Kick – off event of the project ''Integrated Forest Management Along The Drim River Basin''

23 Jun, 2023


On June 23, in Debarska Banja Capa, Kosovrasti (North Macedonia), the beginning of the project "Integrated forest management along the Drim river basin" was officially marked. It is a regional project that will be implemented by the CNVP Skopje, together with the CNVP Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo, in partnership with ICEP - Association for Global Development, financed by the *Austrian Development Agency (ADA), with funds from the Austrian development cooperation. The project implementation period is from December 2022 to December 2025. The activities in North Macedonia will mostly be realized along the Dream River around Struga and Debar.


The aim of the project is to encourage integrated forest management along the Dream River that contributes to climate change mitigation and sustainable development. It will also contribute to environmental and social-economic benefits for the local communities in Struga and Debar through increased knowledge and implementation of Integrated Forest Management (IFM).

On the Kick – off event, in front of the local communities, non-governmental organizations, and experts from the forestry sector, Mr. Nehat Ramadani CNVP North Macedonia Country Director, gave a welcoming speech emphasizing the characteristics, goals, and expected results of the project, and then Mrs. Vjollca Berisha, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, management, and Mrs. Hristina Odzaklieska, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning addressed the audience.

In the welcoming speech Mr. Ramadani shared some of the expected results of the project, which are afforestation and restoration of 6 hectares of land with the planting of 7,500 trees, support for the development of 10 business plans, the awarding of grants totaling financial support of 50,000, training for local forest workers, supporting education through training for students and teaching staff, preparation of case studies, etc.

"The project that brought us all together today aims to contribute to dealing with climate change and promote sustainable forest management, as well as regional economic development in the cross-border catchment area of the Dream River. We all know that the flow of the Dream River has serious challenges, not so much from nature as from the human factor, which leads to degradation. These pressures lead to: deforestation along the river, pollution of surface and underground water, accelerated soil erosion; loss of valuable ecosystems and biodiversity; more frequent and more severe floods. The approach to integrated forest management that will be used with this project represents an attempt to balance the ecological, economic and social goals in forest management," said Nehat Ramadani, CNVP North Macedonia Country Director.


At the event, Mrs. Vjollca Berisha, deputy minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, who emphasized the following: "In the last few decades, the concept of "Sustainable Forest Management" has been developing more and more in the world." It is considered that sustainable forest management can contribute to economic development by providing income and employment on the one hand, as well as social and environmental benefits on the other. With sustainable forest management, special care is taken for the preservation of biological diversity and the preservation of forests in their natural form. Finding ways to balance human needs for forest use and concerns for the long-term sustainability of forest resources is the essence of sustainable forest management.

We, as a Ministry, provide support for the implementation of this project and we are particularly pleased that reforestation will take place in erosive areas along the Dream River and we will work on developing business ideas that will contribute to ecological income for local communities, that is, our fellow citizens."

Hristina Odžaklievska, Deputy Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning in her address emphasized "Let's remember the global pandemic, the floods that are the result of wild logging in erosive areas, the fires that last year destroyed large forest areas, which were the habitat of many rare and endemic species. Therefore, it is necessary to work together through the implementation of policies at the national level, which contribute to the preservation and restoration of natural values in our country.

The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning provides support for the implementation of the project "Integrated management of forests along the Drim river basin" and at the very beginning of the project I want to emphasize that the implementation of these projects brings us closer to the European Union. I wish you a successful start and expect continued cooperation and of course visible results."

"I want to welcome the start of the project, because I believe that the project will contribute to the socio-economic development of the community through some of the activities, as well as reduce the risk of eroding areas by reforested in Kosovrasti. The municipality of Debar is always open for cooperation and we will fully support the implementation of the project, and I can freely say that we see CNVP as future strategic partners," said the mayor of the municipality of Debar, Mr. Hekuran Duka.

Marjan Partaloski, an official representative from JP National Forests, emphasized that he welcomes the project and wishes for success and visible results.

A Memorandum of cooperation with the municipality of Debar was also signed at the Kick – off event.