The project objective was to strengthen both central and local offices of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Albania in developing their capacities to systemically plan and manage the national protected areas (PAs). By promoting innovative approaches to management in two pilot protected areas (Buna River Protected Landscape and Shebenik –Jabllanicë National Park), the project aimed also to support the broad range of benefits that the local and wider communities could enjoy from preserved and well-functioning ecosystems.
Main beneficiaries are the Institutions responsible for the planning and management of PAs at both central and regional level (MoE offices), the local communities of the two pilot PAs in terms of their enhanced capacity for the direct participation in sustainable protected area management, local scientific institutions (Universities in Tirana, Shkodra and Elbasan), NGOs and the private sector, which will be involved in the provisions of ecosystem services.
The project responds to the need expressed by the GoA in the Environmental Cross-cutting Strategy (ECS) for the period 2007-2013, of “Protection and improvement of biodiversity, protected areas and species with the purpose of preserving the natural and cultural heritage of our environment in line with our European and international commitments”. From an initial planned duration of 3 years, the project has been extended to 5 years.