Lake Prespa Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis
The Prespa Lakes Basin is a high altitude system (approximately 850 m) with a combined catchment of over 2,500 km2 covering part of the territory of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece. The basin is home to nearly 30,000 people with the majority residing in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The region has little industry (again centred in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and the main source of income is agriculture which is estimated to employ about 75% of the workforce, however unemployment is high ranging from about 12% in Greece to over 30% in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The ecosystem and the biodiversity of the region are worth special mention. The geography, soil type and climate coupled with the relatively low human population and impact in the basin has resulted in a wide species diversity with a high proportion of endemic species that are not found elsewhere. The region is an important location for over 90 migratory birds, including the high-profile Dalmatian Pelican. To-date about 20 species are listed on the IUCN threat status list. Whilst the population and industrial impacts are relatively low, there is a good opportunity to develop an agreed trilateral approach to reduce the existing pressures and impacts and to prevent future economic development in the basin to have an adverse effect on the ecosystem. As an initial step to developing an agreed Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the Lake Prespa Basin, this report presents the information of a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which reviews and analyses data and expert judgement of the state and pressures on the environment of the basin. To date there has been little routine monitoring of water quality in the Prespa Basin apart from Greek side where data from the 1990s indicates little evidence of pollution. The importance of the trilateral monitoring programme under development by the Prespa Park Co-ordination Committee (with UNDP-GEF support) can not be over stated and will be essential to validate the expert judgement summarised in this TDA with water quality monitoring data. The TDA recommends seven priority concerns of transboundary importance that are recommended for further action through implementation of an agreed Strategic Action Programme (Nutrient pollution; Declining fish stocks; Loss of water level in Lake Macro Prespa; Sediment transport; Deforestation and changes in native forests; Organic pollution; and, Hazardous substance pollution). These problems and potential problems are, in general, not unique to the Prespa Basin and there are many examples in other regions where there is clear evidence of such pollution problems. The SAP offers an opportunity to introduce measures in this relatively unpolluted region to prevent these problems materialising in the future that enables the ecosystem status to improve together with the livelihoods of the local population.
06 Apr 2020