The Wetlands Management Committee in northern Greece received the first European Natura 2000 Award on Friday, presented for exemplary collaboration in managing protected natural habitats.
The Committee, which received the award on behalf of all local agencies in northern Greece’s Prespa Lake district, is the advisory body of the state agency managing the Prespa National Park (32,700 hectares). In 2009, Greece set up the Prespa National Park to include the Small Prespa Lake (5,078 hectares) and Natura 2000 sites.
The award was given by the European Commission to six organisations in the Natura Award category of “Reconciling interests/perceptions”.
This is the first year the Natura 2000 awards are being presented and include other categories like Conservation, Socio-Economic Benefits, Communication and Networking, and Cross-Border Cooperation.
The Natura 2000 network’s aim is to preserve and enhance Europe’s biodiversity and covers a great variety of sites across the European continent.
Greece came to an agreement with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 2000 to collaborate on the protection of the whole wetlands area of Prespes, which is a vital habitat of Europe.
A trilateral committee was set up to coordinate the effort with the support of international agencies, European countries and banks.