MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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Activities and main accomplishments in Albania last months
Friday 20 January 2006, by Violeta Zuna, Eno Dodbiba

MWC office has followed with improvement of the biodiversity conservation and nature protection regulatory frame by developing management guidelines for the project sites. They are finalized and under approval by the authorities. Also, the DCM on establishing the Management Committees for the PAs allows for the setting up of the management authorities in both project sites. MWC is coordinating with MoE for making this committee operational. An other significant contribution is the elaboration of the NWS by the steering group as asked by the minister of environment.

On the framework of the priority management actions implementation, MWC project after several meetings and discussions with the Local authorities and hydro technical experts, prepared the project for diverting water discharge of the KUL channel from flowing into the Narta lagoon.

In order to support preparation and design of this proposal and also for compliance with the administrative and financial provisions of each institution, MWC organized meetings with Vlora Municipality, District Council, Qender Commune, Prefecture of Vlora, Agriculture and Waters Directorate. Support and cooperation was ensured by the said institutions which agreed to fulfill the respective obligations. Project is under tendering process and soon after implementation will commence.

Also in the framework of the implementation of the priority management actions MWC office has developed project proposal for cleaning up urban residues and adjustment with the necessary infrastructure of Llogara National Park. In order to have the appropriate support form the local authorities and the community living in the area MWC organized several round tables and meetings with Forest Service Directorate which administers the park, Orikumi Municipality, and local associations and community. Orikumi Municipality has identified the place for removing urban residues and will exempt the bars and restaurants from the cleaning tax in the national park Llogara subject to their agreement form management of urban waste as will be arranged with implementation of this project and keep clean environment in the surrounding area.

MWC has finalized the process of recruiting site rangers in the areas Llogara Orikum and Narte Vjose in the framework of enforcement of site management practices and regulation (ToR are prepared and selection process completed). The selected candidates are assigned with certain tasks and reporting requirements.

In order to define the water bearing strata to rehabilitate and the pastures to improve, the project office has organized many meetings with Forest Service Directorate and Orikumi Municipality.. After their definition, the PIU office started the preparation of the projects for their rehabilitation and improvement.

The draft low-cost, locally based monitoring program is prepared and respective modules on hydr-biological monitoring of wild life in project sites are integrated in to it. In this respect synergies are provided with University of Vlora, local authorities, as well as selected expertise from Tirana institutions that will also deliver training modules on hydrological, biological and water quality monitoring.

Efforts are put in coordination of work to creating fisherman associations; this includes meetings and exchange of ideas with AULEDA and OPSH, different relevant CBO/NGOs such as PSHM, USAID with regard also to socio-economic aspects;

Collaboration is established for this purpose also with Orikumi Municipality, Forest Service Directorate, Qender Commune and due to this was elaborated a project proposal for rehabilitation of livestock watering points in Karaburuni peninsula.

In accordance with MC approach and national training programe, MWC has organized and coordinated in conducting training on wetland ecosystems monitoring and management such as training organized in the Kune-Vain lagoon in Lezhe for the bird monitoring techniques in cooperation with the WB project for Water resources management, organization of a workshop for the marine biodiversity protection from pollution, training on GIS techniques on wetland inventory in cooperation with ECAT Tirana; Collaboration and participation in activities organized by UNDP project SSSR, for the public awareness raising; share of know-how and experiences in PA management in meetings with experts and team of Interreg III dedicated to a further collaboration with focus in the National Park of Llogara.

MWC has followed its strategy with implementation of priority management actions by conducting and finalizing an implementation project for reforestation measures in Pish-Poro area (in cooperation with e selected specialized private), contributing to improvement oh habitat in this site as well strengthening cooperation with the Vlora forestry service.

The National and Local Steering Committees have assisted and provided support to reviewing and commenting of MP through consultation in meetings, intersectorial coordination as well as in local level through direct support and active participation in the local seminar organized in Vlora on 23rd March 2005 for public presentation of the management documents perceived as a wide gathering of all key stakeholders who take over a crucial role during the implementation of the management plans. It was intended to provide a detailed description of the main MP phases, the key actions and recovery measures as well as to introduce the most important conservation activities with a better insight to management plan findings, implementation mechanism and obstacles to face, through this dedicated public appearance.

During last months the activities include, coordination, assistance and input in improvement of the wetland management and conservation/protection legal frame, the controls and surveillance of the illegal activities and violations of the law in the area, developing of the capacities of the local NGOs and local communities in addressing properly the environmental concerns in their area, community involvement and training on issues pertaining to MP process and biodiversity conservation issues.

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