Shar Mountain finally declared a National Park!

EuroNatur and its partner organisations MES and Friends of Shara greet the passing of the Law on the Proclamation of Shar Mountain as National Park. We and our partners have fought for this success for more than a quarter of a century.

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                Forests, graslands and mountains</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

In Shar Mountain it's still possible to encounter the magic of a remote mountain world.

© Sandra Wigger/EuroNatur
<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                A shepherd in North Macedonia</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Traditional grazing livestock still plays a major role in the Shar region.

© Jovan Bozinoski

In yesterday's parliamentary session, the parliament in Skopje decided to place the North Macedonian part of the Shar Mountains under protection. It was a rather long and painstaking process concluded through the faith and hard work of all the institutions, donors, NGOs, and the locals, who gave their support over the years.

The proclamation of Shar Mountain as the country’s fourth national park is the missing piece in the regional jigsaw, which results in a transboundary protected area with total land area of 244,617 hectares. There is a national park in Kosovo since 1986, and in Albania, there is the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park, established in 2011.

Slavcho Hristovski, the President of MES (Macedonian Ecological Society), states: „I would like to congratulate to the citizens of the Shara region and to the citizens’ associations, wishing that all of us jointly protect and promote Shar Mountain’s nature, take good care of the cultural and traditional values, which will provide manifold benefits through regional development and improved livelihood of the locals. I wish that very soon we witness how the Shar Mountain National Park brings progress and facilitates transboundary cooperation, and I am also confident that this proclamation further demonstrates the civilizational values of our society, even though we tend to doubt them.“

„Shar Mountain is one of EuroNatur's project areas where we have been active the longest. Together with our partners, we have succeeded in convincing the population of the idea of a national park and making sustainable development tangible, as well as in convincing the government of North Macedonia of the advantages of a national park," said Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive director of EuroNatur.

It is expected that the national park, housing more than 26,000 citizens, will provide many benefits, not only in terms of nature protection, but also in terms of socio-economic and demographic aspects. Protection will not only hinge on its administration, but also on changing awareness in all who have been using the mountain’s natural resources, starting from the business sector, public enterprises, but also including the locals.

As important next steps a management body and a management plan need to be established and developed. EuroNatur, MES and Friends of Shara will continue to follow this process, to secure a suitable and effective protection of the natural values of Shar Mountains. In addition, in the frame of our current project, funded by the German Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, we will support local actors to implement model projects for sustainable development.

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