Representatives from state institutions, international organizations and donors in Albania gathered to initiate coordination of projects related to protected areas and to support the strategic program of National Agency for Protected Areas in Albania.
Last week in Tirana, Albania, representatives from state institutions, embassies, agencies, domestic and international organizations gathered at the Coordination Meeting “The strategic program for protected areas” to present mid-term strategic program of National Agency for Protected Areas and to initiate coordination of projects related to protected areas in Albania.
Lefter Koka, Albanian Minister of Environment said that this meeting is coming right after the publishing of the EU Progress Report for 2015, where environmental sector and protection of nature is highlighted as more positive than one year ago. “In the past years we have made many works in the area of environment and protection of nature, such as approximation of Albanian legislation with the EU at 90 %, projects to improve infrastructure, rehabilitation and afforestation in 7 protected areas and design of 12 management plans”, said minister Koka.
About 100 representatives from the Ministry of Environment, National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA), Regional Agencies for Protected Areas, International Organizations and donors, NGOs cooperating in the protected areas such as EU Delegation, GIZ, KFW, DGCS, IBECA, IUCN, UNDP, World Bank, REC, SIDA, attended the event.
This event was also an excellent opportunity for NAPA to present its Strategy for the development of protected areas system in Albania and to examine the possible synergies to enhance the functionality of the protected areas and therefore to ignite the needed harmonization of the actions for an improved efficacy and efficiency of the interventions. "We have now set a 4-year strategic program focused on management, promotion and sustainable development of protected areas. And we will go further on," said Zamir Dedej, director of the National Agency for Protected Areas (NAPA).
IUCN’s Programme Officer on Protected Areas, Tomasz Pezold, presented IUCN ECARO’s engagement in the region, the strategy, present projects and future initiatives. IUCN portfolio in Albania includes targeted actions 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.
“The strategic program of NAPA is yet another major step on the way to consolidate protected areas system in Albania and improve its effectiveness. Some key issues, such as sustainable financing, improved transboundary cooperation and inclusion of underrepresented marine protected areas are still to be addressed. However the strategy provides a very solid basis not only for the achievement of its vision, contribution to global conservation goals but also benefiting society at large. IUCN will continue supporting Albania by providing technical assistance and striving to stimulate better coordination of actions undertaken by key stakeholders”, said Pezold.
The organization of this event was supported by the project “Strengthening national capacity in nature protection - preparation for NATURA 2000 network”. This project aims to halt the loss of biodiversity in Albania through improved Management of Protected Areas of the country. The project is funded by the European Union, relying on the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance program (IPA 2013). It is implemented by the Italian Agency for the Development Cooperation (AICS) in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Italian Botanical Society (SBI). The implementing period of the project is 40 months. The project is supported by the Ministry of Environment of Albania.
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