News and Announcements

October 8, 2015
New project on improving the protected areas in Albania

The focus of the new project is on implementing at least five management plans of the protected areas in Albania, and preparing a preliminary list of Natura 2000 sites. As project partner IUCN will provide technical support in relation to managing the protected areas, including capacity building, communications and visibility. 

During the next 40 months, new project on stopping biodiversity loss trough improving the management of protected areas will be implemented in Albania. The start of project "Strengthening capacity in National Nature Protection - preparation for Natura 2000 network" was announced today in Tirana by the Ministry of Environment of Albania, Italian Embassy, and EU Delegation in Albania.

“The Albanian government is constantly supporting the projects focused on protection of nature and biodiversity. During the past years we have made progress in many areas, including improving the legislation which is now at a large scale transposing EU acquis and extending the protected areas over 16 % of the overall territory. This project is very important for our country not only for strengthening our nature conservation system but also it will help our integration process to the European Union,” said Mrs. Olijana Ifti, the Deputy Minister of Environment.

The focus of the project is on implementing at least five management plans of the many protected areas in Albania, and preparing a preliminary list of Natura 2000 sites in view of their future submission to European Commission by the Albanian authorities, contributing to the alignment process of the country regulatory framework with the EU environmental acquis.

IUCN portfolio in Albania today includes targeted action in some of the Albania’s most iconic protected areas, and spans a range of activities including institutional strengthening, capacity building, transboundary conservation, management planning, World Heritage, equitable governance of natural resources, biodiversity monitoring, and policy development. As partner in this project IUCN provides technical support in relation to managing the protected areas, capacity building, communications and visibility, combining expertise from several offices and support from the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).

“Protected areas can be effective only if they are properly resources and managed and recognized by the society at large. By creating an effective network of protected areas, and Natura 2000 sites in future, Albania will not only contribute to global and regional nature conservation goals, but also to the Sustainable Development Goals most recently. IUCN, the world’s biggest and most credible nature conservation network will continue providing technical assistance to Albania in building a more coherent and resilient nature conservation system and society,” said Boris Erg, Director of IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECARO).

IUCN also supports the leading project partner the Directorate General for the Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAECI/DGDC) in coordination and synergies with other partners, the Ministry of Environment of Albania and the National Agency on Protected Areas (NAPA) in the implementation of project activities together with the Italian Botanical Society (SBI).

“The project we are launching today will take care of the plant and animal biodiversity, but also indirectly will be a tool for the protection of different cultures and traditions mainly used in the practices of sustainable land management. The economic development processes in Albania must be in fact accompanied from adjustment of policy instruments for the protection and enhancement of the natural environment, aimed at sustainable and long lasting development, which unavoidably affects the daily life of today as well as the one of tomorrow,” said Massimo Gaiani, Italian Ambassador to Albania.

The project is funded by the European Union, relying on the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance program (IPA 2013). Rudolf Jan, Head of Political Section at the European Union Delegation to Albania highlighted the contribution of Albanian to several major nature conservation processes at global, European and regional levels. “A better management of protected areas involves many actors and stakeholders. We must join our forces and work together. The European Union will assist Albania not only to implement concrete environmental projects but also assists in drafting policies, strategies and legislation,” said Jan.

About 100 representatives from governmental institutions, municipalities and diplomatic missions attended the official launching event. Academics, civil society sector, members of the international organizations, and nature conservation authorities were also present. 

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