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    Conservation of protected areas

    Environmental sustainability in Albania

Protected area of Vjosa-Narta, Albania
  • Albania is characterised by a rich environmental and landscape heritage that unfortunately suffers from poor management and from the high environmental impact of both people and local economic activities. Sustainable development and environmental protection are however key issues for the country’s integration within the European Union.

    Project objectives: to raise awareness on environmental issues among the local population within three years, with the purpose of optimizing the management of protected natural areas, reducing environmental impact and damage and improving sustainable tourism.

  • Raised awareness among 46,000 people

    Information meetings with about 2,400 students

    Seminars and workshops on renewable energy plants and sustainable tourism for about 300 residents

After joining Natura 2000 – the EU’s main instrument for biodiversity conservation – and fulfilling one of the criteria that would allow the country to join the EU, Albania started creating national parks and protected reserves covering about 4,600 km2. The management of these areas is however far from ideal: the relative reform suffers from a lack of technical skills and financial resources.
Environmental protection is a key issue at international level, and Albania is one of the signatories of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Unfortunately, a signature is not enough: the country still lacks a strategy for reducing CO2 emissions.
Albanians’ unawareness of more sustainable alternatives is only making things worse and the environmental education of young people is far from adequate.

Forests and ecosystems are being threatened by the high consumption of coal by local people

This is where our project comes into play – its activities will involve both the Ministry of the Environment and the Municipalities. Under the new law, the latter must in fact reduce as much as possible any managerial and operational gaps.
To reduce the impact of human activity, the project focuses on the one hand on the professional training of park guards and officialsand on raising awareness among young people, on the other hand on building partnerships with companies that have a broad environmental impact.
Meetings in schools and visits to protected areas will be arranged for over 2,400 students and 96 teachers, with the aim of raising awareness and educating them on the importance of protecting the environment.

Protected area of Vjosa-Narta, Zvërnec monastery, Albania

Young people represent 70% of the Albanian population: training them on environmental education is a challenge for the future

Replacing traditional energy sources with renewable ones is another key point of environmental protection. In economic and environmental terms, this is in fact a sustainable response to the issue of excessive forest exploitation.
Our intervention involves organising specific seminars and workshops targeting approximately 300 residents. Furthermore, at least 50 companies that have been identified as having the greatest environmental impact will be equipped with renewable energy and recycling and waste management plants.
Training local people is a necessity, yet it is not enough: investing and insisting on sustainable tourism is essential.

Lastly, a CO2-reduction plan within Protected Areas consistent with the Paris Agreements and the relative Carbon Finance mechanism will be prepared in support of the Ministry of the Environment.

As well as benefitting the environment and people, this project also works in aid of some international environmental protection programs. While acting as part of the European Union’s Natura 2000, the intervention will specifically target 3 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations Development Programme– life on lands, clean and affordable energy, responsible production and consumption -, thus taking part intheglobal attempt to make the world a better place.

  • My name is Manuel Castelletti and I am the project manager

Project’s overview

The overall objective of the project is to help conserve the protected areas (PA) Albania created after joining Natura 2000. More specifically, in three years we aim to boost the management and conservation measures of the Llogara National Park, the Vjosa-Narta Protected Landscape, the Mount Tomorri National Park, the Bredhi I Hotoves-Dangelli National Park, and the Dajt National Park and its surrounding areas.


  • Strengthening the PAs’ management committees comprising Municipalities, village representatives, local associations and businesses, by implementing 12-15 Community Actions in support of the protected areas
  • Supporting the PAs’ National Agency by updating the management plans, training forestry guards, financing reforestation activities, protecting biodiversity, modernizing the available equipment
  • Scientific co-operation aimed at defining C02 emission reduction plans within the protected areas and finding sustainable renewable energy solutions for local communities, with particular reference to companies and domestic activities
  • Student meetings in schools and visits to protected areas aimed at raising awareness through the implementation of environmental micro-projects designed and implemented by the students themselves and the organization of specific seminars and workshops on renewable energy plants
  • More thorough and broader awareness raising through TV, radio and internet, aimed at promoting awareness and sustainable tourism in the PAs

Ultimate goal: to improve the protected areas’ governance, to reduce environmental damage in 5 protected areas by 30%, to reduce CO2 emissions, and to increase visitors to these areas by 10%.

  • Project Title
    Azione Comunitaria per la conservazione delle Aree Protette dell’Albania – A.C.A.P.

    Project Manager
    Luciano Bocci, [email protected]

    April 2018/April 2021

    National Agency for the Protected Areas – NAPA,
    Institute for National Conservation in Albania – INCA

  • Other institutions
    International Union for Conservation of Nature – IUCN ECARO
    Parco Regionale Campo dei Fiori – PCF
    Comune di Milano
    Ingegneria Senza Frontiere – ISF
    Carbonsink s.r.l.


Support the activities

  • 30 €

    to guarantee a training session

  • 50 €

    to organize a student visit to a protected area

  • 150 €

    to be involved in setting up a management fund

  • 300 €

    to buy a renewable energy plant

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