New Law on Protected Areas Aims at Expanding Network

TIRANA, May 15

The new law on protected areas that was adopted by the Albanian Parliament foresees improved management for those areas, tough penalties and it also gives a guarantee on the implementation of the projects planned to be developed.
During the last decade, Albania made progress in expanding protected areas. Ten years ago only six percent of Albania’s land and water were listed as protected areas. Meanwhile, now they cover almost 16.61 percent of Albania. The network expansion is related to obligations arising from international conventions. By the end of the year, it is expected that protected areas cover about 18 percent of the country. This figure is closer to the European average and better that the countries of the region.
According to the recently adopted law, Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park will join the network of protected areas.
The plan on the network of protected areas includes 15 national parks, natural reserves, and managed landscapes. So far, there are about 798 protected areas that cover a surface of 460,060 square meters.
Chairman of the National Agency of protected Areas Zamir Dedej said the main purpose of investments in protected areas will be to develop and not exploit.
“We haven’t yet understood that investments in protected areas should focus on development and not exploitation. So far, he knows only cases of exploitation such as hydropower plants, mines, and tree cutting. On the other hand, tourism helps development,” Dedej said.
He mentioned the case of Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park, which is attracting foreign investors interested in the construction of ecovillages. Meanwhile, Valbona and Theth are examples, which prove that private investments support sustainable development. But, he highlighted that the importance of avoiding urbanization and pollution.

News Source: Monitor