The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation is sustaining a coherent action for environment in the Western Balkans. The Italian commitment started in 2015 with the implementation of an initiative titled Strengthening national capacity in nature protection – preparation for Natura 2000 network and funded by the European Union (€ 4.4 millions). The initiative ended in 2019 and supported the creation and the sustainability of the Albanian National Agency for Protected Areas.

Albania now has a new legislation, in line with the European standards and more than 15% of its territory is protected, with 150 rangers trained and equipped from North to South of the country. Please, check also the website for more information.

Following this pivotal milestone, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation has funded three new projects: NaturAlbania (€ 1.2 million), NaturBosnia (€ 1.5 million) and NaturKosovo (€ 1.8 million). An overall financial commitment of € 4.5 million aiming at contributing to the European integration of the Western Balkans in terms of enhancement of natural capital and environmental sustainability.

Brand Identity

NaturAlbania. Implemented in Shkodra, Dajti, Divjake, Vlore, Llogara, Permet. With the Italian civil society organizations VIS, CELIM and CESVI. In collaboration with the University of Trento, the University of Genova, the Polytechnic of Tirana. What’s the intervention for? Capitalization and promotion actions in the territorial and environmental framework. The initiative aims at protecting biodiversity, boosting rural economy, supporting responsible tourism in Albanian protected areas. What has been done? Two hydrometric sensors to record water level of the Vjosa have been installed in Permet and Narta. Two public guesthouses were built in Bredhi i Hotovës and delivered to the Regional Agency for Protected Areas. Trainings on HACCP certifications for local producers were held in Shkodra, Dajti and Llogara. Underwater cultural heritage of the Bay of Vlora was mapped and underwater 360° images of the ship PO were produced. A sea turtle centre was built in Vlorë. 20 artificial coral reefs were placed in Porto Palermo Bay.

NaturBosnia. Implemented in Sutjeska and Blidinje with the Italian civil society organization CISP, in collaboration with Agenda21, the National Park of Abruzzo, the University of Perugia and ISPRA. The project intends to create a model of territorial and economic-environmental enhancement on the protection and integrated management of protected areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in line with the guidelines of the EU. This is achieved by strengthening the technical and administrative capacities of the managing bodies of the Blidinje Natural Park and the Sutjeska National Park in order to improve the management of natural resources, develop ecotourism services and raise awareness of local communities. What has been done? A methodology of biodiversity study in Blidinje and Sutjeska has been elaborated. Capacity building was conducted for the implementation of conservation measures and monitoring and surveillance of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The furnishing of the building of the administrative centre, visitor centre/info point was realised. The community map of Blidinje and Sutieska was completed. 20 proposals for micro-grants were approved. Touristic packages were elaborated. 33 small and medium-sized enterprises were trained. What is ongoing? A biodiversity study with characterization and management indications of terrestrial and aquatic habitats is being completed. Georeferenced Data Base (GIS) relating to terrestrial and aquatic habitats is being created. Capacity building is being carried out for the implementation of conservation measures and monitoring and surveillance of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. For Sutjeska National Park: the infrastructure to be rehabilitated / furnished is being identified. 4 tested tourist packages/itineraries per park are being developed.

NaturKosovo. Implemented in Peja, Deçan and Junik. With the Italian civil society organizations RTM and CELIM. In collaboration with AITR, CAI, CNSAS, UTALAYA Foundation of Uta Ibrahimi (UN Sustainable Development Goals Champion and the first Kosovar to climb Mount Everest). The initiative intends to contribute to the sustainable touristic development of Kosovo by promoting the cultural, historical and natural resources, enhancing local communities, creating job opportunities for the new generations, promoting micro entrepreneurship and supporting local institutions on tourism governance and promotion of the Via Dinarica in Kosovo. What is ongoing? Existing Via Dinarica trails are being mapped, also with GPS. Maintenance works of the Via Dinarica trails are being carried out. Training is being realised for local entrepreneurs, food producers and eco-tourism operators. The grant scheme for micro businesses in the field of mountain tourism of the Via Dinarica is being launched. Alpine guides are being trained on mountain rescue system. Guesthouses and bivouacs are being renovated. Natural and cultural paths are being developed. An emergency mountain rescue hotline 24/7 is being created- Via Dinarica brand in Kosovo is being promoted. European and international standards in the hospitality sector are being shared.

Environment is a priority for the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, addressed, to a different extent, in every initiative funded by Italy in the Western Balkans, through its governmental cooperation. Follow our websites and social media channels for more information and news.

Applications, Albania