Conservation value and special characteristics
Lake Pamvotis in Northwest Greece belongs to the European Network of Protected Areas, NATURA 2000. At 7 million years old, it is one of the oldest lakes in the world, and home to hundreds of species of plants, fish, amphibians and birds. Its name “Pamvotis” means the one who feeds everything. The city of Ioannina, the surrounding villages, and the inhabited islet in the northeast part of the lake are closely linked to the lake’s ecosystem, and Lake Pamvotis is a key element of Ionnina’s landscape and the city’s history.
Several risks may threaten the lake’s ecological balance, including urbanisation and pollution, eutrophication, the destruction of lakeside habitats and lake shrinkage. The Lake Pamvotis management authority also faces conflicts with local communities and operational problems, including lack of financial resources and personnel.
Lake Pamvotis has unique characteristics, convenient location and infrastructure, and a close connection to the human landscape of the region that creates opportunities for tourism and cooperation with the private sector. Together with INC experts, the Lake Pamvotis Management Body (LPMB) identified several possible sources of funding. These include selling tickets to the information centre, partnerships with the private sector, boat tours on the lake, and development of an interpretation park.
INC works with OikoM business experts and a local consultant to help LPMB to understand their options and develop an overall business strategy. INC has provided technical support to LPMB in developing and testing the most promising options, using sound business strategies while promoting and measuring conservation impact.
Business, finance and legal specialists worked with LPMB to assess the legal framework related to the management system of protected areas in Greece and its implication for Management Bodies. They studied opportunities to submit proposal for co-funded EU projects.
OikoM participated to the preparation of proposals which would help to promote private funded activities. All programs were managed and supervised by the staff of the Management Body. Specifically:
- Regional Operational Program of Ipiros 2014-2020: A related technical proposal was completed for the Information Center and was submitted and approved.
- Operation Program of the Environment: It is the most important direct financing program of the Management Body. It concerns the period 2019-2022 and has a budget of approximately 900.000 €.
One key issue for the first phase was to establish an entrance ticket for visitors to the Lake Pamvotis Information Centre. OikoM prepared a study on VAT and Tax management, and developed a system and pricing structure for tickets used as a form of sponsorship. The revenue resulting from the entrance fee will contribute to the operational cost of the centre.
Tourist operations were evaluated, environmental permits recorded, and two hotels identified as potentially contributing to the management of the protected area. A concept note was prepared for financing management of the protected area through mitigation measures.
LPMB worked with INC, OikoM and an investor to develop a methodology to promote business co-operation for boat tours on the lake. The investor is elaborating a business plan for the initial investment which will include provisions for financing conservation in the area of the lake.
The second phase of the project will focus around two main axes:
- Actions tailored to the specific characteristics and business opportunities of the protected area of Pamvotis.
- Horizontal actions for the System of Protected Areas in Greece to support public and private management funding. These actions can significant support the actions per PA.
For Phase B, it is proposed to include, as observers, the following two protected areas in the project:
1. Evros Delta (Management Body of the Protected Areas of Evros Delta and Samothraki)
2. Lefka Ori and Gorge of Samaria (Management Body of Samaria National Park and Western Crete)
The two new areas are proposed because they are characterized by different and distinctive funding features in relation to the protected area of Pamvotis. These features are important and conducive to meeting the objectives of the INC project.