Drini-Mati river Deltas.
Drini-Mati river Deltas. Credit: UNDP Albania

Regional Development and Environmental Sustainability Albania continues to invest heavily in its physical infrastructure in order to integrate Albania with Europe and its neighbors and to provide for basic needs. UNDP partners with all levels of governance, especially regional and local, to ensure that capacities are in place for sustainable service delivery which heeds the carrying capacity of the environment and protects the natural resources of the country. Responding to impacts of climate change through mitigation and local adaptation measures is integral to UNDP support to national, regional and local development strategies’ formulation and implementation. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation is a major challenge and UNDP is committed to contribute in addressing this challenge in line with UN Strategic Plan for Biodiversity Decade 2011-2020 and through implementation EU nature legislation.

In this area, amongst others, UNDP provides policy advice in establishment of a domestic regional development policy and relevant institutional reform and facilitates partnership building and cooperation among Albanian and European regional and local authorities.

In this area, UNDP works to provide:

  • Policy advice in establishment of a domestic regional development policy and relevant institutional reform;
  • Facilitation of partnerships and cooperation among Albanian and European regional and local authorities;
  •  Promotion of best and EU compliant practices in rural development organization and value chains;
  • Technical assistance for the formulation of thematic sub-national development strategies with emphasis on economic and local resources development; 
  • Policies for climate change (mitigation and adaptation) are mainstreamed at national, regional and municipal levels;
  • Promotion of renewable energy and boosting of solar energy market;
  • Ensure resource efficiency in line with EU 2020 strategy contributing to a low carbon society and green growth;
  • Increasing marine and coastal protected areas, and strengthening their management;
  • Ensuring compliance with the acquis communautaire in the field of nature conservation bringing the national protected areas in line with the demand of “Habitat” and “Birds” Directives enabling Natura 2000 designations to be integrated successfully into existing protected areas structure.
  • Fostering NGOs and CBOs actions that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods.


Fishermen in north of Albania

UNDP provided assistance to the government of Albania in the design of a modern regional development policy and preparation for programming and managing the regional development component of the EU Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA) Assistance.

UNDP supported the development and functioning of a domestic regional development policy and extended assistance in six counties also providing assistance in strategic planning and infrastructure.

UNDP promoted a territorial approach to development through the application of regional strategic planning and liaison and partnership with international decentralized cooperation stakeholders for support, know-how transfer and partnership building.

With UNDP support, Albania was declared mine free in 2009 thus enabling local communities in the affected areas to regain use of their farmland.

UNDP supported Albania with its First and Second National Communication to the United Nations Climate Change Convention; and the Third National Communication is underway. Preparing the National Communications has helped the country to integrate issues related to climate change into national planning.

 The private and public sector in Albania has gained experience accessing the global carbon market, and is able to identify, implement and mobilize resources for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are eligible for the Clean Development Mechanism.

 Albania prepared a national action plan for renewable energy (2009 - 2020) which includes a target of 38 percent of renewable energy by 2020 fulfilling EU energy community obligations; and is growing a market for solar (panel) water heating systems.

 Regional and local authorities in communes of Shengjin, Fushe Kuqe and Shenkoll included climate change adaptation measures in their development plans and priority measures are part of Lezha Regional Development Concept 2010-2015. Local authorities rehabilitated 4,500 square meters of degraded sand dunes in both sides of Gryka e Matkeqes-Vain (protected area) on the Adriatic coast critical for buffering the vulnerable coast from sea surges and long term rising sea levels.

 As a result of UNDP interventions, the first marine protected area was established in Albania (Karaburun - Sazani) in 2010 and Narta ecosystem has been declared a Sea-Landscape Protected Area in 2005. Narta, Llogora, Orikumi and the Vjosa River outlet are supported with management plans and some priority measures are implemented. Karaburuni –Sazani management and business plans are in process.

 Albania, together with partners in Greece and FYR Macedonia, introduced sustainable development practices in the Prespa Lakes Basin, and restored: 6,000 hectares of forests; 2,000 hectares of habitats for birds, fish and rare plants; and more than 600 square meters of river beds.

 UNDP and the Global Environment Facility funded over 300 small grants (1.6 million euros leveraging an additional 735,000 Euro in co-financing) to local community projects that protect the environment.


Call to Action

Wooden bridge north of Albania
Valbona valley, north of Albania. Credit: UNDP Albania

UNDP recommends that:

  • Government designs and implements a coherent Regional Development Strategy taking into account the EU regional development policy as well as realization of national decentralization policies, including fiscal decentralization;
  • Advance the capacities of local development actors to participate in the planning, design and implementation of viable  sector investments and development programs including, programs supported by IPA;
  • Implementing policies that address climate change and nature protection, which also provide opportunities for citizens to improve their livelihoods, health and well being in line with EU requirements;
  • Including principles of biodiversity protection throughout all relevant areas of social and economic development; and unlocking the potential of protected areas;
  • Establish bottom-up, country led, national mechanisms to support low emission, climate resilient national development plans.