum at the Skopje Faculty of Forestry. The strengthening of the dialogue between different stakeholders will continue in the second phase through the development and testing of a Regional Forest Management Plan in the upper part of Bregalnica River, including the principles of sustainable forest management.
Educational Centre for Nature Conservation
The Educational Centre for Nature Conservation in the village of Negrevo, established as part of the NCP, has the goal to ensure that pupils, students and other visitors learn about the natural values of Bregalnica region in a creative manner, as well as to support the education process for nature conservation on all education levels in the region and beyond.
The NCP will continue supporting the Educational Centre in relation to its promotion, staff training and advice on strategic planning.
Promotion and Marketing of Sustainable Agricultural Practices
One of the objectives of the NCP is improvement of local population’s socio-economic status, and at the same time reduce detrimental impact on the environment through promotion and application of sustainable agricultural practices. So far the NCP has supported pilot-activities for sustainable production of rice and honey, while 19 persons received adequate training and support.
The NCP will continue to promote these initiatives with the active engagement of more interested parties, and in addition there will be marketing strategies as a first step towards providing a market for sustainably-produced produce.