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MedWetCoast Albania
Minutes of the 7th meeting of the National Steering Committee of Albanian Project
Date of the meeting : December 18, 2003
Friday 9 January 2004, by Web Team

(JPEG) The meeting was organized in the Ministry of Environment and was headed by Mr. Lufter Xhuveli, Minister of Environment and all NSC members. At the beginning the Minister emphasized the main events having happened since the last NSC meeting. During this period the project has been suspended for more than 1 year due to the donor’s consideration (GEF) regarding the oil drilling activity in Zvernec. He briefed on the meeting’s agenda and introduced the new members of the committee.

The first part of the meeting started with the reporting on the project progress and achievements by the MWC office.

Regarding the national policy and legislation it was stressed the importance of several documents completed, some laws already approved as well as of some documents under preparation. Several activities and contributions of the MWC for the site and biodiversity protection were mentioned as: site diagnosis study, installing and adjourning of the data base of flora, fauna, habitats, developing of a monitoring program for endangered species which is actually at the revision and adoption stage; hydrological and water quality monitoring as well as oil drilling activity. In the meantime the Local Steering Committee meeting has taken place, local NGO training has been carried, a documentary film has been prepared for Narta lagoon, and several other activities supporting the management plans preparatory work. The MWC is going to carry a study on the medical plants of the zone as well as an analysis of mercury and heavy metals in the lagoon. Several discussions and round tables are organized at local and community level regarding the draft Decision of the Council of Ministers on proclaiming of the ’Protected Areas’ of the project site. An important aspect of the project activity has been the experience sharing missions as well as the participation in the regional training on the lagoons monitoring.

(JPEG) In the context of management plans process, the preparatory work is intensified in the second half of 2003 focused on active commitment of the local community, and carrying out concrete management actions on ecosystems protection, awareness activities on the illegal fishing and hunting, evidencing the illegal constructions in the project area accounting on the involvement of local community and local NGO-s as part of these activities. A very useful experience has been the monitoring of the oil drilling activity. In cooperation with the local authorities and MoE was facilitated the assessment carried by the international company ERM, and latter was implemented the monitoring of the oil drilling activity, and then supervision and monitoring the area rehabilitation plan.

NSC was also informed on the GEF MTR Mission on August 11-14, 2003 as well as on the recommendations of the mission; on its goals for the monitoring and evaluation of the results and impacts, provided so with bases for decision making, and any necessary amendments and improvements.

The representatives of the Hydro-meteorological Institute informed on the results and recommendations of their study on hydrological monitoring in the project sites. According to their presentation, there have been carried four expeditions and use was made of the meteorological and hydrological information as well of the archive data of the institute. They have prepared the seasonal bulletins, after processing and analyzing the collected information; a final annual report in four parts was produced at the end comprising: meteorological characteristics, limniological characteristics, monitoring of the water quality in Narta and Orikum as well as monitoring the sea water quality close to the project site, and the evaluation of the microbiological pollution in Vlora bay. The monitoring program was commented and the participants were informed that MWC project is actually working on the revision and preparation of an integrated program (hydro-biological) taking always into consideration the cost implication and the project sustainability. As far as monitoring frequency, is concerned (4 times a year) was considered as insufficient, but on the other hand it was stressed that for some parameters a more complete monitoring could be carried out (at a lower cost) being supported by and using local units or human resources.

NSC was also informed on the RAC3 meeting organized on October 20-23, 2003 in Tunis as well as on its recommendations. The participants received information on the invitation forwarded to Regional Advisory Committee for hosting the RAC 4th in Tirana, on September 2004.

The discussions by the other members treated issues related with the up to date progress of the Project as well as with its future plans. It is worth mentioning the problem of the draft decision for proclaiming project sites as "Protected Areas" as well as its discussion with local government representatives; useful work experiences gained by all actors in the drilling activity and its monitoring; the important role of the LSC as a local structure of the project, its members, as representatives of the institutions and local NGO-s, in supporting at local level the project progress and activities in the zone, but also in trying to convey the project vision, objectives and strategy locally.

Related to the National Strategy of Wetlands there was emphasized its comprehensive character comprising issues on wetlands administration/management, preparation of related documents (policy & technical related at national level) but also of the conventions and agreements signed as commitments with international partners. Our aim is to have a Nationally based RAMSAR Strategy.

It was also mentioned the contribution given by the General Directorate of Fishing in improving the situation of Narta lagoon through yearly investments on the maintenance f the communication channels. It was pointed out the coordination of all the participatory institutions’ work and attention was paid to the idea of concerted efforts, financial and human resources in establishing a well developed wetland management approach for a selected lagoon and the accomplishment of a model administration, which would address all issues encountered in the lagoon ecosystems as well as their impacts in those ecosystems.

Concerning sharing of information, the attention was drawn that to a better preliminary work with groups or experts in clarifying some specific technical issues.

The new members of the Committee informed that the project sites were of priority and great importance even for the Ministry of Education, considering them as sensibility areas of its education policy. Proper attention was given to the development of the human resources on the administration and management of the project sites and their values in the future. The Italian Government in cooperation with Vlora University have prepared a plan on setting up the Environment Department at this university. This Department might provide assistance and be an alternative potential for the local support and the synchronization of the project activity with the University aiming at raising the local and the preparation of a local staff for future activities in the area.

- Participants: Mr.Lufter Xhuveli- Minister of Environment; Mr.Zamir Dedej-National Project Director; Mr.Maxhun Dida- General Director for Forestry and Pasture; Mr.Salvador Bushati- Secretary General of the Academy of Sciences; Mr.Roland Kristo- General Director of Fishery/Ministry of Agriculture and Food; Ms.Manjola Banja-Vice Director of the Hydrometeorological Institute; Mr.Vangjel Mustaqi- Hydrometeorological Institute; Mr.Arben Golemi-Director/Ministry of Public work and territory planning; Ms.Shpresa Leka- Director/Ministry of Public Works and Territory Planning, Secretary of the National Council of Territory Planning; Mr.Edmond Hajderi- Director of Scientific Research /Ministry of Education; Ms.Violeta Zuna-MWC Project Coordinator, Mr.Eno Dodbiba-MWC Technical Expert, Mr.Petrit Dervishi-MWC Local Office Director.

-  Violeta Zuna, Project Manager - MedWetCoast Albania

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