Albania is situated in the southern part of the Dinarides and is striving to become a member of the European Union. This country of exceptional nature connects the Adriatic and Ionian coasts with continental parts of the Western Balkans. In Albania you can find spectacular coastal landscapes, high mountains and areas with different traditions and customs but also areas of untouched nature. These characteristics are shared with the other countries of the Dinaric Arc. The people who live in this area are shaped by similar natural characteristics and face similar challenges to people living throughout the region.
WWF has worked for many years in Albania, establishing marine protected areas, improving the management of protected areas and working on sustainable hydropower development. WWF projects are implemented in cooperation with partner organisation INCA (Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania).
To protect the long-term sustainability of freshwater ecosystems in the Dinaric Arc, WWF launched the Dinaric Arc Sustainable Hydropower Initiative (DASHI) in 2011.
The project aims to change the behaviour of key stakeholders in hydropower development (developers, financial institutions, legislators), improve the legal framework for strategic planning and declaration of exclusion zones for hydropower development, and mobilise civil society in preventing unsustainable hydropower projects, especially in sensitive areas with high biodiversity.
In Albania WWF works on identification of rivers of exceptional biological value which should be identified as exclusion zones, implementing the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol for planned hydropower plants, and raising awareness about alternative energy sources.
You can find the map of the most important river reaches in Albania here.
Marine issues are addressed through a project for Sustainable Economic Activities (SEA-Med), increasing the awareness of locals and tourists about the benefits of marine protected areas (MPAs). Currently WWF is working on the development of sustainable tourism in Sazan Marine National Park.
WWF worked on protected areas in Albania through the project Dinaric Arc Parks, in which special emphasis was put on strengthening the capacity of staff in national parks, establishing the association of Albanian protected areas and introduction of sustainable tourism in Albanian protected areas. WWF also worked on promotion of Albanian national parks as a go-to destination for foreign and local tourists.
WWF's work in Albania is currently part of the project Protected Areas for Nature and People towards the sustainable use of natural resources in the Dinaric Arc region as a foundation for socioeconomic development.
Policy and Advocacy
WWF together with partners from 5 countries in 2016 initiated a project titled Civil society acts for environmentally sound socio-economic development (CO-SEED), in following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey, with WWF Adria from Croatia acting in an advisory role in the project. CO-SEED aims to contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources through improved regulatory frameworks and more participatory and transparent decision- making processes, which involve a vibrant group of civil society organizations and increased attention of the media on the topic, with benefits for society at large. Read more about CO-SEED at www.co-seed.eu/en.