Planned revision of Albania’s protected areas

The Albanian government is currently preparing a reappraisal of the country’s network of protected areas. In an open letter to the government in Tirana, the Mediterranean Alliance for Wetlands, a confederation of 25 nature conservation organisations, has expressed deep concern at the plans and called for a rethink.

A group of flamingos stalk through the Narta Lagoon with their heads held high.

Flamingos in the Narta Logoon

© Ferdinand Bego

The group, of which EuroNatur is also a member, is particularly worried about a possible reduction and relaxation of the provisions which safeguard protected areas on the Albanian Adriatic coast. Among these areas are the Karavasta Lagoon - Albania’s only breeding ground for very rare Dalmatian pelicans - and the Narta Lagoon, which is currently under threat from an airport construction project.

In the letter to Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, the NGOs point out that coastal wetlands in particular play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity. For migratory birds along the Adriatic Flyway these habitats are of immeasurable value. The preservation of these protected areas is also important for environmentally-friendly eco-tourism.

The conservation organisations of the Mediterranean Alliance for Wetlands are also urging the Albanian government to reconsider its criteria for the revision of protected area reforms. In their view, projects aiming to reduce protected areas should be halted with resources instead being made available to ensure better implementation of existing laws.

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