As the year end is approaching, the partners working towards improved protected areas management in Albania gathered to review the last two years of joint activities. Since its establishment in 2014, the National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) has been supported by the project NaturAL funded by the European Union and “Institutional support to protected areas management” funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Held on 20 December, the event titled “2016 WORKING TOGETHER FOR NATURE - Toward improved protected area management in Albania” was a great opportunity to reassess the cooperation and contribution of the partners. The main idea was to evaluate the status of the activities and to agree on the strategies to overcome the identified constraints in order to enhance the protected areas management.
The event saw the participation of 150 people, including employees of NAPA and its regional offices, the individuals who have shown great commitment and significantly contributed to the gradual improvement of protected areas management. The representative from each Regional Administration for Protected Areas (RAPA) gave an overview of their 2016 achievements in improving protected areas management, highlighting where possible the contribution and support received from the projects. Additionally, they also shared the main goals they would pursue in the next year.
The overall conclusion of the gathering was a fundamental need to further strengthen the team spirit within the NAPA/RAPA and a sense of staff affiliation. The momentum is now right for this, counting on the support received from the projects and all the efforts put in place by the Agency’s Director as well as all the central and regional staff. Additionally, it was very beneficial and high time to exchange informal views and friendly comments, both good and bad but always constructive, between all those strongly committed to improve the management of protected areas in Albania.
The event was supported by the joint efforts of the two projects, namely NaturAL (“Strengthening national capacities in nature protection –preparation for Natura 2000 network”) funded by EU and co-funded and implemented by the Italian Agency For Development Cooperation in partnership with International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) and Italian Botanical Society (SBI); and “Institutional support to protected areas management” funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by IUCN.
“Our aim was to support Albania in preserving the national biodiversity by introducing a scientific approach in managing protected areas. We have done this by working closely with MoE and NAPA staff and involving them in each project step, believing that this was the best way not only to transfer the knowledge but also to motivate them further,” said Andrea Ghiurghi, IUCN Project manager. “This event is thus in line with our approach - it inspires a deeper sense of ownership of the protected areas NAPA is responsible for,” he concluded.
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