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Transboundary Lake Basin Management in South Eastern Europe

The three large lakes in South Eastern Europe — Ohrid, Prespa and Shkodra/Skadar — are part of the greater Drin River Basin, which is shared by Albania, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. The lakes are home to an abundance of rare flora and fauna, making them an important part of Europe's natural heritage.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is financing the project Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at Lakes Prespa, Ohrid and Shkodra/Skadar, the objective of which is to manage the lakes’ natural resources on a transboundary basis and in compliance with EU environmental and biodiversity protection targets.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) has provided support to ministries, authorities, organisations, research institutes and resource users in setting up working groups on the Water Framework Directive (WFD), nature conservation and fisheries. These working groups provide a forum for regional and transboundary cooperation in relation to all three lakes, and function as platforms for knowledge sharing and learning. Members of the working groups oversee the implementation of inspection and monitoring programmes in compliance with the WFD and EU nature conservation legislation. They also propose measures for using natural resources sustainably, protecting biodiversity and improving the ecological status of the lakes. In the long term, the working groups will be incorporated into the structure of the Drin Core Group.

The implementation of the WFD and EU nature conservation legislation affecting the lakes is systematic, process oriented, transparent and verifiable. The expertise acquired with respect to processes and methodology can therefore also be applied to other territories within the cooperating countries — for example protected areas or river basin units.

The partner countries are using the results in the compilation of their mandatory reports to the European Commission on implementing the EU environmental acquis. Direct support is therefore provided for the EU convergence process.

The initial characterisation of lakes Prespa, Ohrid and Shkodra/Skadar is now available for download.