Mr. Pashko Ujka, the Mayor of Velipojë, a town close to one of the protected sites where IUCN is working towards nature-based solutions, shares his views on the challenges the town faces and his work programme which combines environmental protection and tourism development. Mr. Ujka's interview is part of the new issue of the Advance Albania Newsletter.
Albania hosts a rich biodiversity, yet its natural heritage is threatened by inadequate management and growing human impact in some areas of the country. IUCN has partnered with the Albania Ministry for the Environment and the Italian Cooperation to design and implement management plans for two protected sites. These plans will not only strive to conserve nature and its diversity but will support the economic development of the country.
Eco-tourism is one of the activities which can help the community to create job opportunities while at the same time preserve the environment. As stated in the interview, Mr. Ujka sees the potential of such combination and has included it in its priorities. "My programme of work recognizes tourism as the main source of income for the town. I see tourism development closely linked to environmental improvements”.