Water and air pollution, land degradation/soil erosion, biodiversity losses and waste management are Albania’s key environmental challenges.
Rapid urbanization and increasing demand for natural resources has led to increasing depletion and degradation. Disaster risks and climate variability and change pose other threats to Albania making the country more vulnerable to climate change.
Currently Albania is a low emitter of greenhouse gases, but they are projected to increase in the coming years (mainly from transport followed by agriculture and waste sector). Albania has significant potential for clean and renewable energy and transport.
The challenge is to achieve a balance between the use of natural resources for jobs and industry, with environmental protection. Environmental policies required as part of European Union accession are helping to integrate sustainable development principles across all sectors.
Albania is working hard to develop legal and institutional framework in the area of environment, renewables and energy efficiency, but still needs to implement them fully, devote more resources through broader environmental fiscal reform that will support green investment schemes and reform environmentally harmful subsidies.
Refurbished schools in Albania bring new educational opportunities
For the first time in nine years Marsela Bejto a ruddy ninth grader who attends school in the community of Kozare, together with 170 other children, can go to school without fearing that her classroom ceiling will collapse.
Marsela along other children were surprised and excited when they returned to their school after the winter holidays. What they saw was a completely new building. Nothing was left from the old school that lacked basic standards such as proper classrooms, central heating and ventilation, water and safety equipment.
“Studying at this school is interesting and fun now. All my friends and other pupils studying here are happy and excited about the new school We can now make use of cabinets, laboratories and the library which gives us the opportunity to gain more knowledge and study harder,” says Marsela.
- 170 school children are beneficiaries of the new school in Kozare.
- 6 schools, two water supply networks, two health centers constructed in 4 regions.
- The infrastructure works amount to USD 3.5 million
Teuta Kondili the school principal and a history teacher said that poor school infrastructure had impaired educational outcomes at the school in Kozare.
“Kozare school that serves three villages, Kozare, Salse and Ferras, was built in the ’70 and was never rehabilitated although it was in terrible conditions. During the winter water was leaking from the roof and walls, windows were broken hence we were obliged to reduce the teaching hours and children were forced to leave school early.”-says Ms.Kondili.
The elementary school in Kozare was rehabilitated in line with the contemporary safety standards making it one of the best schools in the region and making its pupils and their parents happy and proud.
Kozare elementary school was one of many regional infrastructure interventions undertaken by UNDP as part of “Integrated Support to Decentralization “project .This intervention, amongst others, identified 23 priority regional infrastructure interventions in four selected regions.
In 2012 ten of them were selected for implementation. This included construction and reconstruction of six schools, two water supply systems and two health centers in the regions of Elbasan, Berat, Diber and Kukes with a budget of 3.5million USD.
Located 60 km from the capital and known for the cultivation of olives and vegetables, Kozare commune representatives were excellent partners in this endeavor.
Integrated Support to Decentralization (ISD) project was financed jointly by European Commission and UNDP and implemented by UNDP Albania in close partnership with key Government and development stakeholders. The technical assistance provided within the ISD project focused on developing necessary institutional and legislative frameworks for managing EU IPA component 3 on regional development as well as help Albania formulate its first strategic and operational documents in preparing for this IPA component.
Furthermore the project sought to promote a domestic regional development policy complementary to the EU Regional Development framework and support domestic regional development planning in four regions of Albania (Berat, Diber, Elbasan and Kukes) through capacity building and investments in small to medium public infrastructures.