« Bringing together all stakeholders of the lake Shkodra Region » - Small Grants Fund project successfully concluded in Albania

07/01/0011

Albania’s Small Grants Fund Project “Bringing together all stakeholders of the lake Shkodra Region” was successfully concluded a few months ago and was funded through a contribution by the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. The one-year cycle SGF project has been carried out by the Regional Environmental Centre (REC) Albania in close cooperation with the Administrative Authority for the Ramsar Convention, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Administration of Waters in Albania.

The project’s overall goals were the improvement of the management of the Lake Shkodra Region by implementing Ramsar management principles, creating awareness and especially strengthening the institutional cooperation between Albania and Montenegro.

Ramsar meetings were organised at local level with key authorities and stakeholders of the Shkodra region as well as at the Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment in Montenegro to which Albanian ministry representatives as well as local stakeholders were invited.

3rd from left: Diana Bejko, Project Coordinator
Speaking: Albanian Minister of Environment


An international conference “Introducing Ramsar principles towards integrated management of lake Shkodra/Skadar & Buna/Bojana River natural resources” was held in Shkodra, Albania from 5-6 June 2010 and was organised by the Regional Environmental Centre (REC) Shkodra, in cooperation with the University of Shkodra, Tirana University and University of Montenegro. The main goal of the conference was to emphasise the implementation of international principles for transboundary water resources management of Shkodra Lake and Buna River from science to practice. Organised in plenary sessions, symposiums, thematic workshops and discussions, the conference was attended by scientists from Albania and Montenegro, as well as by both ministers, the Albanian Minister of Environment, Fatmir Mediu and his Montenegrin counterpart, Branimir Gvozdenovic. Illegal fishery was named as one of the biggest threats to the Shkodra Lake ecosystem and law enforcement and better protection of the area were addressed. Both ministers announced that a joint research and management plan, focusing on an ecosystem approach for the region will be drafted in the near future.

While Mediu pledged that "we will undertake all efforts, in such a way that the Shkodra Lake, as the largest basin in the Balkans, will finally be declared a national park”, Montenegrin Minister of Environment, Branimir Gvozdenovic said: "I'm very pleased to be here today for this important day, the International Day of Environmental Protection. Together with my Albanian colleague we are committed to encourage scientists from both political parties, in order to protect this basin, which is the largest in the region, by developing at the same time the economy of the two countries, as well as preserve the environment that surrounds us, as the greatest assets we have. Our tasks are to preserve the planet where we live. All that I said will not remain just words, but will be concretized with the signature of agreements between our two ministries and by the implementation of concrete projects".

Another output of the project was a study visit at Butrint Ramsar Site to share and increase management experiences as well as to promote networking among managers of the Albanian Ramsar Sites. It was concluded that it should be a top priority for the responsible authorities to develop a management plan for lake Shkodra's ecosystem. Further outputs include an assessment of the current situation in the Lake Shkodra/Skadar Lake Ramsar Site which contains information collected by Albanian and Montenegrian experts, the brochure “Shkodra/ Skadar Lake Ecosystem Services” and a “Book of abstracts” which contains 45 scientific papers presented at the conference.

Field visit to Butrint Ramsar Site

All 3 publications as well as the conference report are available under the following link:
http://albania.rec.org/Projects/Biodiversiteti/ramsar-lake-conference.html

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