WWF praises Albanian parliament for adopting Law On Protected Areas
The Law "On Protected Areas" aims at effective and independent management of all existing Protected Areas and future ones. It will regulate the content of management plans and ongoing management of protected areas. This Law has gone through a number of consultations with the public over the past year. There have been around 12 round tables during which the draft was discussed with representatives of universities/academia, civil society, local communities, and donors.
“WWF was invited and actively participated during the consultation process. We shared the experiences of protected areas management in the region, emphasizing the importance of stakeholders’ consultation through a participatory approach to the management and governance of Pas; respecting international agreements and EU standards. We take this opportunity to thank NAPA for considering WWF staffs’ contribution”, said Anila Boshnjaku, WWF Adria policy officer in Albania.
As an EU candidate country, through the adoption of this law Albania fulfilled its environment commitments for EU integration. Adoption of this law was a commitment reflected in the National Plan for European Integration of the country.
One of the main achievements of the law is that protected areas are to be announced after the National Territory Council approves the zoning, which is a big step towards the integration of ecosystems into development plans and finding an adequate balance between nature conservation and sustainable economic and social development.
The National Council of Territory is to approve the zoning of a protected area by a decision of the Council of Ministers. This will allow NCT to determine the types of activities that may be developed in its zones/subzones, thus making it impossible for decision-making in favor of any activity that conflicts with the management plan of the area.
Another innovation is the involvement of civil society at all stages: zone management, announcement of an area, and the drafting of its management plan. This shows the commitment of Albanian institutions to follow the advice from international agreements such as the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) to set up a legal framework that promotes a more diverse and participatory governance systems in protected areas able respond to new challenges and opportunities.
To track the implementation of management plans in protected areas, management committees will be established involving local institutions as well as civil society groups.
WWF Adria’s experience with Stakeholder Forums is a good practice that could be followed by Albanian institutions to set up collaborative management committees and better apply the principles of a participatory approach and transparency: from announcement to management and monitoring of protected areas.
This law defines the tasks and responsibilities of the management structures for protected areas, and in this framework a very important role is given to the National Agency of Protected Areas. The National Agency of Protected Areas is one of the most important stakeholders identified for Albania, with whom WWF Adria will cooperate to contribute to the sustainable development of protected areas in the country, respecting international standards for nature conservation.