EuroNatur project areas in North Macedonia are to be given protected status

Good news: the Shar Mountains in North Macedonia could soon become a national park, a successful conclusion to the long campaign waged by EuroNatur and its partners. The Osogovo Mountains are also to be declared a protected area.

Raw charm: the Shar Mountains are one of the most unspoilt mountain landscapes in Europe.

© Ljubomir Stefanov

The Shar Mountains, located in the area where North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo meet, possess a grandeur found almost nowhere else in Europe. EuroNatur has long campaigned with its North Macedonian partner organisation MES to preserve this pearl of the European Green Belt. While successive governments in Skopje persisted in their delaying tactics, we concentrated on promoting conservation initiatives originating in the local communities. The campaign group, Friends of the Shar Mountains, launched a pro-national park initiative.

The activities of the local population in the Shar Mountains have motivated the authorities in Skopje to rethink. On 5th May 2020, the Ministry for the Environment and Regional Planning adopted the initiative to designate the Shar Mountains as a national park. Although there are still a few hurdles to be overcome and it will take some time until the setting up of a national park authority and the drawing up of a management plan, but the signal from Skopje is positive. With our partners we will be monitoring the situation very closely.

Further to this, the Ministry has also announced that the Osogovo Mountains on the Bulgarian-North Macedonian border should be declared as a landscape protection area.

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