||The Republic of Albania (hereinafter referred to as "Albania") is located in the southwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula in Europe, whose land area is about 1.5 times that of Shikoku Island in Japan. About two-thirds of the country is mountainous or hilly, and the rest is made up of fertile coastal plains and the shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Ionian Sea).
Divjaka-Karavasta National Park (DKNP) is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea (Ionian Sea), about 100 km from the capital Tirana. It has a diverse ecological landscape including estuaries, sand dunes, tidal flats, and forests, and is a habitat for a wide variety of species, including rare species such as the Dalmatian Pelican (VU: Endangered II) and the Mediterranean pine. The lagoon within the park was designated as a Ramsar site in 1994.
The park is only an hour and a half drive from the capital city, and is a popular tourist attraction for both domestic and international visitors, as well as a residential area where local residents engage in agriculture, livestock breeding, fisheries, traditional handicrafts, and tourism services. Therefore, it has been recognized that it is necessary to take appropriate measures before the impact of these tourism and agricultural activities on the ecosystem of the park becomes apparent, and the Albanian government requested Technical Cooperation to the Japanese government. In response to this request, JICA implemented a Technical Cooperation Project from May 2012 to September 2014 with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration of Albania (at that time) as the counterpart, aiming to establish a system for the conservation and sustainable use of DKNP. Through the Project, in addition to the establishment of the management committee with the participation of stakeholders including local governments, pilot activities such as environmental education and resource mapping were conducted. As a result of the promotion of park management and biodiversity conservation through the project implementation, DKNP has been recognized as one of the best national parks in the country. Based on these activities, the management plan of conservation and sustainable use of DKNP was prepared in September 2014, just before the end of the Project, and the management plan was finally endorsed by the Albanian government in December 2015.
Furthermore, the organizational reform was made to newly establish National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment in February 2015, mainly constituted by National Park Management Division within the Forest Department. After the completion of the project, the government and NGOs have continued to implement activities such as hiring additional park rangers, establishing a no-hunting zone, planting trees, and establishing a breeding site for the Dalmatian Pelican.
On the other hand, the financial and technical implementation capacity of NAPA and DKNP is still insufficient to fully implement the management plan. In addition, the structure of the surrounding municipalities has changed due to the merger of municipalities, resulting also the DKNP Management Committee member change. Furthermore, the strait between the Caravasta Lagoon and the Ionian Sea is being blocked by sediment. Under these circumstances, the Government of Albania requested Japan for a technical cooperation project to establish a sustainable park management model through "Eco-system based management", while implementing the approved management plan based on the results of the previous project.
In the detailed planning survey conducted in 2017, there was a resort development plan in DKNP at the time, and there were concerns about the impact of the National Parks ecosystem. Therefore, both parties discussed and agreed on the precondition of the Project to withdraw or revise the resort development plan to a level that would not have a significant impact on the ecosystem. In 2019, the Albanian government issued a letter regarding the "Protection and Sustainable Use of DKNP" to confirm the withdrawal of the resort development plan. The Technical Cooperation Project document was signed on October 2020, and reached to the start of the Project from April 2021.
The Overall Goal
Conservation and sustainable use of Protected Areas (PA) based on ecosystem based management (EBM) are strengthened in Albania.
A model on ecosystem based management of PAs is developed based on the experiences of DKNP.
Functions of the Management Committee (MC) such as supervision and coordination among stakeholders are enhanced.
Capacities of DKNP park administration to implement DKNP Management Plan and Action Plans are improved through EBM approach.
Based on the implementation of DKNP Management Plan, knowledge and experiences of ecosystem based PA management are shared in inside and outside of Albania.
1.1 Promote selection of members of DKNP MC by the Government institution in accordance with the decree.
1.2 Update stakeholder analysis.
1.3 Support to set up Thematic WGs with DKNP MC in cooperation with other related institutions.
1.4 Support to organize the MC meetings regularly to confirm activity plans, evaluate their progress, and provide recommendations based on reports and proposals from related institutions and WGs.
2.1 Enhance biodiversity monitoring capacity of RAPA with Biodiversity WG.
2.2 Promote sustainable fishery with the sustainable fishery WG.
2.3 Promote sustainable agriculture with the Sustainable Agriculture WG.
2.4 Promote eco-tourism and environmental education with the Eco tourism/environmental education WG.
3.1 Compile experiences of ecosystem based PA management, based on the results of Output 1 and 2
3.2 Organize workshops and seminars on the ecosystem based PA management based on 3.1
3.3 Make presentation on experiences of ecosystem based PA management of DKNP at the international conferences.
3.4 Introduce the results of 3.1 to 3.3 on the website.
1. Expert (abuot 68MM including short-term experts)
Chief Advisor/Ecosystem Management
2. Equipment (to be specified)
Trainings in Japan and/or other countries
Working Group members
Office space for the experts with necessary equipment