UNDP Albania

Promoting green recovery in the forestry sector in Albania


UNDP will provide targeted support for incorporating NDC measures into recovery plans and budgets with focus on Forestry and Energy, advocating those measures that target improvements for women, youth, and other vulnerable groups.


In light of the major developments that Albania went through, initially the November 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020, many aspects of the economy and social life in general were impacted greatly as a result. The government’s interventions to mitigate and alleviate the effects of both these disasters were aimed at providing response to the recovery efforts post-earthquake, as well as to minimize the effects of the pandemic to manageable levels. It is the Ministry of Finance and Economy, other line ministries and the Bank of Albania, who have contributed with reform measures in accordance with the priorities of the government and national and regional strategies and documents. Order of the Prime Minister No. 107, 06.08.2019 “On the establishment of the inter-ministerial group and inter institutional technical secretariat for the coordination, preparation and drafting of the Economic Reform Programme of Albania”, provides establishment of well-defined structures tasked with coordination, preparation, drafting, and monitoring of the Economic Reform Programme 2021-2023.

UN Albania socio-economic recovery and response plan, technically coordinated by UNDP complements the Government of Albania National Response Plan and the National Strategic Preparedness & Response Plan (SPRP), issued in February 2020 and updated in May 2020. As per the UN Albania Socio-economic Recovery and Response Plan, the development of COVID-19 responses includes clean energy investments to enhance NDCs and long-term decarbonization strategies to enhance the climate mitigation targets and translation of these into clean, green, sustainable and resilient plans and investments, i.e. (i) increase the penetration of renewable energy and (ii) increase the GHG removal potential of the Forestry sector.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment record a loss of 34,000 jobs and unemployment increased in 2020 by 0.6% over the previous year to 12.5%. 

Albania has a long tradition of forestry and wood processing. The economic development of the forest sector is to a significant extent based on the utilization of domestic forest resources, milling and the furniture industry. For all the key segments of the forest sector (wood harvest, sawmills, wood-based panels, pulp and paper and wooden furniture), the biggest impact from COVID-19 was the disruption of cross-border trade, which sharply dropped in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year. The strongest drop in forest products exports during the first nine months of 2020 in Albania was 7.5%. In Albania, the dominant product of the wood processing industry is saw wood, mainly exported to Italian market.

As part of the Climate Promise global initiative UNDP has supported Albania to submit its more ambitious and robust NDC with an Action Plan to support interventions to achieve the 20.9% target by 2030. In terms of Mitigation, the NDC relies on the comparison between a Business-as-Usual scenario and a mitigation scenario considering mitigation measures in the main emitting sectors of the economy: Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land-use, and Waste. Projections rely on macro-economic assumptions such as GDP and population forecast but also on historical trends, strategies and plans endorsed at the national level. Albania revised NDC was registered at UNFCCC on 12 October 2021. In addition, the Government of Albania’s commitments on COP 26 of UNFCCC are:

  • Forest and Land Use - to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030
  • Global Coal to Clean Power Transition – raising ambition for a just and inclusive transition from coal to clean power
  • Public Support for Clean Energy Transition – commitment to take action in 2022 to shift from fossil fuels to clean energy

There is a clear need for transformational change towards an economic development path that is consistent with long-run environmental protection, using natural resources within their carrying capacity, while providing acceptable living standards and poverty reduction. For a transformational and green economy, the need to identify and take early actions to address climate change, avoid habitat loss, reduce pollution, and improve infrastructure has arisen. As per the UN Albania Socio-economic Recovery and Response Plan, the development of COVID-19 responses includes clean energy investments to enhance NDCs and long-term decarbonization strategies to enhance the climate mitigation targets and translation of these into clean, green, sustainable, and resilient plans and investments, i.e. (i) increase the penetration of renewable energy and (ii) increase the GHG removal potential of the Forestry sector. To continue with, following the Law No. 57/2020 “On Forests”, the National Forestry Agency requested via the Governmental Decree No. 570, dated 17.07.2019 is recently established (in March 2020) as to provide good governance of forests at national level, forests conservation and development and their sustainable use. The Law on Renewable Energy Sources and the Renewable Energy Action plans are the guidance documents for the National Agency on Natural Resources as to contribute to increase of renewable energy penetration and climate change mitigation.  An Economic Advisor was supported by the NDC Partnership aiming at: 

  • Incorporating considerations of climate resilient growth in the immediate COVID-19 disaster relief response;
  • Supporting responsible ministries on greening and fine-tuning the Albania’s economic recovery packages to ensure alignment with the country’s sustainable development and climate change goals;
  • Supporting responsible ministries on the revision of NDC, focused on assessment of costs and investments opportunities and preparation of the Action plan to implement the revised NDC considering the economic drawbacks and other relevant repercussions brought by the COVID pandemic; and
  • Coordinating development partner support for both COVID-19 and climate (in line with existing NDC Partnership Plans / Investment Plans where they exist), considering co-benefits.

The costing of the revised NDC is provided, the Economic Advisor is currently supporting the Albania's Public Expenditure & Financial Accountability Climate Performance, as the entry point to support government's' efforts to greening the economic recovery package. The involved partners are the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Tourism and Environment. The methodology is World Bank PEFA assessment.


  • Following the Forestry Law, detailed specification, and content of two regulations drafted. They include: (i) Governmental Decree "For the adoption of rules for the benefits from the use of forest ecosystem services, compensation and payments" and (ii) Governmental Decree "On criteria and rules for granting use of the forest fund". Both drafts will follow the legislative procedure run by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment itself. The first act already adopted by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, expected to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers within September 2023.
  • Following the broad consultations during Scoping Stage of the Project, the drafted ToRs to engage a national company to provide for the cross-sectoral assessment of the energy-forestry nexus, in the context of Albania's climate mitigation and Green Recovery efforts is in its final evaluation stage, the assessment report to be in place by December 2023.
  • 5 CSO selected to contribute to green jobs through: (i) introduction of new technologies to produce pellets or briquettes from wood biomass; (ii) encouraging the replacement of existing stoves with higher efficient ones; (iii) encouraging the cultivation of trees for firewood with fast-growing varieties and (iv) promotion of low-cost afforestation methods. The CSOs will perform their activities until beginning of December 2023.
  • Following close consultations with the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and the National Forestry Agency, (i) the Training Need Assessment report is developed, presenting the identified knowledge gaps on Forestry and Energy Efficiency and (ii) the Capacity Building Program is developed providing short-term training activities to ensure skills development and increased awareness on Green Recovery in the Forestry Sector in Albania for forestry institutions at the national and local level, 5 training sessions will follow in the period October-November 2023. 
  • A report prepared on mainstreaming gender perspective in forestry and energy sectors.


  1. Policy support to the National Forestry Agency (NFA) to improve its functioning, increase technical capacities  at the central level and ensure the presence of the Agency at local level following the frame Law on Forests, for the National Forestry Agency to (i) effectively run the forestry inventory process; (ii) prepare and implement the national afforestation program and (iii) increase of forestry sustainable management and the forest productivity by: (I)- Drafting and finalizing the NFA procedural manual (know-how) to regulate the activity of the agency, show the line of performance of work processes, responsibilities (ii) strengthening resource management legislation by including COVID 19 implications in the forestry sub legal acts and (iii) prepare the roadmap for the national afforestation program and (iv) Identify current lack of human, technical or financial resources to ensure a sustainable management forest and define a budget plan to tackle the priority areas of improvement.
  2. Prepare a sectoral assessment of the energy demand/supply, the biomass potential, and the forests situation in the country and introduce the appropriate bio-energy technology applications strategy including the efficient practices for fuelwood harvest to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, following Albania’s pledge during United Nations COP26 summit on Climate Change by: (I) Defining the current causes of wood losses when fuelwood is harvested; (ii)  Defining a training and/or communication plan target the right audience and targeting the most prevalent issues; (iii) Introduction of modern techniques and technological equipment that consist in optimizing forest utilization and (iv) Promoting and supporting the bioenergy sector, using crop residues as energy sources (Identify of the potential areas and farms where these new technologies could be applied; define incentives or support for implementation of this measure) in order to reduce the use of fuelwood
  3. Promote efforts to halt deforestation, prevent forest degradation and increase forest area through micro capital grants to be given to local civil society supporting community-based self-help initiatives in forestry-related jobs as part of COVID-19 economic recovery stimulus packages, including afforestation, reforestation, conservation, watershed protection, agroforestry and urban forestry jobs 
  4. Training, communication and information dissemination for farms operators and cooperative/unions and rural women by: (I) Define a training and/or communication plan targeting the right audience and targeting the most prevalent issues; (ii) Define the relevant training and/or communication tools to use; (iii) Diffuse the training and/or communication tools; and (iv) Develop an approach for gender mainstreaming in the sectors of energy and forestry.