Monday, September 26, 2016

Green Belt Day at Prespa and Ohrid Lake Region

Representatives of the Association for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) together with local stakeholders and the three Prespa mayors celebrated the Green Belt Day at the shore of Great Prespa Lake, Oteshevo, Macedonia, on 24 September 2016.

A lot of activities were held this day. This event is organized every year in one of 3 countries: Greece, Macedonia and Albania.

In the triangle between Albania, Greece and Macedonia in the far South of the Balkan Green Belt there is one of the most intriguing and varied landscapes of Europe. Lake Ohrid and Great and Little Prespa Lake are framed in impressive mountain ranges and are among the most ancient lakes in the world. Near and in the lakes there are a notable number of endemic species – that is to say species found nowhere else.

In the two Prespa lakes alone there are seven endemic fish species. And Dalmatian Pelicans - threatened worldwide with extinction - are here in great numbers benefiting from the extraordinary wealth of fish in the lakes. More than 1000 pairs of these majestic birds breed on the Little Prespa Lake - this is the largest colony world-wide. Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid are among the longest-standing EuroNatur project areas.
Thanks to the persistent efforts of EuroNatur and its Albanian partner organisation PPNEA the Prespa Lakes in Albania are now secured with their entire catchment area as a National Park and as an important element in the mosaic of the Balkan Green Belt.
The Prespa National Park itself additionally forms part of the trans-boundary Prespa Park which links Albanian, Macedonian and Greek nature reserves along the one-time Iron Curtain.


Source: http://www.ppnea.org/

Monday, September 19, 2016

Innovative Tourism Product Development Competition -Korca and Lake Ohrid Region



The Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship (METTE), Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) and the Albanian Tourism Industry, with the support of RisiAlbania Project are launching the third edition of the “Risi Turistike Award”, this time in the Korça region in order to foster the development on new touristic products. Korca is the Municipality which include the city of Pogradec, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid, the oldest and deepest lake in Europe.
The innovative tourism products will help to create new products and itineraries and or add value to the existing ones, by providing a richer and authentic experience for the tourists in both regions.
Risi Albania is a SDC project aiming to facilitate youth employment.
“Risi Turistike” is inviting all interested companies/ organizations to submit a proposal and business plan to develop and implement a new touristic product in the region of Korça. Deadline for submission of the proposals is November 10th 2016.
The results of the competition will be announced during the public event on December 9th 2016.

The aim of the Tourism Product Development competition:
- Attract more tourists in the Korça region, through diversification of the tourism product
- Extend the time of stay in the Korça region
- Increase the income from tourism in Korça region
- Increase employment opportunities for youth in Korça region.
Find more: http://risialbania.al/index/en/innovative-tourism-product-development-competition-award/




Monday, September 12, 2016

EU Climate Diplomacy Week, 12-18 September

This week is declared as EU Climate Diplomacy Week. It takes place on 12-18 September, as a campaign to remind each country who signed this agreement to turn promises into action.

Paris climate conference was held in December 2015, where 195 countries agreed to the world's first universal action plan to tackle climate change by limiting global warming to ‘well below 2°C’. This historic achievement was just the beginning – now every country must implement their action plan on climate.

The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development. Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

The Republic of Albania and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted their new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of 2015 Paris Agreement. Implementing climate action plan, imply to both governments and stakeholders concrete measures to protect environment. This is crucial also for Lake Ohrid region, reach of flora and fauna. It has been estimated that it is the lake with the highest biodiversity in the world, taking into account the number of endemic species per surface area. The catchment area also supports equally rich and important biodiversity with exceptionally high number of endemic species.

The project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region”, (co financed by EU and Albanian Ministry of Environment and implemented by UNESCO), aims to profile this transboundary area by assessing its values and opportunities for sustainable development, and to improve capacities for the effective management of natural and cultural heritage. The European Union is contributing 1.7 million EUR to the project in the framework of its assistance to pre-accession countries in the field of Environment and Climate Change.




Monday, September 5, 2016

Ohrid- the history on the lake

The history and values of Lake Ohrid are featured in Australian leading national news media "The Australian"
The article "Ohrid, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: history on the lake" is written by ANGELA SAURINE. She writes some reasons why people of Australia should visit and learn about this region:

ICONIC IMAGE: If there is one sight that symbolises Ohrid, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s southwest, it is Church of St John (or Jovan) overlooking the lake. Built on a cliff above the fishermen’s settlement of Kaneo, a short water-taxi ride from the port, the Orthodox Church is dedicated to John of Patmos, who is also believed to be John the Apostle. While the exact date it was built is unknown, archaeologists believe it was in the 13th century, before the rise of the Ottoman Empire, with a mix of Byzantine and Armenian architectural styles. While there, grab a bite at one of the restaurants built into the rocks at Kaneo, which have inviting decks over the water.

ANCIENT GLORIES: Ohrid is one of 28 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites recognised for both their natural and cultural attributes. With its narrow cobblestone streets and traditional two-storey houses with rectangular windows and timber beams, the medieval old town is a wonderful place to wander. Built in 200BC, the city’s well-preserved ancient theatre was once used for gladiator fights. Since being revived in the 1980s, it has been used as a venue for concerts and the performance of ancient plays and comedies during the annual Ohrid Summer Festival in July and August. A Game of Thrones-esque fortress also sits at the top of the hill overlooking the city. In the early 11th century, Ohrid was the capital of a Slavic empire ruled by Car Samuil, and his fortress was one of the most impregnable strongholds in the Balkans, with 16m-high walls that stretched for 3km. Archaeological excavations indicate the fortress was constructed on the site of an earlier fortification that was likely built by Alexander the Great’s father, Phillip II of Macedon, in the 4th century BC. The city is also home to one of the first Slavic universities, the Ohrid Literary School, which dates to the 10th century.

SAIL AWAY: At 350sq km, Lake Ohrid is so big it feels more like an ocean. It is one of the oldest lakes in the world, formed by tectonic shifts in the Earth’s crust three to four million years ago and, at 300m, also one of the deepest. Hopping on a boat and exploring the lake and its many attractions is a must. Mato Co International offers tours ranging from half an hour to a full day that visit cave churches, fishing villages and monasteries. A highlight is the Museum on Water at the Bay of Bones, a recreation of a settlement that existed from 1600-800BC with houses built on a wooden platform on stilts.

GRAPE ESCAPE: On a similar latitude to California’s Napa Valley and Tuscany in Italy, this area is emerging as a wine destination. Evidence of oak wine barrels from 500BC have been found near the capital city of Skopje, 170km from Ohrid, and the country has more than 100 wineries. The most famous grape variety is vranec, which means “a strong, black and powerful horse”, and accounts for nearly half of the vineyards planted with red grapes. But cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, shiraz, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, muscat and riesling are also grown. Tikvesh Winery, Stobi Winery and Popova Kula Winery are all worth a visit on a day trip.


Original Article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/travel/ohrid-former-yugoslav-republic-of-macedonia-history-on-the-lake/news-story/1fb1e30c6488b1b83ac9de01e9fe21f2