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Strong cooperation for protected areas of Albania – a time to celebrate on achievements and reflect on future steps

Strong cooperation for protected areas of Albania – a time to celebrate on achievements and reflect on future steps

TIRANA, ALBANIA, 25 January – The five years long project “Institutional Support to the management of Protected Areas in Albania” has come to its end, significantly contributing to the progress that has been made in the field of nature protection in Albania. The project - implemented by International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and National Agency for Protected Areas (NAPA), and funded by the Italian Development Cooperation (AICS) – helped shape new national institutional framework for protected areas, initiate legislative changes and strengthen management effectiveness of protected areas.

“We have done a great work so far strengthening the system of protected areas of Albania, and our partnership with MoE, IUCN and AICS was instrumental in this”, said Mr. Zamir Dedej, Director of National Agency for Protected Areas of Albania. „We will continue to build synergies and explore income-generating potential of protected areas without compromising their preservation“, he concluded.

The project was instrumental in strengthening national protected areas policy by mainstreaming international standards into protected areas planning and management processes. Two project sites, Buna River Protected Landscape (PL) and Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park (NP) were selected for the importance of ecosystem services they provide to the local communities. Their management plans were elaborated in the course of the project actively involving local stakeholders into consultation processes for area-based management planning for the first time in Albania at such a broad scale, and following IUCN WCPA (World Commission on Protected Areas) Management Planning Guidelines.

“There is a great deal of support the authorities need to provide for the establishment and management of the national system of protected areas. What we have seen over the last five years is a major step forward in improving the institutional set-up and management effectiveness of protected areas in Albania. IUCN remains committed to providing necessary advice to the authorities and communities in order to harness the full potential of Albania’s protected area system “, said Mr. Boris Erg, Director of IUCN’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Some of the notable project contributions to the management of protected areas in Albania are:

-          Standardized procedure for protected area management planning and two management plans fully prepared in line with international protected areas standard 

-          Renovation of protected areas facilities and opening of two visitor centres, as well as the construction of visitor infrastructure and the marking of hiking and cycling trails to advance the sustainable tourism development in protected areas,

-          Provision of instruments and methodologies for management planning and monitoring in protected areas and a national biodiversity database (BioNNA) to facilitate the work of the authorities,

-          Several awareness raising campaigns and educational programmes aimed to build the knowledge of local communities on parks and their values,

-          Online application on protected areas of Albania, launched as an important promotional tool, with data entered for the two project sites.

“Italy traditionally sees Albania as a valuable partner in the region, and will continue to support its sustainable development. Through the project NaturAL, as well as through other new initiatives, we will follow up on the achieved and expand our work now to ten protected areas, while setting the base for the establishment of national Natura2000 network”, said Mr. Nino Merola, Director of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Albania.

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For further information:

Deniz Xhoga, National Agency for Protected Areas, E: Deniz.Xhoga@akzm.gov.al  

Aleksandra Nikodinovic, IUCN ECARO, E: aleksandra.nikodinovic@iucn.org

Notes for editors:

About the Project

Title: Institutional Support to the management of Protected Areas in Albania

Albania is a country rich in biological diversity and over a third of its territory is covered in forests—home to wolves, bears, lynx, wild boar and many more species. Although surrounded by natural wealth, many people in Albania struggle to make ends meet. One of the already well advanced plans is to get the country’s national parks and other protected areas to support the needs of people as well as nature. The Italian Development Cooperation partnered with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to promote innovative approaches to protected area management, in order to demonstrate a broad range of benefits that local and wider communities could enjoy from preserved and well-functioning ecosystems. The project aimed to involve the local population in shaping the future of Velipojë and Shebenik-Jabllanicë, train officials on the management of protected areas and raise awareness to help local and national governments to better exploit the natural potential of these areas. The activities are supported by two IUCN Members in Albania: Institute for Nature Conservation of Albania (INCA) and Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA).

Project website: www.iucn.org/projectalbania

Brochure “For a Sustainable Future”

https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/import/downloads/albania_brochure_eng_31_05_2012_web_1.pdf

About Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)

In the last twenty years, Albania has undertaken an important path towards political and economic stabilization, the consolidation of democratic institutions and progressive economic growth. Witnessing this political and economic development, the Italian Cooperation has reformulated its programme, aiming thus mostly at supporting the European integration process of Albania and identifying priorities and strategies for the adoption and implementation of the acquis communautaire, as stated in the New Italian-Albanian Protocol of Development

2014-2016. In order to foster social and economic development, Italy adopts a multi-sectorial approach, imple

menting projects that touch several areas of intervention. The Italian Cooperation applies both bilateral and multilateral agreements, supporting at the same time NGO's projects and the decentralized cooperation. Italian Agency for the Development Cooperation (AICS) ensures overall coordination, management, monitoring and reporting on the project. Provides technical support to activities and promotes coordination and synergies with Albanian institutional and international partners in the field.

www.italcoopalbania.org

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together. Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of 1,300 member organisations and some 15,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards. IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development. Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.

www.iucn.org 

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