Exploring how to restore freshwater ecosystems while strengthening local communities’ livelihoods
With support from the Swiss agency for Development and Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme has helped since 2004 to reverse pollution in one of the oldest freshwater ecosystems on Earth, the Lake Prespa – a Balkan biodiversity hotspot.
As a result of this project implemented by UNDP in Skopje, water quality has improved and indigenous fish species have recovered thanks to a 30 percent reduction in pesticide use and new sewage-treatment facilities in this part of the lake. A state-of-the-art composting plant also generates healthy profits from tons of organic waste that would earlier have been dumped into the lake. The 80 percent of residents who depend on apple farming are also now benefiting from new agricultural methods that have reduced costs and increased yields.
On March 22 2017, on the occasion of the World Water Day, UNDP, in partnership with the Geneva Environment Network and the Swiss Development Cooperation, organized a screening of the documentary “Lake of Apples” that features the freshwater ecosystem revival and a panel discussion to discuss the lessons learned from this experience and their replication to other ecosystems. The event took place at the International Environment House II.
09:45 – 10:00 Welcome coffee
10:00 – 10:15 Welcome remarks by UNDP Geneva Director, Maria Luisa Silva, and Georgette Bruchez, Head of the Western Balkans Division, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
10:15 – 10:25 Introduction by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Skopje, Louisa Vinton
10:25 – 10:30 Welcome statement by the Chargé d’Affaires of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Permanent Mission in Geneva, Ljupco Gjorgjinski
10:30 – 11:00 Screening of the documentary “Lake of Apples”
11:00 – 11:30 Panel discussion, moderated by Christian Bréthaut from Geneva Water Hub
– Georgette Bruchez, Head of the Western Balkans Division, SDC
– Tobias Salathé, Senior Adviser (Europe), Ramsar Convention Secretariat
– Dimitrija Sekovski, UNDP Prespa Programme Manager
11:30 – 11:55 Q&A, with the audience
11:55 – 12:00 Concluding remarks by Jan Dusik, UN Environment Europe Office Director
More information and documents
- UNDP MK