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Macedonia on the move #withnature

A host of celebrations have taken place in the FYR of Macedonia in the run-up to and during World Environment Day.

On 5 June, 30 children were provided with bikes for a guided tour at the foothill of Shar Mountain with the aim of highlighting the positive effects of cycling on the environment. The children also produced a group painting based on the Day’s theme.

Pupils from the ‘Bratstvo’ school in Tetovo were meanwhile proud to present the fruits of their labour of the past days, having created an organic garden and compost in the school yard.

The day was rounded off by screenings of documentaries on the Balkan Lynx and the value of biodiversity in the country.

Meanwhile, the theme to the 2017 edition of the International Day of Biological Diversity – held on 22 May - was ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’ and was suitably marked with an organised hike, discussion and tasting of local food from the Sharr Mountains.

The hike, organised by Tetovo Alpine Club, took participants past 30 water springs as well as abundant forest and valleys on the way to the Leshinca waterfalls.

The discussion was held at the Lisec tourism complex in the Sharr Mountains and was attended by 60 people, including the country’s Environment Minister Bashkim Ameti, NGOs, academia and food producers.

Ms. Gebert from UN Environment, Project Office in Skopje explained how the services provided by biological diversity - such as clean air, water and food - are worth celebrating and presented the activities that UN Environment is currently carrying out in FYR of Macedonia.

UN Environment supports a project which would see the Macedonian part of the Sharr Mountains become the largest national park of its kind in the region and hold international importance. The mountain range is home to the Alpine Rose, bears, wild boar and critically-endangered Balkan lynx, among other species.

Some 45% of all plant species in the FYR of Macedonia are furthermore found in the Shar Massive, noted Gjorgje Ivanov of the Macedonian Ecological Society NGO. By establishing a protected area, highly important forest and plant species can be preserved, he underlined.

Preservation of nature in the Sharr Mountains can also help develop the region’s tourism potential, said a representative from the Ljuboten Mountaineering Club, with skiing, hiking and cycling among sports that could take off.

Participants at the celebration event had the chance to taste honey, different types of cheese, local ‘flia’ pie and similar products from the Sharr Mountains.

The celebrations were supported by the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea within the framework of the UN Environment Project titled ‘Achieving biodiversity conservation through the creation and effective management of Protected Areas and mainstreaming biodiversity into land use planning’.

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