Albania is rich in biological diversity at landscape, ecosystem, and species levels, especially in relation to its small land area.
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Albania is rich in biological diversity at landscape, ecosystem, and species levels, especially in relation to its small land area.

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Balkan Regional Ecological Network in Albania ...

Balkan Regional Ecological Network in Albania
Albania is rich in biological diversity at landscape, ecosystem, and species levels, especially in relation to its small land area. This rich diversity in Albania is result of:(1) the wide range in climate, altitude, and geology (2) geographical location at the intersection of two major bio-geographic zones (Central Europe and Mediterranean); (3) location astride an important bird migration route; (4) coastline on the Adriatic and Ionian seas; and (5) an abundance of ecologically diverse fresh water ecosystems. Albania is ecologically linked to neighboring countries through shared ecosystems, habitats, lakes, and rivers as well as migrations of birds and marine organisms. Building the regional ecological networking will directly contribute towards enforcement of nature conservation in Albania and bring institutions at the comparable level of responsibilities with neighboring countries, their empowerment and capacity increase.

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Albania is rich in biological diversity at landscape, ecosystem, and species levels, especially in relation to its small land area. Document Transcript

  • 1. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Balkan Regional Ecological Network in Albania Baseline report Prepared by: Spase Shumka Tirana, February 2013 Financially Supported by:
  • 2. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Table of Contents 1. STATE OF THE ART ........................................................................................................... 5 1.1. STATUS OF BIODIVERSITY IN THE COUNTRY...................................................................... 5 1.1.1. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY................................................................................................. 6 1.2. PROPOSAL FOR POSSIBLE TARGET SPECIES ....................................................................... 6 1.2.1. DISTRIBUTION...................................................................................................................... 8 1.2.2. CONSERVATION STATUS AND MAIN THREATS .................................................................... 8 1.2.3. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION STATUS ............................................... 11 2. GLOBAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK – ................ 14 2.1. CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (CBD)............................................................ 14 3. NATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK ................................................................................. 16 4. NATIONAL STRATEGIC DOCUMENTS (LITERATURE REVIEW) – EXPLAINING ALL STRATEGIC...................................................................................................................... 21 5. NATIONAL PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM – OVERVIEW OF THE NETWORK OF PROTECTED AREAS............................................................................................................... 23 5.1.NETWORK OF THE PROTECTED AREAS IN ALBANIA ........................................................... 25 6. PROGRESS OF THE WORK WITH REGARD TO ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS IN RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES –................................................................................................. 27 6.1. EMERALD NETWORK DEVELOPMENT IN ALBANIA.............................................................. 27 6.3. IPA ALBANIA......................................................................................................................... 30 5.6. GREEN BELT INITIATIVE....................................................................................................... 32 7. KEY STAKEHOLDERS – REVIEW THE KEY STAKEHOLDERS FOR ESTABLISHING ECOLOGICAL NETWORK ..................................................................... 33 8. CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................................................. 35 3. REFERENCES..................................................................................................................... 36
  • 3. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org List of Acronyms Al Albania ASCI Areas of Special Conservation Interest BLRP Balkan Lynx Recovery Program BSAP Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan BRI Biological Research Institute CBD Convention on Biological Diversity CCF UNDP Country Cooperation Framework COP Conference of the Parties EA Ecosystem Approach EU European Union EEA European Environmental Agency FPRI Forest and Pasture Research Institute FYROM Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia GDFP General Directorate of Forests and Pastures GEF Global Environmental Facility GEF/SGP Global Environmental Facility/Small Grant Programme GoA Government of Albania IPA Important Plant Areas MNS Museum of Natural Sciences MAP Mediterranean Action Plan MoAFPC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Protection of Consumers MoEFWA Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration MoTCYS Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports NBSAPs National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans NEA National Environmental Agency NES National Environmental Strategy NCNC National Council for Nature and Biodiversity NSDI National Strategy for Development and Integration NGOs Non Governmental Organizations PAs Protected Areas REC Regional Environmental Centre RDAF Regional Directorates of Agriculture and Food SPA Specially Protected Areas SU Sustainable Use UNDP United Nations Development Programme ENEP United Nations Environmental Programme WB World Bank WB/GEF World Bank/Global Environmental facility
  • 4. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org List of Figures and Tables Fig.1. The decline of the brown bear population (GDFP, 2000) Table 1. Data on brown bear population for Albania Fig. 2 Distribution map of the Bear in Albania (Bego 2005) Figure 3. Trends of wolf population in Albania (Bego, 2005) Figure. 4 Distribution map of the Wolf population in Albania (Bego 2005) Figure 5 Important corridors for Brown bear in south east Albania Table 2. Protected areas network in Albania Figure 6. Map of Protected Areas of Albania, June 2010 (source MoEFWA – Biodiversity Directorate) Figure 7. Map of proposed Emerald sites for Albania (source: MoEFWA, 2010) Figure 8. IPAs of Albania (source: MoEFWA, 2012)
  • 5. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org 1. State of the art 1.1. Status of biodiversity in the country Albania is rich in biological diversity at landscape, ecosystem, and species levels, especially in relation to its small land area. This rich diversity in Albania is result of:(1) the wide range in climate, altitude, and geology (2) geographical location at the intersection of two major bio- geographic zones (Central Europe and Mediterranean); (3) location astride an important bird migration route; (4) coastline on the Adriatic and Ionian seas; and (5) an abundance of ecologically diverse fresh water ecosystems. Albania is ecologically linked to neighboring countries through shared ecosystems, habitats, lakes, and rivers as well as migrations of birds and marine organisms. Building the regional ecological networking will directly contribute towards enforcement of nature conservation in Albania and bring institutions at the comparable level of responsibilities with neighboring countries, their empowerment and capacity increase. There are 3,250 higher plant species in Albania, about 30% of the total in all of Europe, and 2,350 species of lower plants including mosses, algae, and fungi. There are 27 plant species found only in Albania (endemic species) and another 160 species that are endemic to Albania and adjacent countries. Among the endemic plants are a number of relict species, such as Forsythia europea (NEA, 2000). Albania is home to 756 vertebrate animal species including 70 mammals, 323 birds, and 36 reptiles. There are 64 species of fish in Albania’s lakes and rivers and 249 species of fish in territorial marine waters. Albania is home to 91 globally threatened species of animals including 21 mammal species, 18 bird, 4 reptile, 2 amphibian, 28 fish, and 18 invertebrate. Albania’s Red Books for endangered, rare, and endemic species list 573 species of animals (including vertebrates and invertebrates) and 320 species of flowering plants, 45 fungi species, and 25 marine plants. Albania also has significant agriculture-related genetic diversity with 30 species of food plants native to the country as well as 9 local breeds of goats and 5 breeds of sheep. Albania is ecologically linked to neighboring countries through shared ecosystems, habitats, lakes, and rivers as well as migrations of birds and marine organisms. Albania contains important populations of large mammals that are rare or extinct elsewhere in Europe. Albania’s land is a mosaic of various forest and shrub types interspersed with agricultural land, pastures, and barren areas, creating a range of landscapes. Some landscapes have a focal feature such as one of the large lakes, a section of coastline, or a group of mountains. More commonly, landscapes are agrarian in nature, such as those typical of the hilly terrain between the coastal plain and the mountains. Hilly landscapes have changed significantly in recent decades as forests and pastures were converted to agricultural production and have now been abandoned, returned to pasture, or are being returned to village forests. Soil erosion has been and continues to be a serious problem that reduces soil fertility and adversely affects irrigation and hydroelectric systems. Albania has a wide range of forest types, but most, except those in the high mountains, have been degraded by poor management and overharvesting. Efforts are being made to protect biologically important high altitude forests and to reestablish communal forests that provide fuel wood and fodder for nearby communities. Albania’s mountains support alpine and subalpine meadows with characteristic and in some cases, rare vegetation communities. Alpine meadow vegetation has been modified through centuries, if not millennia of use for summer grazing, and adjacent subalpine vegetation has been repeatedly burned to expand the size of pastures. These human
  • 6. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org actions have caused a shift in the type and abundance of plants that grow in these meadows. The Albanian landscape is well endowed with herbal and medicinal plants—such as chamomile, sage, thyme and St. John’s Wort—the sale of which provides revenues and employment for many poor rural families. Women are especially engaged in such activity (Dida et al., 2004). Albania has an abundance of freshwater bodies in relation to its size, including three large lakes shared with neighboring countries, hundreds of smaller natural and human created lakes, and several relatively large river systems. The biodiversity value of Albania’s large natural lakes is exceptionally high, whereas for rivers is poorly documented. Albania’s coast, contains a wide diversity of habitats and ecosystems including beaches, sand dunes, rocky coasts, lagoons, and estuaries. Territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles offshore and include a wide range of water depths and substrate conditions. Although the marine environment has been less studied than terrestrial and freshwater environments, much work remains to document the occurrence of species and monitor their populations. 1.1.1. Threats to Biodiversity Albania’s biodiversity, viewed in total, is seriously threatened. Forests are threatened by overharvesting, overgrazing, encroachment of urban areas, and wild fires. All freshwater bodies are threatened by pollution from domestic and industrial sources and rivers face additional threats related to damming, sand mining, water extraction, and flood control. Albania’s coast is generally better preserved than elsewhere in the Mediterranean, but threats to the nation’s coast are numerous and increasing in severity. Albania’s lagoons are economically and ecologically valuable and face a number of serious threats that are changing their productivity and biodiversity status. Over the past decade, Albanian marine fishermen have acquired boats and trawling nets that allow them to intensively fish shallow waters. This is believed to be depleting economically valuable species, damaging the sea floor habitat, and killing rare species such as turtles and dolphins. Some fisherman use destructive fishing methods such as dynamite and poisons. Virtually all threats result from Albania’s system of governance and weak economy. A reasonably comprehensive structure of laws and institutions has been designed to protect the environment and manage and conserve biological resources. Unfortunately, the Government of Albania (GOA) lacks the financial and human resources, and in some cases the political will, to use this structure to counteract threats. Albania’s turbulent political transition during the 1990s resulted in a chaotic governance situation in which environmental protection and biodiversity conservation were largely ignored. Over the last few years the government has shown more interest in biodiversity conservation, although it is still a low priority in relation to economic and social development. The effectiveness of government efforts at biodiversity conservation ultimately depends on creating a political and economic climate in which scientists and government officials have the knowledge, resources, and political support to conserve biodiversity. 1.2. Proposal for possible target species (flagship species) for development of ecological network in Balkan Region (for ex. large carnivores and/or other species) - availability of data about their distribution, population size, population trend, main threats, national protection/conservation status, etc. should be presented.
  • 7. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Beside its small territory Albania plays an important role to maintain and secure surviving of the large carnivores at the Balkan Peninsula. Its hosts important part of populations of Lynx (Lynx lynx), Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) and Wolf (Canis lupus) that are of great importance for a healthy population of large carnivores, especially in the Western Balkan mountain ecosystems. According to the ‘Strategy for the Conservation of the Balkan lynx in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania’ (2008), the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) is the most endangered autochthonous population of the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx (Stojanov et alt., 2012). Its present known distribution is restricted to the border area of western “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and eastern Albania, reaching north to the southern rims of Kosovo and Montenegro. Available information indicates that less than 100 individuals remain (von Arx et al. 2004). The Balkan lynx must therefore be considered as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List criteria, making conservation measures very urgent. Its recovery is even more important because it has been described a distinct subspecies already in the 1940s (Lynx lynx balcanicus, Bures 1941) and 1970s (Lynx lynx martinoi, Miric 1978). Historical data on the status and distribution of the carnivores are those offered by the General Directorate of Forestry and Pastures, and the Institute of Forestry and Pasture Research in Albania (Institute is currently part of Agency of Environment and Forestry after the reform of scientific institutions in Albania developed in year 2005) . Other old sources of data on hunting games, including LC (Least Concern) species, provide the publications of Puzanov (Bego, 1999). Following information coming from MoEFWA, the current estimation on bear population in Albania is about 250 individuals. The last figure is the lowest registered in Albania during the last 50 years, and shows a systematic decline of the bear, especially during the last 20-25 years (see the Table 1 and Figure 1) Table 1. Data on brown bear population for Albania
  • 8. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Fig.1. The decline of the brown bear population (Bego 2005) Following different source of information the generally the data on large carnivores are scarce. The quality of data is not satisfactory due to methodology applied by the GDFP. On the other hand in Albania bears not only live in their natural habitat, but they also can be found often in dramatic circumstances in cages, small facilities in so called zoos or chained by various restaurans on the side of national roads. In many circumstances these captive bears come from nature, often as a result of illegal hunting and poaching. 1.2.1. Distribution According to Bego (1999), Mertzanis et al. (2000) the species has been recorded in the following locations: Livadhi Harushes, Vermosh, Lepushe, Razem-Veleçik (MM), Theth (SH), Valbone, Çerem dhe Lumi Gashit (BC), Lumebardhe e Munelle (PU), Bjeshke e Oroshit (MR); Bicaj- Kolesjan (KU); Lura 1, Lura 2, Radomire, Kala e Turres, Grame, Rabdishte [Korabi Mnt] (DI); Zall Gjocaj (MT), Sheshet e Bulqizes, Liqenet e Bulqizes, Liqeni i Zi (BZ), Bize, Brozhe, Berdhet, Qafe Molle-Dajt-Priske (TR); Labinot –Mal, Zavaline, Gjinar (EL); Kostenje, Qarishte, Rrajce, Polis, Dardhe, Sopot, Stravaj, Lepushe (LB), Bishnice, Guri Nikes, Qafe-Panje, Valamare (PG); Holte-Lukove (GR); Gorice e madhe (Prespe e Madhe), Morave, Dardhe, Nikolice, Vithkuq-Ostrovice (KO); Tomorr-Kulmak (BR dhe SK); Germenj-Shelegure, Piskal- Shqerri (ER); Bredhi i Hotoves (PR). Based on the records, the bear distribution in Albania is very much related with distribution of beech, mixed beech, fir and black pine forests. The Vjosa River is the most Southern border of the bear distribution range in the country. The Bear in Albania is met in the sub-mountainous and mountainous regions, that’s, over 600 m in the northern Albania and 800 m in the south. The Balkan Lynx Recovery Program (2006-2012) has confirmed the presence of brown bear different areas of Albania, while the conservation issues and captivity concerns are among the major obstacles. 1.2.2. Conservation status and main threats Bear is considered a protected species by the Albanian law, and hunting has been prohibited since 1990. Apart of that, bear is being killed and persecuted in most of its range, mostly because it is considered to cause damages to farmers’ crops and livestock. In fact during summer and autumn bear used to frequently feed on crops, livestock and fruit-trees, causing sometimes considerable damages to farmers’ small economy. There is not so far any financial mechanism in place to compensate farmers for the damages caused by the LC, including bear caused sand in the existing legislation there is no any provision about the compensation of damages caused by the LC species. Apart from the illegal animal killing, other main threats to bears are (i) illegal forest cutting; that is causing huge bear habitat fragmentation and loss, (ii) uncontrolled grazing; that takes part even inside the strict nature reserves and National Parks, (iii) animal prosecution and captivity, including dancing bear practice that is still ongoing in Albania. Bear has become a threatened species in Albania; it is considered a vulnerable (VU) species in the Red Data Book (REC, 1997), and the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NEA, 1999) has called for a species action plan to be prepared and implemented in the next 3-5 years.
  • 9. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org “Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme – Phase II (2010-2012)” The project “Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme – Phase II” is a continuation of the programme for lynx conservation in Macedonia and Albania initiated in year 2006. Activities proposed in Phase II, are defined according to experiences gained so far and they are consistent with activities proposed in the range-wide “Strategy for the Conservation of Balkan Lynx in Macedonia and Albania”. Thus, the project we introduce here is a logical continuation of the work conducted so far towards the recovery of the Balkan lynx. Besides many activities within the project, there is a continuation of activities regarding lynx monitoring in Macedonia and Albania, which will result in the collection of new ground data on lynx, but also for the other large mammalian species, including the brown bear. Figure. 2 Distribution of Bear in Albania (Bego 2005)
  • 10. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Wolf (Canis lupus L.) Status. The current wolf population in Albania is estimated between 900-1200 individuals. Data provided by the GDFP (state authority on forestry and pasture) are showing an overestimation ranging from 30% to 50%. Anyway, based upon these historical data collected and reported by the DGFP, it is possible to see the trends of the wolf population in Albania over the past 50 years (see following). As shown, the wolf population has got quite sharp fluctuations from year 1960 to 1980, while nowadays it seems to be stabilized or slightly increasing during the last 10 years. Figure 3. Trends of wolf population in Albania (Bego, 2005) Distribution. The species has been recorded in the following locations: Livadhi Harushes, Vermosh, Lepushe, Razem-Veleçik (MM), Boge, Theth, Cukal (SH), Valbone, Çerem, Nikaj Mertur, Lumi Gashit (BC), Lumebardhe e Munelle (PU), Mali i Rencit (SH and LE), Berzane (LE), Bjeshke e Oroshit (MR), Lure, Korab (DI); Zall Gjocaj (MT), Sheshet e Bulqizes, Liqenet e Bulqizes, Liqeni i Zi (BZ), Qafe-Shtame-Skenderbe (KR); Bize, Brozhe, Berdhet, Qafe-Molle- Dajt-Priske (TR); Labinot –Mal, Zavaline, Gjinar (EL); Kostenje, Qarishte, Rrajce, Polis, Dardhe, Sopot, Stravaj, Lepushe (LB), Bishnice, Guri Nikes, Qafe-Panje, Valamare (PG); Holte- Lukove (GR); Gorice e madhe (Prespe e Madhe), Morave, Dardhe, Nikolice, Vithkuq-Ostrovice (KO); Tomorr-Kulmak, Bogove (BR and SK); Germenj-Shelegure, Piskal-Shqerri, Vasha Mnt (ER); Bredhi i Hotoves, Nemerçke-Dhembel (PR), Trebeshine, Kurvelesh (TP), Zheji, Bureto, Bredhi i Sotires, Mali i Gjere, (GJ); Rrezome, Dhrovjan (DL), Konispol (SR); Mali Çikes, Llogora, Karaburun (VL). Distribution range of the wolf in Albania covers most of the territory, including the hilly, pre- mountainous, mountainous, and alpine zones. Given the fact that the wolf has become nowadays a predator dependent to livestock in Albania (mostly on sheep and goats), its movements and migrations are very much linked with those of sheep and domesticated goat herds that in summer
  • 11. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org time move up to mountain pastures, while in winter get down to lowlands for grazing. The wolf is absent along the western lowland coastal zone of Albania, from Shkodra to Vlora. Map no. 2 shows the distribution range of the wolf in Albania. Figure. 4 Distribution map of the Wolf population in Albania (Bego 2005) 1.2.3. National and International conservation status The Brown bear is listed as a protected species or a species with unfavorable conservation status in many international conventions and agreements, including: Annex II and IV of EU Habitat Directive (94/43/EEC), on Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), Appendix II of the CITES Convention, in the Corinne list of Threatened species and in the EMERALD Resolution No. 6 (1998). It is
  • 12. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org categorized as an LC (Least Concern) species in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (European Threat Category). In Albania, the Brown bear is classified as a Vulnerable (VU) species according to the Red List of Albania (Misja 2006; MoEFWA 2007). In the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NEA,. 1999) the Brown bear is selected as a priority species and the development of an action plan for its conservation has been recommended as an immediate action to take (supported by the GEF WB II Phase Biodiversity Enabling Activities). In 2007 an action plan was compiled and adopted by the Ministry of Environment; however no concrete action has so far been seen in relation to the document. Brown bear in Albania enjoys a full legal protection status sanctioned by the new Law on Wildlife Protection (2008) and Law on hunting (2010). Main factors affecting the population of Brown bear are: (i) Poaching and illegal trade; (ii) Habitat fragmentation and connectivity loss; (iii) Human conflicts; (iv) Lack of natural food resources; (v) Disturbance; (vi) Lack of knowledge; (vii) Poor communication. In 2012 has been prepared the Conservation Action Plan that was based on data analysis carried out in the framework of the project “Landscape Scale Conservation in the Prespa Lake Basin – Transboundary Species and Habitat Conservation Action Plans”. The project was undertaken within the UNDP project “Integrated ecosystem management within the Prespa lake watershed” (Stojanov et al. 2012). Following the data analyses (for the south eastern part of the country) there has been identified the following corridors important for Brown bear: (a) The corridor stretches from the Galichica/Mali i Thatë mountain chain in the east to the Valamara Mountain in the west. The area is intensively used by humans and the landscape is largely agricultural and pastoral. Vast areas were transformed into fruit tree plantations in the past, however most of these now seem to be abandoned and destroyed. The natural vegetation is mainly represented by patches of degraded scrubland. Currently there is no indication that this corridor is being used by bears; however the landscape structure and topography assessment imply that the area has high potential for bears to use the corridor, if appropriate measures of landscape management were to be implemented. Several inhabited places and their associated activities influence the functioning of this corridor. These include the villages: Peshkëpi, Alarup, Bletas, Blacë, Çërravë, Leshnicë, Stropckë, Grabovicë, Dardhas, Pretushë, Grunjas, Prenisht. The corridor is also cross-cut by the national road Pogradec-Korçë. (b) Corridor Cangonji Gorge – connects CA Galichica/Mali e Thate with the CA Morava Mt. This corridor stretches from the Galichica/Mali i Thatë mountain chain on the north to the Morava Mountains on the south. The area is intensively used by humans and the landscape is largely agricultural. The natural vegetation is mainly represented by
  • 13. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org degraded scrublands and the hilly areas were transformed to fruit tree plantations in the past – however latterly these have been abandoned and destroyed (Fig.10). Currently, there is no indication that this corridor is being used by bears; however the landscape and topography assessment imply that the area has the highest potential for bears to use the corridor, if appropriate measures of landscape management were to be implemented. Several inhabited places and their associated activities influence the functioning of this corridor. These include the villages: Zvezda, Burimi, Mançurisht, Zëmblak and Cangonj. The corridor is also cross-cut by the national road Korçë-Bilisht that connects Albania with Greece and by Devolli River. (c) Corridor Gramoz-Triklario – connects CA Pelister/Varnountas Mt. with CA Gramoz Mt. This corridor connects the main Pindus bear population with the Dinaric bear population (in general). Following the borders between Greece and Albania, this corridor starts at the northern areas of Mount Grammos, has a main section of hilly areas mixed with oak forests and agricultural lands and end at the south slopes of the Triklario Mount in Greece. Figure 5 Important corridors for Brown bear in south east Albania
  • 14. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org 2. Global legal instruments and European framework – overview of the status of ratification and implementation of international agreements related to nature conservation and ecological networks in the country (Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention, Bonn Convention, Bern Convention, European Landscape Convention etc. as well as implementation plan/activities of the relevant EU directives: Birds and Habitats Directives, Water Framework Directive etc.(3-5 pages) 2.1. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was approved by the Albanian Government in January 1994. The Focal Point for the convention is the Minister of Environment. Since then and on Albania has undertaken a series of actions to meet with its obligations to implement CBD, as follow: • Preparation of the first National Report to UNCBD Secretariat • Preparation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) • Establishment of the National Council for Nature and Biodiversity • Monitoring program on Biodiversity • Establishment of an interim Clearing House Mechanism • Establishment of the Biodiversity Secretariat • WB/GEF Phase II Enabling Activity • Biosafety program First National Report (followed by second, third and fourth) WB/GEF Phase I Enabling Activity project supported the preparation of the first National Report that was sent to the UNCBD Secretariat. The report provides baseline data on the status of the country’s biological diversity. Preparation of the second National Report on Biodiversity is one of the expected outputs of the Phase II Enabling Activity. Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan The Global Environment Facility, through the World Bank, provided also financial support to the National Environmental Agency (today the Ministry of Environment) to prepare the Albania’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) in 1997. The BSAP was completed in 1999 and endorsed by the Government in October 2000. The BSAP updated the status and trends of biodiversity threats and protection in Albania, and identified the objectives, priorities, and actions for in-situ and ex-situ biodiversity protection and use, the implementation arrangements and financing requirements for achieving those objectives. National Council for Nature and Biodiversity (NCNB) National Council for Nature and Biodiversity (NCNB) was created in the year 2000 by a decree of the GoA, and it was chaired by the deputy Prime minister. This inter-ministerial Council was to be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the BSAP. The Council held two meetings and approved concerned documents. However, it was overtaken by events – notably the
  • 15. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org establishment of the Ministry of Environment – and has since not been active. NCSA project will assess and further contribute to this process as appropriate. Monitoring program on Biodiversity In the framework of implementation of the CBD, country’s biodiversity (flora and fauna) of coastal lagoons is monitored since 2000 under the state monitoring program which recently is expanded to other wetlands. Several research institutions, such as the Biological Research Institute (BRI), Museum of Natural Sciences (MNS), Forest and Pasture Research Institute (FPRI) and Fishery Research Institute (FRI) are engaged in this monitoring program. Data is collected on an annual basis and is complemented with data published by other government bodies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MoAF), General Directorate of Forestry and Pastures (GDFP). Towards establishment of environmental monitoring program various biodiversity indicators are identified by the Albanian experts in 2005, along with frequency of measurements and institutions engaged, taking into considerations the EEA indicators. A CARDS 2004 project is expected to start soon which will aim the strengthening of environmental monitoring system in Albania which among others improvement of environmental monitoring system using environmental norms and directives of EU as a general reference framework and improvement of data quality through development of an up-to date cost effective and sustainable integrating environmental monitoring system according to the standards of EEA and other relevant European Institutions. Biodiversity monitoring is part of this project and relate to ecological survey of coastal and surface waters and biodiversity in general. The project will support also establishment of National Hydrobiological Reference laboratory. Global and European Policy Context As a contracting Party to many international conventions, such as Barcelona convention (May 30, 1990), Ramsar convention (accession on November 29, 1995, and ratification on March 29, 1996), Biodiversity Convention (1996), and Bern Convention (signed on October 31, 1995 and ratified on March 2, 1998), Albania is committed to create an effective system for the administration of its coast. An important part of this system is the creation of a network of protected areas, including transboundary protected areas. In the recent years, the Government of Albania (GoA) is taking steps to approach EU legislation and policy for nature conservation. The Council of Europe, in collaboration with other national and international organizations, took the initiative to develop a Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (Council of Europe et al. 1996). The Strategy is intended to operate within a 20-year period, establishing a broad and consistent framework for achieving its aims and objectives and providing guiding principles for action. The Six Action Themes of the PEBLDS action plan are:  Enhancing implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity through the Pan- European Strategy process;  Integrating biological and landscape diversity considerations into sectoral policies;
  • 16. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org  Building up environmental development capacity in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and in the Newly Independent States (NIS);  Providing information and enhancing communication;  Developing the Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN);  Carrying out reviews and assessments, and monitoring, reporting and funding of the Pan- European Strategy. 3. National legal framework Explaining the legal background for protection of biodiversity and creating ecological network (protection/designation of core areas and corridors) in the national legislation (for ex. environment, nature protection, forests management, hunting, rural development, land use and other relevant laws and regulations), as well as responsible institutions set up for nature conservation. According to the Constitution, every citizen in Albania is entitled to “an ecologically healthy environment for present and future generations” as well as “access to information on the state of the environment”. The Constitution also requires the “rational exploitation of forests, waters and pastures based on the principle of sustainable development”. The nature protection legal framework is composed of all levels and types of legal and normative acts, beginning with the constitution of the Republic of Albania, specific laws, governmental decisions, instructions, orders, regulations, norms, standards etc. The administration and protection of protected areas is based on the Law No. 8906, date 06.06.2002 “On protected areas”. The subject of this law is the declaration, preservation, administration, management and use of protected areas and their natural and biological resources; the facilitation of conditions for the development of environmental tourism, for the information and education of the general public and for economic profits, direct or indirect, to the local population, to the public and private sector. The purpose of this law is to provide special protection for important components of natural reserves, biodiversity and nature as a whole, through the establishment of protected areas. This law regulates the protection of six categories of protected areas, applied in the territory of the Republic of Albania. The categorization of areas, status and level of protection for each area is based on the criteria of International Union of Nature Conservation (IUCN). The law pays special attention to forests, waters and other natural resources within protected areas that shall be excluded from classification as forests for utilization. Management of forests and forest property, of waters and water property, as well as other properties in state ownership located inside a protected area shall be performed by the administration of the protected area. This administration shall exercise such activities directly or through an authorized subject. Where these properties are in private ownership they shall be managed and utilized by the owner and legal user provided that this management is in compliance with area management plan approved by the Ministry of Environment. Dispositions of this law regulates also the procedures for the declaration of a PA, removal and change of the status of PA and its buffer zone, management plans and their implementation,
  • 17. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org ownership in PA, activities in PA, the right to visit a PA, monitoring and administration bodies, environmental impact assessment, objectives of Ecological network, development, planning, coordination and direction of ecological network, etc. The law is also followed by several decisions on the administration of protected areas, such as the Decision “on the procedures for the proposal and declaration of protected areas and buffer zones”, Decision “on the administration of protected areas” and the Decision “on the re- declaration of some protected areas”. Law no. 9385 dated 04.05.2005 “On forests and the forest police” is the main law covering the forestry sector. Its objective is the administration, protection, enlarging and treatment of the forests aiming the environmental conservation and the production of wood material and other forest products. Based in this law the forest stock is composed of forests and forest land and is organized on the basis of the forest economies. There are three categories of forest ownership:  State forests- forests in the state property  Communal forests – forests property of the state given in use to a village, some villages or to the commune  Private forests – the groups of woods or afforestations that are created or do exist into the lands in private property. The status of the communal forests is defined in the law and supporting this law it is also approved a regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food “On the transfer of the forests and pastures in communal use and their administration”. This regulation decides the criteria for transferring the state forests and pastures in communal ones. According to this regulation, the communal forests are the forests property of the state, which use right is given to the villagers with permanent residence in the village for completing their needs with working material, fire- wood, grazing and other uses provided by the forests. It can be given only 0.4 – 1.0 ha per family to the permanent village residents without touching the other users interests. These are areas within the territory of the commune and are divided by the previous forest economies. While the users organized in associations registered in the respective district court have the right of using communal forests and pastures in larger surfaces that the above quote. The surface of the communal forests and pastures is defined by the DGFP and the Local Government (Commune) in conformity with the Laws on Forests and Pastures. In the contract signed by the commune and the Users it is defined an utilization period of time of 10 years, the same with the period of the implementation of the management plan. The communal forests have to be managed through the management plans which have to be designed by licensed physical and juridical persons contracted by the Communes. The management plans must be designed taking in consideration the social-economic state of the commune, position of forests and pastures, administering traditions, the predisposition of the local population to be organized for a rational use of these resources, the proportion between the high forests, coppices and shrubs, the degrading level and their improving potential and the actual needs for fire-wood and grazing. The private forests are another category of the forestry stock defined in the main forestry law as the groups of woods or afforestations that are created or do exist into the lands in private property. The criteria for defining the private forests and the rules for their administration are to
  • 18. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org be defined with a regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The state supports the creation of private forests with investments and technical assistance. The Private forest owners have not the right to change the destination or apply deforestation on private forests without the approval of the respective organs without paying the defined fees which will be used for the afforestation of another surface with the same dimensions (Article 7). It is forbidden to private owners to carry out any activity that leads to the decrease of the productivity, be barrier for the regeneration or reduce the protective and social functions of the forests. Medicinal and aromatic plants. The medicinal and aromatic plants are supported and their administration and management is regulated with the law no. 7722, Date 15.06.1993 “On the protection of the natural medicinal, ethero-oil and tanifer plants”. Their status of ownership and administration is similar to the ones of the land surface where they are growing up. It is the DGFP that s responsible for their protection and increase. It is the DGFP that gives the permission for collection and accumulation of these herbs. The physical or juridical persons interested to collect natural medical, ethero-oil and tanifer plants are obliged to be provided with permission by the Directorate of Forest Service in the district where these plants are grown up (article 3). Their collection must be done according to the technical criteria defined in the regulation issued for the implementation of this law by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, independently by the form of ownership. This regulation defines the time and the ways for collecting these plants. The Minister of Agriculture and Food, every year in October issue a list with all the natural medicinal, oil-etheric plants that are diminishing and which are in danger to be disappeared. It is forbidden that the plants included in such lists be collected accumulated and exported for a defined period of time until they be regenerated (article 4). Order no. 88 dated 14.11.2002 “On the protection of the endangered or rare plants in Albania” is the last one issued by the Minister of Agriculture and Food according also to the Annex 1 of the convention “On the protection of the vegetation, wild life and natural environment in Europe”. Every action against the dispositions of this law, when the value of the collected herbs is over 1000 leks, is considered as a administrative infringement and is condemned with fines from 250 –10000 Albanian Leke (ALL) and with the confiscation of the material collected or its value in ALL when there is lack of material (article 7). The most part of the non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can be found in wild state in pasture areas. The collection, accumulation, processing and sale of the medicinal and aromatic plantsare done by the private individuals or subjects. Hunting activities. The law no. 7875, Date 23.11.1994 “On the protection of the wild life and hunting” regulates the hunting activities in the Republic of Albania. There are also some regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Directorate General of Forests and Pastures, which regulate the administration, management, development, preservation and protection of the wild life and hunting activities. Based on the law, the hunting stock is composed by the wild life and the surface of hunting stock (including the forest, pastures and meadows). (articles 6, 7). The hunting takes place in hunting areas classified according to these categories: • Free hunting areas • Repopulation areas and areas for catching hunt with populating scopes. • Hunting reserves • Wild life reserves
  • 19. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org The inventorying of the wildlife species is a DGFP task and on the basis of this inventory the DGFP designs the national hunting plan after being consulted with the Ministry of Environment and with other interested institutions.(article 11) The hunting activities can be exercised by Albanian and foreign (physical and juridical persons). The legal requests for exercising the hunting activities are defined in this law as following: “The persons to exercise the hunting activities have to be over 18 years old and to be provided with a hunting permission. The annual hunting permission is provided by the association of the sportive hunters of the district and is valuable in all the district territory” (article 22). The permission for exercising the hunting activities by the foreign (physical and juridical persons) with the conditions for exercising these activities is provided by the DGFP. When the hunter is presented for the first time for being provided with the hunting permission and for the permission for keeping the hunting arms has to be tested by a commission established in each district for this purpose. The state promotes private investments aiming the administration and preservation of wild life. DGFP can sign protocol of agreements with Albanian and foreign (physical and juridical) persons for growing up the wild animals for hunting and other services related to the scope of this law. The Directorates of Forest Services (DFS) can sign contracts of 1 –3 years period and that can be re-contracted after this period with other subjects for exercising tourist hunting. It is also practiced the renting of hunting reserves to the Albanian or foreign hunters. The Fees for collecting the hunt and exercising the hunting activities, for the entrance in the hunting, wild life and natural reserves, for renting or other related issues be defined by DGFP and Ministry of Finances. Each hunter is obliged to respect and implement the hunting calendar and is also obliged to pay the respective taxes and fees defined in other legal dispositions. There are defined various cases of prohibitions in the hunting activities aiming the protection of the wild life (article 35). The forest service police in cases of finding persons in the hunting areas provided with hunting means and equipment, or in cases when they identify infringements of this law and other sub- legal acts, have the right to ask the persons for their ID, arms and other means and to control the killed hunt and fish at any time and any place. In cases of infringements the hunt is confiscated and the arms or other hunting means are sequestered by the DFS structures. The European charter on hunting and biodiversity approved in December 2007 was very appropriate for Albania as it was the time when a separate law dedicated only to hunting was being drafted in the country. At that time Albania also started the process of the integration to the EU after the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, therefore the transposition of the EU legislation was a priority. In this context the new Law “On hunting” no. 10253, of 11.3.2010 was elaborated. In this law the principles of the European charter on hunting and biodiversity have been applied as major principles upon which the management of a sustainable hunting activity is carried out in practice in the ground. Since April 2010 when the law entered into force, several by-laws are also approved to make it implementable in practice. To be mentioned are: the Government Decree of July 2010 on the list of huntable species in Albania, Government Decree also of July 2010 on the hunting season in the Republic of Albania. Both decrees respect the hunting charter as well as the Birds Directive (2009/147/EEC) principles. After that, based on the criteria established by the new law to ensure a sustainable hunting activity, new hunting areas were defined for the Albania. As the result 252 hunting areas were approved after studies and mapping for each area defined.
  • 20. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org The law on Protected Areas The purpose of this law is: 1. To provide special protection of important components of natural reserves, of biodiversity and the natural, as a whole, through the establishment of protected areas. 2. Protected areas are set to provide the preservation and regeneration of natural habitats, of species, of natural reserves and landscapes. 3. This law regulates the protection of six (6) categories of protected areas, applied in the territory of the Republic of Albania. The categorization of areas, status and level of protection for each area is based on the criteria of World Center of Nature Conservation. Decision of Council of Ministers for the approval of the National Environmental Action Plan The National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), which was prepared in 1994 and updated in 2002, assisted by the EU PHARE Programme and the World Bank, is the basic document that presents the governmental policy in the area of environmental protection. The main objective of the NEAP is to create the basis in ensuring an integrated environmental administration. It aims at making the environmental administration more effective, improving the capacities of the institutions, communities and individuals, mitigating and preventing environmental problems, strengthening the basis for the utilization of natural resources in line with the principle of sustainable development and with promoting economic growth and the reduction of poverty. The updated National Environmental Action Plan is not a repeat of the National Environmental Action Plan which was approved by the Government of Albania in 1994. It starts from the achievements in Albania, the shortcomings and present national environmental problems, the regional and global tendency in environmental policies and the respective action plans, the consideration of the environmental protection as a national priority and the increase of awareness of the decision-makers, the public and the community. Based on these considerations this plan establishes a series of important tasks and responsibilities for many actors, whose successful fulfillment and implementation is expected to improve the environmental situation at a low cost. Some of the main requirements for this Plan to achieve the abovementioned objective are:  Design of environmental sectoral policies and the implementation of the respective action plans,  Strengthening of the national system of environmental management with all its components,  Preservation, development and sustainable utilization of natural resources,  Increase in the utilization of renewable resources as opposed to non-renewable resources,  Completion of the legal regulatory framework, whilst ensuring its approximation with the European Acquis Communautaire, and its enforcement,  Increase of the gradual transfer of the natural resource management process to the community,  Strengthening of the role of the public and civil society,
  • 21. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org  Sustainable rehabilitation of the hot spots and sensitive environmental areas,  Promotion and education of prevention practices as opposed to corrective practices,  Establishing the need for an environmental impact assessment for defined activities,  Strategic environmental assessment of plans, Programmes and policies,  Meeting the obligations resulting from the signature of international agreements and the active participation in regional and global environmental Programmes,  Active involvement of local governments in the area of the environment and the development of their legal responsibilities,  Active participation in pan-European and global environmental processes,  Establishment of inter-ministerial communication structures in the field of environmental protection,  Strengthening of the inspectorates that promote environmental protection,  Reinforcing the system for the preparation of environmental information and the increase of the level to it for all the interested parties,  Promotion of clean production technologies,  Encouraging environmental education in schools,  Raising public awareness for environmental protection,  Development of urban administrations, with particular reference to the treatment of urban discharges, and urban planning. The National Environmental Action Plan adopted in the January-2002 (NEAP-2002), has envisaged the preparation of the Action Plans for the control of pollution and hot spots, beside legal and institutional arrangements. Based on the UNEAP-2002, two other recent policy documents such as the National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (2002) and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the European Partnership (2004) emphasized a number of important projects related to the rehabilitation of some hot spots located on the Albanian coast. These documents represent the major actions for environmental protection of the country, which deserve the immediate support from both the state budget and the international community. Besides, a new document was drafted and approved in 2005 namely the “National Plan for Approximation of Legislation”, which contains a list of legal actions to be taken for the approximation of EU legislation, which interest to the coastal and marine environment. 4. National strategic documents (literature review) – explaining all strategic documents relevant for establishment of ecological network (e.g. spatial plan, national biodiversity strategy, environmental action plan, sustainable development strategy, climate change strategy etc.). In 1999 the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) was made. One of the goals of the BSAP was the enlargement and enforcement of the network of protected areas. The updated National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) of 2002 (the original one was from 1992-1993) and National Environmental Strategy (NES) of 2006 elaborate the environmental policies of the country. These updated documents envisage measures to be taken for the protection of environment and normative acts to be approved (NEA, 2000).
  • 22. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org In 2003 an intersectorial committee has been established for the implementation of the NEAP. Despite the good progress, the implementation of the laws is not at a high level. More institutional strengthening is needed and clarification of competencies is recommended to avoid overlapping between institutions. The National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) is the basic document presenting the Government’s policy and general programs in the environmental sector. The NEAP was first prepared with assistance from PHARE and the World Bank in 1994. It was revised in 2001 (covering the period 2002 – 2005) through an extensive consultative process involving a large number of stakeholders organized into thematic work groups. The main issues identified through the NEAP are:  Development of policies and programs;  Improvement and completing the legal framework;  Institutional strengthening and capacity building;  Public awareness rising. Priority investments are to focus on watershed management, forestry, flood control, solid waste management, water supply, sewage systems and urban management. However, the revised NEAP does not set out priorities. Moreover, although each proposed activity in the NEAP is costs; most funds have only been requested and not secured. An inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, has been set up to enable implementation of the revised NEAP. Other main environmental policy documents include the National Water Strategy (1996); the National Waste management plan (1996); the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2000); the ‘Green Strategy’ (1998) developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food; the National Strategy for the Development of the Forestry and Pastures in Albania (2005); the National Strategy for Tourism Development (2003), and the National Energy Strategy. A law on biodiversity protection has been approved and it defines the roles and responsibilities of the various Ministries involved in biodiversity conservation. Albania already has a red list of protected species, which protects all endemic and sub-endemic species. This list has to be updated every five years (Misja, 2006; MoEFWA, 2007). The Cross-Sectoral “National Environmental Strategy” (NES) recognizes that “the environment is the source of everything that people need to stay alive and to develop.” referring to the findings of the National Strategy for Socio- Economic Development (NSSED - 2002) and the Priority Action Plan 2003. According to the NES, the main aims of government policy are i) Sustainable Development, and ii) Accession to the European Union. The implementation of this, the second NES, is recognized as a challenge but also as a contribution to the achievement of the above mentioned objectives. The NES recognizes that “the efficient environmental management and the achievement of sustainable development is the major challenge” and Despite that “considerable progress has been made in recent years”, “the sustainability of Albanian development has often been questioned!”. The NES, referring to the Program of the Government of Albania (2005-2009), recognizes that “the rural degradation and poverty, urban
  • 23. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org sprawl, environmental pollution and damage to natural resources are only some of the problems. Bringing the country back on the path of fast but sustainable and balanced development is of vital importance. The Government’s goal will be achieved through an effective blending of sector specific policies into an integrated approach…”. The NES also states that “The integrated approach entails dealing with economic, social and environmental policies in a mutually reinforcing way. A balance must be found between the level of environmental exploitation and environmental protection. Delaying the adoption of this integrated approach and continuing with activities which damage the environment excessively, endanger public health and reduce the quality of life will result in a sharp increase in the overall costs of economic development. This National Environmental Strategy is itself part of the integrated approach being developed in the National Strategy for Development and Integration. It needs to be seen in the context of national policy as a whole. Many of the policies and measures in this Environment Strategy are supported by the programs of action set out in sector strategies, such as water, energy and agriculture. Moreover, they are also supported by more detailed action programs addressing specific issues, such as the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and the National Waste Management Plan. This National Environmental Strategy brings together the most important elements of these actions into a coherent whole”. Albania has no explicit “National Strategy for Sustainable Development”, but the country approved its “National Strategy for Development and Integration” (NSDI, 2007-2013) in 2006. The NSDI is considered to be de facto the instrument of planning for sustainable development in Albania, coordinating the objectives of development and those of integration into the European Union. The NSDI is prepared within the framework of the Integrated Planning System as a coherent reflection of sector and crosscutting strategies. Every other Sector or Intersectorial National Strategy built after the approval of the NSDI in 2006, has been integrated within the NSDI priorities and timeline. The NSDI succeeded the previous “National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (NSSED)”. The NSDI is considered a medium- to long-term document with a planning horizon covering the period 2007-2013, which coincides also with the financial framework of the European Union and of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in particular. 5. National protected areas system – overview of the network of protected areas at national level (categorisation, number and size of PAs, conservation objectives, management of PAs, main obstacles/problems, positive examples, plans/strategies for expansion of the PA network, possibilities for creation of ecological network). The legal framework for the designation of NPs in Albania can be traced back to 1960 with the declaration of Dajti Mountain as a protected area. In 1966 the Forest NP network was formed by the proclamation of seven new NPs, including Llogora NP. Between the years 1981– 1986 a joint regulation was issued by the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the Minister for Communal Economy “Regulation for the administration, criteria for establishing, treating and maintaining the Forest NPs”. This gave the District Forest Service (DFS) responsibility for the administration of the Parks and imposed a series of regulations to forbid a range of damaging activities. From 1991 until 2002 a wide range of laws were passed which cover a range of
  • 24. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org protected area issues, however, there appeared to be confusion to who and how the laws and regulations should be implemented. As a result the protected areas suffered levels of degradation since the laws could not be satisfactorily implemented. The administration and management of protected areas is based on Law No. 8906 dated 6 June 2002 “On Protected Areas”. The objective of this law is the designation, preservation, administration, management and use of protected areas and their natural and biological resources; the facilitation of conditions for the development of environmental tourism, for the information and education of the general public and for direct or indirect economic profits, by the local population, by the public and private sector. This law regulates the protection of six categories of protected areas, applied in the territory of the Republic of Albania. The categorization of areas, the status, and level of protection for each area is based on the criteria of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The law pays special attention to forests, waters and other natural resources within protected areas by assigning their management to site administrations. Additionally, forests in PAs are to be considered as forest areas within PA and therefore excluded from the ‘forests for utilization’ classification. It has to be examined, if this clause is also applicable for communal forests within protected areas. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration is the main institution responsible for the protection of environmental values in Albania. According to the legal provisions, MoEFWA identifies protected areas and approves management plans. The law provides the possibility to transfer already existing administration of protected areas to new or different administration bodies or the MoEFWA itself upon approval of the Council of Ministers (CoM) (Art 23, § 1-4). Historically, the mandate for protected area management was within the General Directorate for Forestry and Pastures (GDFP). The new changes on the Government structures, after the general political elections of July 3rd , 2005, reallocated several responsibilities of the former DGFP to the new Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration. The law is followed by a series of Government decrees and regulations as following.  The decree “On the administration of protected areas”, defines that the State Authority for the administration of protected areas was General Directorate of Forestry and Pasture (since 2005 is the MoEFWA, the Directorate for Nature Protection Policies), which should establish a separate administration for protected areas. The decree also defines the main duties and responsibilities of the administration.  The decree “On the procedures for the proposal and declaration of protected areas and buffer zones” defines the procedures for the proposal and declaration of protected areas and buffer zones, as well as criteria and requirements for the selection of these areas.  The decree “On the establishment of the Management Boards for protected areas” defines that Management Boards are established for protected areas of category II, IV and V. The decree also defines the duties and responsibilities of the Management Boards as well as their composition. Management Board members represent the relevant stakeholders and monitor the implementation of the management plan for the protected area and coordinate the activities of different institutions working within the area.
  • 25. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org The primary goal of the law “For the Protected Areas” is to provide special protection of the most important components of natural reserves, biodiversity and in general nature, through the implementation of a protected areas network based on the IUCN categories system. Defined in the law are the priorities and strategic objectives for the management of each protected areas category. 5.1.Network of the protected areas in Albania The total number of protected areas is 798 (including nature monuments), covering an area of 434,298.6 hectares (see table below: source MoEFWA, 2012). This is 15.11 % of the territory of Albania (see the map of PA: source MoEFWA, 2012). Table 2. Protected areas network in Albania Nr. Category according to IUCN Number of sites Surface area (Ha) % national territory 1 Strict Nature Reserve 2 4,800.0 2 National Park 15 188,945.1 3 Nature Monuments 750 3,470.0 4 Nature Managed Reserve/Nature Parks 22 122,974.1 5 Protected Landscape 5 95,864.4 6 Protected area of Managed Reserve 4 18,245.0 TOTAL 798 434,298.6 15.11 Source: MoEFWA, DNP (2012) Based on the law, important or threatened parts of the country’s territory are proclaimed as protected areas, according to the following categories: a) Strict natural reserve / scientific reserve (I Category); b) National Park (II Category); c) Nature Monument (III Category); d) Managed Nature Reserve/natural park (IV Category); e) Protected landscape (V Category); f) Protected area of managed resources/ protected area with multiple use (VI Category). Law No. 9868, dated 04.02.2008 on some addendums and changes to the Law No. 8906, dated 6.6.2002 "On protected areas", defines the criteria for proclaiming protected areas as well recognizes special protected areas of interest to the European Community, initially providing the possibility for assessment of habitats of interest to the European Community included in the annexes of the Habitats Directive and then to propose these areas based on criteria established by law in accordance to Habitats Directive.
  • 26. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Figure 6. Map of Protected Areas of Albania, June 2012 (source MoEFWA – Biodiversity Directorate) Also, the law sets the internal sub-zoning for each protected area. The concept of division of a protected area territory into functional sub zones based on their characteristics, facilitates the performance of community activities in the territories of protected areas, provides "buffer" or
  • 27. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org mitigating effects and better characterize the properties of natural areas. The law defines the procedures for proclaiming protected areas in regard to local government and landowners. Till now marine protected areas (MPAs) are very few and included as parts of the terrestrial PAs. Based on this situation protection of marine environment is defined as an important priority for the future. The first MPA in Albania was designated in 2010 as the “Karaburuni peninsula-Sazani island” protected area. There are three Ramsar sites of wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitats: Karavasta lagoon, Butrinti wetland complex and Shkodra Lake and Buna river wetland complex. The proclamation of Prespa lakes area as a Ramsar side is in undergoing process. 6. Progress of the work with regard to ecological networks in respective countries – an inventory of implemented/ongoing projects on designating sites relevant for ecological networks and approaches/initiatives relevant for establishment of ecological network (ex. Indicative map of PEEN in South-Eastern European countries, Development of Emerald Network, Important Bird Areas (IBA), Important Plant Areas (IPA), Prime Butterfly Areas (PBA), Green Belt etc., as well as national aspects of Natura 2000 Network). Please provide all available maps (shape files, if possible, or any other format). 6.1. Emerald network development in Albania - Albania signed the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979) on 31 October 1995 and ratified it on 13 January 1999. - In 2001 the Council of Europe invited Albania to start the Emerald Network pilot project. The project started in April 2002, according to the contract signed on 25 February 2002 between the Ministry of the Environment of Albania and the Council of Europe. Some of sites that have been proposed for the inclusion into the Emerald network: Code Site name in Albanian Site name in English AL 0000001 Parku kombetar i Llogarase Llogara National Park AL 0000002 Parku Kombetar i Divjake Divjake National Park AL 0000003 Parku Kombetar i Prespes Prespa National Park AL 0000004 Park Kombetar i Butrintit Butrinti National Park AL 0000005 Reserve Strikte Natyrore e Allamanit (e propozuar) Allamani Strict Nature Reserve (proposed) AL 0000006 Parku Kombetar i Tomorrit Tomorri National Park
  • 28. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Figure 3. Map of proposed Emerald sites for Albania (source: MoEFWA, 2010) 3 phases: - a) During the pilot project, completed in 2003, the first six potential ASCI-s of Albania were identified. - b) October 2005-November 2006, 14 potential ASCI-s were identified, the Emerald database was filled for all of them, including GIS maps of the sites. (Funding coming from CARDS programme through the European Environment Agency) - c) In 2008 the third Emerald project completed the full picture of the network of potential ASCI-s with 5 other sites.
  • 29. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Activities and products of the Emerald project in Albania • Building up of a national team of experts - Among the best Albanian scientists and researchers of fauna and flora - protected areas experts, - GIS expert was hired in order to fulfill the requirements for GIS maps of sites as well as distribution maps for species. Organization of workshops for the training of the national team of experts - The first national workshop - 22-23 April 2003 with the participation of Ms. Helene Bouguessa from the Council of Europe and Mr. Marc Roekaerts the Council of Europe, consultant for the Emerald network. - In the course of the second project a second national workshop was held in 16-17 January 2006, again with the participation of Mr. Roekaerts. - During the third project three meetings of the team of experts were held.  •Identification of species and habitats is made based on the biogeographical regions and in accordance with Resolution no. 6 (1996) for species and Resolution no. 4 (1998) for habitats. • Pre-selection of potential ASCI-s According to criteria set out, as well as of fauna and flora species for which distribution maps are prepared, based on the existing knowledge for the indicative presence of these species in the country • Field work Some expeditions on the ground were made for data collection and site boundary determination as well as data regarding distribution of selected animal and plant species as well as habitat mapping; Confirmation of pre-selected ASCI-s and their description After data collection in the field the final confirmation of the pre-selected sites took place in the focus of meeting the criteria requirements. In the same time a detailed description regarding pressures identified in and around the site, regardless of the fact that the site was a already designated Protected Area or a proposed one. Filling up of the database For each site, with the aim to fill at least 80 % of the required field for all the data for each of 25 potential ASCI-s. Each expert in his field of expertise prepared his/her part related to the database sheets. In the course of the third project a revision of all sites also took place, in order to double check for possible mistakes and also in the light of the fact that any potential new data that have been collected after the previous two phases of the Emerald project Elaboration of maps with digital boundaries in the form of shape files for each site and the presentation of all sites in a single GIS map for Albania,
  • 30. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org 6.3. IPA Albania Following the Second National Report on Biodiversity Enabling activities in Albania, there has been identified forty five IPAs covering an area of 384,824 hectares and including 15 transboundary sites; 4 with Montenegro, 2 with Kosovo, 5 with Macedonia FYR and 4 with Greece (MEFWA, 2006). These IPAs contain a huge variety of habitats; forests, maquis, grassland and wetland and are located throughout the country, in the mountain ranges in the north, south and east as well as along the coast in the west and around the lakes in the east. One hundred and thirty three European threatened habitats (from the EU Habitat Directive and the Bern Convention annexes) are found in Albania and have been used alongside threatened species to identify Albania IPAs under criterion C. One hundred ninety six red listed species can be found on these 45 IPA, these are not all ‘threatened’ but are frequently ‘rare’ on a nationally or global scale. Many are also Albanian and/or Balkan endemic species. Globally threatened species such as Wulfenia baldacci and Ligusticum albanicum are two endemics that are restricted to the Northern Albanian Alps. Two regionally threatened mosses are also restricted to a single site in Albania: Buxbaumia viridis (to Northern Albanian Alps IPA) and Mannia triandra (to Karaburun - Mali i Çikës IPA). The regionally threatened aquatic fern Salvia natans is found on Roskoveci swamp and the threatened vascular plant Marsilea quadifolia is found in Shkodra Lake and Fritillaria messanensis subsp. gracilis in Gjallicë-Korritnik. Albanian IPAs are subject to various levels of protection some sites have more than one type of designation. Seven IPAs have no protected area status and for others there are no clear management plans to provide information on how to safeguard the biodiversity present, special attention should be given to these sites. (a) No. of IPAs: 45 (b) No. of IPAs from 10 selected sites with single country endemic species: 8 (c) No. of IPAs from 10 selected sites with very restricted species (stenoendemics): 8 Threats to IPAs in Albania The main threats to IPAs in Albania are overgrazing, illegal deforestation, burning of vegetation, tourism development and recreational habitat fragmentation and eutrophication (enrichment). Albania: flora, vegetation and plant conservation Albania is situated in the north east of the Mediterranean basin, covering 28,748km2 including 480km of coastline on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Albania shares borders with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia FYR and Greece and is an integral part of the Balkan Peninsula; an area of considerable plant endemism. Mountains cover two thirds of Albania; these are frequently rugged and difficult to access. Prokletije range in the north is the southern end of limestone massif of the Dinaric Alps, mountains of the Serpentine zone (named after the bed rock) extend from Prokletije south to the Greek border and in the east the Eastern highlands form the border with Macedonia (including the highest peak in Albania, Mount Korabi – 2754m). Three important lakes occur on the eastern border with Macedonia and Greece: Ohrid (the deepest lake in the Balkans, Macro Prespa and Micro Prespa while Albania shares the biggest lake in the Balkans (Lake Shkodra) with Montenegro. The coastline also has a high biological diversity with approximately 100 km2 of wetlands (most of them adjacent to the Adriatic Sea). The Albania
  • 31. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org flora contains 3200 species of vascular plants of which 27are national endemics and 160 endemic to the Balkans. Approximately 30% of the European flora is present in Albania. The latest Albanian national plant red list was produced in 2007 (Order Nr.146, dt. 8.5.2007) and contains 365 plant species, 74 % of which are threatened on a national level (CR, EN, VU). The country has 53 protected areas and monuments (June 2010). Figure 4 . IPAs of Albania (source: MoEFWA, 2012) 6.4. Three Albanian IPAs that are priorities for conservation action Gramozi Mountain IPA (Mali i Gramozit) Gramozi Mountain IPA is located in the south-east of Albania in the north Pindos Mountains on the border with Greece. The site is dominated by pasture, with forests with Abies borisii-regis and Fagus sylvatica in the south east of the site. There are also large communities of endemic black pine forest (Pinus nigra). Ten European threatened habitats (forest, grassland and screes)
  • 32. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org are found on this IPA including four priority habitats that are threatened throughout the Mediterranean: semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland on calcareous substrates, Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands, (sub-) Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines and Juniperus oxycedrus woods. Various restricted range species are present on the site such as Cistus albanicus and Chaerophyllum heldreichii, (which are threatened and endemic to Albania), and Balkan endemics such as Crocus cvijicii limited to mountains in south west Macedonia/south east Albania/north east Greece. Threats from natural events (disease/fire/drought) have increased over the last five years, overgrazing and unsustainable plant exploitation are also significant threats to the integrity of this site. The IPA is not protected and there is no management plan. Korabi Mountain IPA (Mali i Korabi) Korabi Mountain IPA is located in north eastern part of Albania and the mountain crosses the border into Macedonia FYR (where it is also an IPA). The area has predominately limestone substrates with outcrops of siliceous rocks at higher elevations. A significant part of the site is alpine pastures where many local endemic species are found; Draba korabensis, Ranunculus degenii and Ranunculus wettsteinii are only found on Korabi Mountain and Phyteuma pseudorbicularis, Scrophularia bosniaca, Viola kosaninii and Crocus scardicus are Balkan endemics with very restricted ranges. Thirteen European threatened habitats are present on this site (alpine grassland, rocky habitats, river and forests) including the priority habitats: Endemic forests with Juniperus spp., specific calcareous or basophilic grasslands, xeric sand calcareous grasslands and active raised bogs. Deforestation is an increasing threat and overgrazing is a severe problem at this IPA. The site has been proclaimed as Nature Park in 2011. Tomorri Mountain IPA (Mali i Tomorrit) Tomorri Mt. is the highest mountain in south-western Albania. The upper part is pasture, whereas the sub alpine belt is dominated by forest of Bosnian pine (Pinus heldereichii) and beech (Fagus sylvatica). The site is also an important point of pilgrimage for the region. Threatened species Astragalus autranii, Carduus cronicus and Onosma mattirolii are endemic to this mountain site. Considerable numbers of Balkan endemics species are also present: Pinus heldereichii, Melampyrum heracleoticum, Fritillaria graeca, Centaurea graeca, Pedicularis graeca and Sideritis raeseri. Tomorri hosts twelve European threatened habitats including four priorities: specific calcareous or basophilic grasslands, xeric sand calcareous grasslands and Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands. Overgrazing and burning of vegetation are severe at this site the threat from deforestation is decreasing. This area (4000 ha) was declared a Protected Area in 1996 in the category of ‘National Park’. 6.5. Green Belt initiative Albania has participated in the process of Green belt initiative for the identification of the areas of ecological network in the countries where the former so called “iron curtain” was placed prior to 1990. According to knowledge all boundary areas of Albania (Albanian Alps, Korab- Korritnik, Shebenik jabllanica, Prespa National Park, Shelegura etc) are core zones for the large
  • 33. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org carnivores like brown bear, Balkan lynx and wolf. These areas are overlapping in direct way with Ballkan Green Belt at the transboundary zones with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. While the actions for proclaiming the protected areas along the Balkan Green Belt has been going in the satisfactory way the real administration an dmanagment of the protected areas is far for the requirements that will secure habitats and ecosystem conservation. The issue of forest degradation remains a serious one. Having in mind connectivity with Mavrovo National Park (Macedonia) Alps parks (Montenegro and Kosovo) and Prespa-Pindos Parks in Greece, there is a need for urgent ground action in order to secure the survival of large carnivores, particularly Balkan lynx. There is still a strong need for rising awareness through use of Balkan Green Belt programme among local concerned people and not only, as well as active participation in further developments including transboundary actions and conservation projects. In order to secure healthy forest and ecosystems, there is a need that along Balkan Green Belt protected areas network to be promoted conservation development initiatives where the local communities reduce impact to natural ecosystem and generate alternative incomes. Further to above there is a need fo common development programmes of transboundary contexts, joint management plans in order to secure similar measures and conservation actions, common visions and harmonised systems and practices in regard to protected areas, that are vital for the future of species and habitats. 7. Key stakeholders – review the key stakeholders for establishing ecological network (expert/scientific institutions, organisations, knowledge/data holders, experts, etc.), duties and responsibilities, capacities and contacts. The institutional reform is still on in Albania. After the general elections of July 2005 and creation of the new Government there are expected some re-shaping and re-arrangement of the Government structures, that will affect the existing institutional framework. Anyway, there is expected that environment will be an important theme in the political agenda of the new Government. Recent developments show that the Ministry of Environment will have a stronger voice within the Government, because some structures that were part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MoAF) and Ministry of Territorial Adjustment and Tourism (MoTAT), such as General Directorate of Forest and Pasture (GDFP), Fishing Department, and Water Secretariat are already parts of the newly established Ministry of Environment. This is expected to have positive impacts both on planning and implementation of environmental policies. The following is a short analysis of the existing institutional framework as it stands today, before the reform of the new Government will fully take place. In institutional terms, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is the highest governmental body responsible for environmental protection, under the Council of Ministers. MoE was created in September 2001 from the National Environmental Agency, which had been established in 1998, based on the Committee for Environmental Protection in the Ministry of Health and Environment. DFID has provided the Ministry of Environment with long-term institutional support. The DFID project is divided into two phases of implementation: Phase 1, already completed, aimed at providing institutional strengthening support in terms of organizational and functional review of
  • 34. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org the structures of the new Ministry of Environment and its regional inspectorates; Phase 2, currently under implementation, is focused on implementing the institutional changes and advising the effective functioning of the Ministry of Environment and developing the inspection/permitting tasks of the MoE and the Regional Environmental Agencies (REAs). The Regional Environmental Agencies (REA), established at prefecture level, control and ensure the implementation of the environmental legal framework; supervise and apply preliminary environmental licensing, and; collect and process the data on the environmental situation at municipal and prefecture level. Other inspectorates such as the Sanitation Inspectorate, the Forest Police and the Construction Police play an important role. In line with the Law on Local Government, municipalities (district level urban areas) are assigned the following environmental responsibilities: the management of water supplies, closed industrial sites, waste and urban green areas. However, the municipalities face enormous challenges as the economy grows and associated environmental problems such as solid waste and air pollution increase. In response, many municipalities have prepared Local Environment Action Plans and Local Action Plans for Environment and Health. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF), through the Directorate of Forests and Pastures (GDFP), the Department of Land Management and the Department of Fishing, has carried out respectively the management of forests, agriculture land and fisheries. It will continue to do so for the agriculture land, because the management of forests pastures, waters and fisheries will be the responsibility of the new Ministry of Environment. The Council of Territory Adjustment of the Republic of Albania and the Councils of Territory Adjustment of municipalities and regions are responsible for the decisions related to the territorial planning. The Water Secretariat that acts under the National Council of Waters as well as the respective executive structures manages the water resources. Wastewaters are managed by the Ministry of Territory Planning and Tourism through a specialized Department, even though there is a strong government willingness to pass this responsibility under the local authority. National policies and monitoring of waste waters is also within the focus of the Pollution Control Directorate of the Ministry of Environment. Many sectorial ministries have established environmental units, although the roles and responsibilities of these units have not been fully clarified. The mechanisms for communication and collaboration between the units and The MoEFWA have also to be clarified. At the national level, a number of high level inter-ministerial structures with a permanent or temporary mandate, decision-making or advising, exist such as: the Committee of Energy Policies (all the latter are chaired by the Prime Minister); Council of Tourism Policies, National Council for Nature and Biodiversity (NCNB), Steering Committee of National Environmental Health Action Plan, Steering Committee of the National Environmental Action Plan (all the latter are chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister). The MoEFWA is represented at the highest level in all the above-mentioned committees. Scientific institutes associated with the Convention include the Academy of Sciences (Institute of Biological Research, Institute of Hydrometeorology, etc), the University of Tirana (Faculty of Natural Sciences, Museum of Natural Sciences, Botanical Garden, etc) and research institutions dependent on ministries (Institute of Fishery Research, Institute of Forest and Pastures Research, etc). The majority of these institutions contribute to monitoring, based on government decisions
  • 35. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org and through financial support from the government. The MoEFWA also sub-contracts these institutes to collect information and perform other Convention-related tasks. The MoEFWA recently established the Institute for Environment. INSTAT is the government statistical agency formally responsible for collecting and storing information. When preparing reports to international conventions, the Ministry of Environment requests official data from INSTAT. Although INSTAT collects information from institutes across the country, in some cases the data may be incomplete, out-of-date or inconsistent. The Ministry of Environment may have more direct access to more reliable information than INSTAT. The number of environmental NGOs in Albania is estimated between 80-100, of which 77 are having biodiversity conservation as one of their priorities. They are all established after democratic changes of the year 1991. At the beginning they were all based in the capital (Tirana). Later on new branches or new NGOs were established at regional and local level, but still half of the environmental NGOs are based in Tirana (39 NGOs). In general, the NGOs are independent, have good expertise (although limited in number); yet they often have insufficient facilities and equipment. Their main areas of activity include environmental education and raising awareness. There is no umbrella organization to represent the interests of NGOs, hence cooperation and communication amongst the NGOs is not well developed, although the Albanian branch of the Regional Environmental Centre (REC) does support coordination. (A profile of the Albanian NGOs, including the list of NGOs, their distribution and projects implemented by them, is given in the annex 5 of this report). The GEF small grants program (SGP) has been running since 1998 and supports NGOs to implement projects related to implementing one or more of the Global Environment Conventions (A full list of projects implemented by NGOs supported financially by GEF/SGP is provided by the appendix 3 at the end of this report). The SGP is considered a success by most stakeholders. Over the years, the SGP has held many consultations across the country, and has developed contacts with a large and representative network of NGOs. NCSA will coordinate its activities with the GEF SPG to build on knowledge and experience accumulated throughout the years of its successful operations in the country. SGP will also serve as an important platform for outreach and consultations with the NGOs and their involvement in the NCSA process. 8. Conclusions And the way forward – regarding the presence of data/information related to ecological network development, availability, knowledge and information gaps, limitations/obstacles for creating ecological network The identification of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs) was carried out in the period 2002-2008 for Albania. As the result 25 potential Emerald sites were identified and studied. The process of evaluation by the Council of Europe is ongoing.
  • 36. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org In Albania, capacities are available for implementing at certain extent provisions of the CBD and other documents of global importance. But there are still gaps. Generally, capacities for implementing the CBD and ‘ecological network development ‘ have improved in recent years, in particular within the process of negotiating a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, which will set the conditions for the country’s eventual accession to the EU. In some areas this has resulted in significant strengthening of capacities for implementing the CBD. It has to be stressed, however, that a major driving force for positive development has not been an ambition to improve implementation of the CBD, but rather an effort for successful and timely completion of the SAA negotiations with the EU. Further to identification, enhancement and other aspects connected with national particularities of potential ecological network has to be considered. The key feature of the landscape, conservation and policy has to be integrated to entire environmental management. Along with international agreement — the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy that stimulated the further development of ecological network in Albania, the adjectives of the country for being fully integrated in EU, very soon will recommend that the national representative system of protected areas follow the Natura 2000 approach, that is strong obligation for full membership and that focus their limited biodiversity-conservation resources on adapting their protected-area systems to comply with the new requirements. To that fact ecological networking itself and in an integrated regional one is in line with all developments. 3. References Albania, Republic of. 2002. “National Report on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity. 49 pp. Bego F., Bino T., Jorgo G., 1998. Faunistic Values of the delta of Drini River. In Mbrojtja dhe shfrytezimi i qendrueshem i ligatinave ne pellgun e Mesdheut;Laguna Kune-Vain, Lezhe, Shqiperi. MedWet, Ecat-Tirana, AKM (1998): pp 30-50 Bego F., 1999. Mammalofauna e Shqiperise: gjendja e saj e njohjes dhe ruajtjes. (Communication, Museum of Natural Sciences, Tirana); 10pp Bego F., 2005. On the status and distribution of the large carnivores (Mammalia: Carnivora: brown bear, wolf and lynx) in Albania. AJNTS: 2005 (1) XI (17): 41-53 CCENF, 2011. ‘Strategy for the Conservation of the Balkan lynx in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania’ (2008) Strasbourg Dida M., Dragoti N., Kromidha G., Fierza Gj. 2004. Albanian Natural Areas-National Parks. (in Albanian) GTZ. 1998. “Biodiversity Conservation in the Lake District of Ohrid, Prespa and Little Prespa.” Implementing the Biodiversity Convention. 2 pp.
  • 37. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org Ivanov, Gj., A. Stojanov, D. Melovski, E. Keçi, A. Trajce, O. Qazimi, G. Schwaderer, A. Spangenberg, J. Linnell, U. Breitenmoser, and M. von Arx. 2007. Conservation status of the critically endangered Balkan lynx in Albania and Macedonia. Proceedings of 3rd Congress of ecologists of the Republic of Macedonia with international participation, [06.-09.10.2007., Struga.] - Macedonian Ecological Society, Skopje, 2008. Mertzanis, Y., Bousbouras, D. & Bourdakis, S. 2000. Status of brown bear (Ursus arctos L.) populations and habitat in the area of Prespa Lakes. Proceedings of International symposium Sustainable development of Prespa region, Oteshevo, Ministry of Environment, GOA. 2002. “Updated National Environmental Action Plan.” 54 pp. GOA. 2003. “NSSED: Progress Report for Implementation in 2002.” 231 pp. Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration (MEFWA) studies: 2006. Study for the increase of the Protected areas in Albania (in Albanian) and 2007. Biodiversity Enabling Activity; 370 pp. MoEFWA. 2007. Decision No. 146, dt. 8. 5. 2007, for “Approved the red List of Flora and Fauna”. MoEFWA, 2006. National Strategy for Development and Integration, 2007-2013 Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration (MEFWA) studies: 2007. Albanian national plant red list. Misja, K. (2006). Libri and Kuq and Faunës Shqipëtare. Tirane. p. 333. MoEFWA, 2007. Urdher Lista e specieve te flores dhe faunes se Shqiperise. Pp 76 MoEFWA, 2007. Environmental Cross-cutting Strategy, 2007 MoEFWA. State of Environment Report, 2007, 2008, 2009 (www.moe.gov.al) NEA, 2000. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Tirana Radford, E.A., Catullo, G. and Montmollin, B. de. (eds.) (2011). Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region: priority sites for conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Malaga, Spain. Gland, Switzerland and Malaga, Spain: IUCN. VIII + 108 pp. Stojanov, A., Ivanov, Gj., Trajçe, A., Karamanlidis, A., Georgiadis, L., Krambokoukis, L. and Melovski, D. 2012. Conservation Action Plan for Brown bear in the Praspa Lakes’ Watershed. Final Report pp 55 UNEP. 2000. “UNEP Balkans Technical Report: Institutional Capacities for Environmental Protection in Albania.” 23pp.
  • 38. PPNEA - Rr. "Vangjush Furxhi" p.16/sh.1/a.10 , Tirana, Albania - Tel. +355 42256 257 - email. contact@ppnea.org von Arx, M., Breitenmoser-Wuersten, Ch., Zimmermann, F., and Breitenmoser, U. (Eds.), 2004. Status and conservation of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Europe in 2001. KORA Bericht 19: 1-330. KORA, Muri b. Bern. Vangjeli, J., D. Habili, and F. Bego, eds. 1997. “Ecological Survey of the High Forests of Albania” (in Albanian with English summary), Institute of Forest and Pasture Research, Institute of Biological Research, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. 331 pp. World Bank. 2003. “World Bank in Albania.” 78 pp.