Enhancing Financial Sustainability of the Protected Areas System in Albania
The UNDP project in partnership with MoTE and NAPA contributes to long-term objective to (i) secure sufficient, stable and long-term financial resources for protected areas; (ii) allocate these resources in a timely manner; and (iii) ensure that the protected areas are managed effectively and efficiently with respect to conservation and other complementary objectives. NAPA operates with funding from the state budget through MoTE, donors, and other legally determined sources.
Therefore, the project was designed to assist the GoA in reducing existing funding gaps for the system of protected areas, improving the management of individual protected areas, improving cost-efficiencies in individual protected areas and building the financial management capacities of protected area staff in the NAPA etc. The project has two main pillars: (i) build the financial management capacities of the agency responsible for administering the system of protected areas; and (ii) demonstrating the efficacy of different financing strategies in a sub-set of individual protected areas.
The implementing pattern of the project addresses Component 1, which focuses on strengthening NAPA to effectively plan, secure and administer funds for the protected area system. The main outcome of this component is the development of a national planning framework for the protected are system, through increased financial management capabilities of the NAPA and mobilization of funding at the protected area system level from different financial strategies in a sub-set of individual protected areas. In addition, two important Decisions of the Council of Ministers (DCM) related to PA revenue generation were developed and approved, aiming to affect the financial operation and income generation in PAs, strengthen the NAPA’s mandate to fulfil several PA management financial obligations, and enable it to secure sufficient, stable and long-term financial resources for protected areas. The first DCM makes provision for the NAPA to source funding from the state budget, donors, delivery of ‘services’ and ‘other legal sources’, whereas the other DCM deals with capacities to administer and improve PAs revenue streams.
More than 50 % of 3 pilot areas staff and 20% of NAPA staff are being trained through e-learning platform http://akzm.net/list-courses and other tools.
The other constituent of the project is component 2, through which are implemented a suite of mechanisms to improve revenue streams in individual protected area with the main focus on three National Parks: (i) Dajti National Park; (ii) Divjaka-Karavasta National Park; and (iii) Llogara-Karaburun protected area Complex.
The Government of Albania (GoA) has established the National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) in 2015 through the Decision of the Council of Ministers 102, date 4.2.2015, as a public state budget entity subordinate to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment (MoTE). This institutional change resulted in a significant improvement of the overall management effectiveness of the country’s system of PAs, currently covering 622,820 ha of marine and terrestrial habitats, according to recent data, and the overall officially proclaimed size of PAs going up to 21% of the territory of Albania.
The financial sustainability of protected areas in Albania continues to be one of the most significant challenges of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and the National Agency for Protected Areas, particularly considering the gradual expansion of the system of protected areas. Although some progress on financial development has been achieved over the past years, most protected areas in the country are still severely underfunded and the funding gap is increasing in relation to the rapid growth in the coverage of the protected area system, and associated management costs.
Albania's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is the starting point for assessing the financial needs of biodiversity management, mobilizing financial resources, and integrating biodiversity in national accounting and reporting systems. Strengthening the financial basis for biodiversity protection contributes to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2 and 20.
As emphasized in Albania’s Document of Strategic Policies for the Biodiversity Protection (DSPBP), it is important to substantially enhance investments in biodiversity conservation; expected financing sources include the State Budget, EU financial instruments, donor and other sources, including private sector.
- Preparation of the National Planning Framework is developed by providing (i) An overarching medium-term Strategic Plan for the institutional development of the NAPA, and (ii) A medium-term Financial Plan for the protected Area System.
- Baseline assessments for the current knowledge of the biodiversity, natural and socio -economic values, financial analysis features and its conservation status and trends in all three national parks piloted through the project. Business plan for Karaburun-Sazan MPA, Llogara National Park, Divjaka – Karavasta National Park and Dajti National Park are finalized. These planning instruments provide clear picture of the financial needs that must be met in order to conduct management plan activities and introduce potential revenue sources to help meet those needs.
- The trainings on business planning, financial gap assessment and financial METT are conducted with key staff of the NAPA, and at least 3 persons from each of the pilot areas and representatives from other areas (25 in total).
- Important management support and logistical assistance is enabled by supporting all three pilot sites, Dajti NP, Divjake – Karavasta NP, Llogara - Karaburun complex. Juniors are hired to assist the Visitor Center in the pilot sites. Several education and awareness and information activities has been designed and organized in both areas involving local stakeholders and inhabitants. Interventions are taken for trekking paths, information tables, assistance with equipment, etc. In all Visitor Centers hosted in the targeted National Parks, there are 8 juniors actively working with the administrations, assisting to better operate the management and conservation tasks, as well provide touristic data/statistics.
- A study on the potential of introduction of a water conservation levy for Bovilla Reservoir, as a potential Payment for Ecosystem Services mechanism is completed.
- Landscape studies, analyses, planning, and design of most prominent landscape facilities, in compliance with conservation & management expectations are development for Llogara National Park and Dajti National Park. These planning tools provide landscape design alternatives in compliance with conservation & management expectations.
- Interventions and Investments in the targeted PAs were carried out for the improvement of touristic facilities such as automatic entry point in Dajti NP, information tables in Llogara and signings, info-kiosks update and upgrade in all three sites, new trails are created, etc. In Divjake-Karavasta is established a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
- Reporting, training and assessment tools such as METT [management effectiveness training tools], FSS [financial sustainability scorecard] and 10 dedicated training modules) are developed and consolidated in an e-learning platform. Assistance is ongoing and continuously provided to targeted RAPAs and NAPA for increasing the capacity of the involved central and local staff by building their financial management capacities demonstrating the efficacy of different financing strategies through some targeted activities in each of the sites; in this regard FSS web based tool was developed and training thereof organized with respect RAPA (Regional Administration of Protected Areas); this e-learning tool facilitates delivering of PAs training, knowledge and information, made of a series of smaller learning modules, which are grouped based on the needs of PA administration and human resource department at NAPA.
- An inclusive akzm.net portal website with patters and navigation structure is developed. A short and practical training manual was elaborated and delivered through the training short courses, for targeted personnel, to enable performance of the FSS APP; advice and introduction of extensive in-house training programs on FSS and related aspects of financial planning, financial analyses, reporting for the PAs system, medium-term financial and business planning is also delivered including procedures for all financial and administrative staff in the RAPAs.
- A study report for unifying the standards and procedures for the establishment of walking trails in PAs was developed, followed with a national workshop in hybrid format (28 January 2021), attended by the Minister of Environment and Tourism and UNDP DRR, as well as other partners who work on Protected Areas in Albania. A guidebook on technical standards for maintaining and introducing tourist trails in the PAs of Albania was also developed and published. Copies were delivered to partners and the Regional Administrations of Protected Areas.
- Project response to the COVID19 pandemic impacts into ongoing partnerships and stakeholder involvements through anticipating activities and adopting to likewise forms of accomplishments; specific relevant activities were identified and implemented according to COVID country protocol (specific guidance by UNDP Country Office on travel and movement restriction and, particularly, project sites /communities access caring to avoid further spread of the virus). Overall, the established partnerships, centrally and locally, have deemed necessary to adopt into slightly changed forms of implementation to maintain feedback and pace from stakeholder, support to management & conservation means, reshaping of awareness raising activities, trainings, workshops, etc. as such the adverse impact of COVID-19 to project partnerships and beneficiaries must continue receiving all the precautionary measures for performing those activities safely
- Several financial instruments were introduced in the pilot parks areas such as an automatic entry barrier in Dajti park, completing walking and touristic trail rehabilitation and maintenance services, information and direction tables are installed, reforestation works in Dajti and DK Parks, observation drone and telescope are provided for the RAPAs to allow for better and efficient monitoring and conservation actions, visitor recreations and nature interpretation facilities, Coin operational telescopes, eclectic sightseeing buses, landscape improvement at the Visitor Center in DK and Dajti National Parks.
- Building the financial management capacities of the agency responsible for administering the system of protected areas;
- Demonstrating the efficacy of different financing strategies in a sub-set of individual protected areas.
Min. of Tourism & Environment
GOVERNMENT OF ALBANIA
Global Environment Fund Truste
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PRO
DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS