Sazani Island – Karaburun Peninsula is the first marine protected area in Albania, declared in 2010 as a result of an UNDP assisted project. In order to ensure the proper management of this area and to expand the marine protected areas network, a new project is currently implemented on the central and local governance level. Non-governmental and community-based organizations are considered important partners in the project implementation.
Ms. Violeta Zuna, the Project Manager, emphasizes as the main goal of the project improvement of management effectiveness of marine and coastal protected areas network in Albania. As the main project outcomes, she indicates the improved bio-geographical representation of marine and coastal protected areas (MCPAs) and their management arrangements that would clarify institutional settings and provide additional capacity building.
The project will result with a long term vision titled “Developing the Strategic Plan of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas” that would include MCPA expansion scenario and set a scene for two new marine protected areas proclamation. The Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania will develop the draft document, using the previous experiences with the marine and coastal environment and in cooperation with the WWF Mediterranean Office. The document will formulate the priorities, policies, instruments and action plan that would assure meeting the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Aichi targets in the country. The document is planned to be a living document that would be continuously updated. The process of the strategy development and revision will be coordinated with the technical staff of the Biodiversity Directorate in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration. Four meetings planned to be held in Lezhe, Divjake, Vlore, and Tirana will serve for discussions on document improvement. Once finalized, a draft strategy will be handed over to the Ministry of Environment as part of the revised National Biodiversity and Action Plan Strategy.
Albanian national legislation is being intensively aligned with EU Directives on environment. The foremost challenge is the enforcement and control mechanism that would allow the implementation of the existing legal frame with respect to the conservation and management of marine and coastal protected areas. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration is seen as a key actor that can create an efficient inspection system, strengthen the protected areas administration locally and support their management.
Reflecting on the future actions, Ms. Elvita Spahiu Kabashiu named biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation as major challenges in the country that UNDP is committed to address further, as reflected in the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework which will guide organizations’ operations in this area. UNDP office in Albania has a complex approach to nature conservation taking into account the pressure that human, socio-economic activity puts on the environment. The organization has vast experience in community involvement in policy making and planning, working with various local NGOs and international partners. Over time, UNDP in Albania supported the government to establish and strengthen protected areas, and formulate the corresponding management plans. Good examples are Llogora National Park, Narta Lagoon and the marine protected area Karaburun – Sazan. “We will continue the work on the preparation of the management plan for this marine area, and on the related capacity building for its management structures. Significant assistance has been provided also for the ecosystem management in the Prespa Park, in close cooperation with FYRoM and Greece”, Ms. Spahiu Kabashiu concludes.
Prepared by INCA