GeM Balkans – Generating momentum on water and forests in the Balkans

Forested watersheds supply a high proportion of water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs in both upstream and downstream areas. The forests in the Balkan countries cover from 40 % (North Macedonia), 29% Serbia and 26 % (Albania) depending on the country, therefore they largely influence water availability and regulate surface and groundwater flows, while maintaining high water quality.

Project summary

The project aims to bring together expertise (practitioners, politicians and other stakeholders) from forestry, agriculture and water management and economics around pilot areas to improve the effectiveness of forest ecosystem services for water and monetization of ecosystem services.
To address the challenges in protection of surface waters and groundwater reserves the project proposes planning models for sustainable forest and watershed management in North Macedonia and Albania. Also, it  provides best practices and examples that will ensure forest and watershed management complement to the site conditions and in same time protecting the physical environment and ensuring sustainability of the nature as a whole. Through an approach of networking and regional cooperation the project focuses on disseminating these practices within the region and all relevant stakeholders.

Overall goal of the project is to improve the planning practices in forestry by integrating water aspects in the forest management practices in North Macedonia, Albania.

Target groups are the planning units from the Public Enterprise “Национални шуми” (PEMF), the Directorate for forest protection and treatment from Albania and the State Forest Enterprises "Srbijašume", Provincial and Regional Waterworks Enterprises and farmers living near forest areas.

Project beneficiaries are all citizens from North Macedonia, Albania and Serbia and the institutions responsible for water management in the respected country, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Water Economy North Macedonia, Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water from Serbia, Directorate for forest protection and treatment from Albania.

Main activities:

  1. Establishment of two pilot sites for integration of water management measures in forestry, one in Macedonia and one in Albania;
  2. Harmonization of forest and water strategies with EU standards;
  3. Capacity development for forestry planners;
  4. Awareness raising.


Project “Generating momentum on water and forests in the Balkans - Balkans GeM”

* Funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)

* Implemented by the Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry (FAWF) as Lead Partner and Connecting Natural Values and People Foundation (CNVP) as Project Coordinator.