The main emphasis was on the hybrid event, which took place in Tirana at a very special place Community Center Destil Creative Hub and online. The seminar "Management of Protected Areas and Advocacy for Nature" was organized by the PPNEA team within their project "Land of Eagles and Castles: Integrated Management of the Albanian Coastal Biodiversity".
The BG team shared their experiences from the projects "Salt of Life" / LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362 and "Lagoon of Life" / LIFE17NAT/BG / 000558 with 4 presentations:
- Conservation of priority habitat Coastal Lagoons in Atanasovsko Lake Natura 2000 site - Diyana Kostovska and Spas Uzunov
- Public involvement in the coastal habitats management - Radostina Tzenova
- Urbanization and future threats: case study Atanasovsko Lake and Burgas - Gloriya Marinova
- Management of risks to humans and biodiversity - Gloriya Marinova and Spas Uzunov
Colleagues from BSPB shared their online experience in the management of Poda PA and the Red-breasted goose, as well as for the creation and support of local networks, collection and management of data on biodiversity, strategies for advocacy and others.
The seminar was attended by representatives of the civil sector in Albania, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, national and regional administrations of protected areas, journalists and others. The BG team played a key role in the discussion part, as they shared their experience in the work with all stakeholders and especially with Burgas Airport. The case of the blocking of the plans of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania for the construction of a trans-Balkan power pipeline between Burgas and Vlora was also mentioned.
The next day was dedicated to a field visit to several lagoons and interesting sites in the coastal part of Albania. The Society for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) is the oldest nature protection organization, established in 1991. We've started from the Radhima Maritime Information Center, where representatives of the Regional Administration of Protected Areas Vlora shared experience in the management and zoning of marine protected areas and the Karaburum National Park. After that, with PPNEA colleagues we visited the Orikum Lagoon, part of the Karaburum National Park, Soda Forest, where a former military bunker was turned into an art installation BunkBird - a mural of protected species of birds (Avocet and Pelican). Our team was particularly impressed by the Narta Lagoon and the adjoining salinas, which proved to be well managed and extracted large quantities of sea salt every year even without European support. We observed more than 1000 flamingos, which do not nest in the region yet, Avocets, Black-winged stilt, pelicans, spoonbills, herons and others. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we also visited the terrain, where the construction of the planned international airport of Vlora has already started, which is located in the protected area of Vjosa-Narta. A number of international organizations are supporting PPNEA's efforts to address this issue, which will change the entire landscape and have a detrimental impact on the ecosystem and the lagoon's diverse habitats. They suggested an alternative variant of the airport, which is not accepted. There will be a court case for the preservation of the protected territory.
Thanks to our colleagues from BSPB we renewed our contacts with PPNEA and realized a number of joint initiatives in 2022.