The Institute of Geosciences and UNDP partner to build a more resilient Albania
July 4, 2023
It all started some years ago with a curious question from my 5-year-old son:
"Mum, how do scientists predict the weather? Do they just use their intuition?" I had to find a quick answer that would satisfy his curious mind, but my search led me to uncover the awe-inspiring work of the Institute of Geoscience of Albania.
Join me today on a short journey of discovery as I uncover the secrets of weather prediction and more. I am sure you will gain a newfound appreciation for the vital work of the remarkable professionals at the Institute of Geoscience.
This hidden gem is home to a team of unsung heroes who tirelessly work to keep us safe from the wrath of Mother Nature. They are on a mission to enhance hydrometric and seismic monitoring, disaster risk reduction, and climate change resilience. Their efforts in these areas are critical for understanding the Earth's water cycle and predicting natural phenomena leading to disasters.
At the Institute, a team of experts diligently monitors and evaluates a wide range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, storms, avalanches, floods, droughts, fires, active tectonics, massive mass movements, and soil erosion. Their primary objective is to prevent these disasters and actively contribute to reducing the associated risks. Drawing upon their expertise, they develop ingenious strategies, employing nature-based solutions, to mitigate the impact of these calamities in regions prone to natural disasters. Through their diligent efforts, they strive to safeguard vulnerable areas and foster resilience in the face of such adversities.
But that's not all. The Institute of Geosciences not only specializes in climate change resilience but also holds a paramount position within the national civil protection system. It plays a crucial role in comprehending the profound effects of climate change on Earth's intricate systems and formulating pragmatic strategies to both adapt to and alleviate these impacts. Their tireless efforts are dedicated to tackling society's pressing concerns, including natural hazards, climate change, natural resource management, and sustainable water and land use practices.
To achieve their ambitious goals, the Institute collaborates with a dedicated team of researchers, scientists, and partners such as the United Nations Development Programme.
In the realm of scientific research, the UNDP and IGEO have forged an enduring partnership, driven by their shared objective of enhancing knowledge in geosciences, hydrometric analysis, seismic monitoring, and data processing. This collaboration stands as a direct catalyst for both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts.
The cooperation is integral to the Polytechnic University and includes cooperation with academic institutions. The cooperation also involves extending IGEO's mandate to assess risks as well as vulnerability and exposure to climate change. Through the protocols for data collection and modelling, it brings together all ingredients of a functional early warning system in Albania.
Within this collaboration, the IGEO emerges as a pivotal source of crucial meteorological, seismological, climatological, and hydrological data. The institute stands to gain substantial benefits from three UNDP interventions that revolve around disaster risk reduction and climate change.
But the partnership doesn't stop there. With unwavering dedication, the UNDP lends its support to the Albanian government's disaster risk management efforts. The fruits of this collaboration materialize as ten seismic monitoring stations dot the landscape, a network born from ingenuity and vision.
The acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge software for earthquake seismology and emergency response echoes the partnership's commitment to amplifying existing capacities, doubling their impact in the face of adversity.
Through this partnership with UNDP and funding coming from the governments of Portugal, Sweden, and Poland, Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund, the Institute of Geosciences and its allies are leading the charge to create a more resilient Albania for generations to come.
And as Monica Merino, UNDP Resident Representative in Albania, affirms, "The Institute of Geosciences plays a critical role in advancing the UNDP's goal of building resilience to disasters and supporting sustainable development." "The Institute's work is vital in mitigating the risks associated with natural hazards and improving the country's capacity to manage flood risk."
As I reflect on my journey of discovery into the awe-inspiring work of the Institute of Geoscience of Albania, I can't help but wish my son was still that curious 5-year-old, asking me the same question again. Alas, he has grown into a knowledgeable student who can find answers to anything that comes to his mind.
However, I am happy to have uncovered the remarkable work of the Institute and to share their story with others. I hope you enjoyed it!