Eco Nord Forum a strong voice in advocating environmental issues in north Albania
Lezhe, 31 October- The Eco Nord Project regional conference with the theme: Environment and Sustainable Development-challenges and opportunities for Eco Nord Forum” gathered participants from the 27 civil society organizations operating in north Albania. The project:” Leveraging the capacities of CSOs in the North of Albania- Eco Nord Project, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Albanian Local Capacity Development Foundation (ALCDF) has entered its final stage after three years of successfully raising the capacities of the CSOs in the North Albania to deal with environmental and biodiversity issues.
The ECO-Nord Forum was created on October 10, 2016 to serve as a tool to better impelement projects that creates the conditions for a sustainable environment.
The vicemayor of Lezha municipality, Enver Hafizi as well as representatives of the Agency of the Protected Areas participated in the event. Mr. Hafizi said that the local government is engaged to support the socio-economic development of the region by implementing environmental friendly policies.
The Executive Director of ALCDF, Mrs. Lindita Manga welcomed the participants and pinpointed that Eco Nord Project has been successful in creating capacity development facilities as a platform of knowledge, mentoring and networking of environmental CSOs in the North of Albania.
Mr.Besnik Alku, Fund Manager at ALCDF made an expose of the difficulties faced by the project up to now as well as the challenges for the future emphasizing the importance of Eco Nord Forum as an important tool to raise environmental and biodiversity issues. He also stressed that thanks to this project the technical, administrative and financial capacities of CSOs in Lezhe, Kukes, Diber and Shkoder, have been increased remarkably to the point that they are now capable to implement bigger projects.
Mr. Zef Imeraj, Director of Environmental Center situated in Lezhe, in charge to implement the project: ”Conservation of habitats of special importance The Project Conservation of Conservation of habitats of special importance use, through methods that promote their sustainable development summarized the project achievements stressed that Eco Nord Forum can have a foundamental role in raising environmental issues by strengthening the cooperation and knowledge sharing among its members. "We succeed in the establishment of hotspots and conducting direct interventions by applying the most advanced technologies; improvement of damaged values of oak zones; improvement of specific types of medicinal plant (sage-salvia officinalis) of economic importance as well as of a plant species threatened at a national and global level by setting up a hotspot indicator on land protection from erosion using up-to date biological methods. A handy Manual with all the project results was also produced as well as digital maps for the three hotspots, using contemporary technologies," said Mr. Imeraj.
Mrs. Djana Bejko, Executive Director of Shkoder Lake Forum focused her presentation on the challenges that Eco Nord Forum faces in order to become an important factor to raise at a local and central level concerns regarding the environment and biodiversity degradation. She stressed that through hard work, innovative ideas, forging collaboration between all its members this Forum will have an important impact in the protection and preservation of environment and biodiversity in Albania. She stressed that the binomial advocacy and lobbing will be the key to success.
Mr. Bukurosh Onuzi, head of Ecologist of Kukes Region NGO that implemented the projet “Kukes region Eco-School network” presented the project achievements designed to promote environmental friendly and participatory management practices of nine primary schools in Kukes region. He stressed that the project succeeded in promoting environmentally friendly behaviors at school through comprehensive public awareness campaigns. Another tangible success of the project was that the students of the nine primary schools have already initiate to implement environmentally friendly initiatives. Mr.Onuzi engaged the audience in discussing the timing when the Albanian society will become environmentally literate. In his presentation he pinpointed the importance of the public awareness campaign to address environmental and biodiversity issues for the future in the frame of Eco Nord Forum.
Mr. Sabah Djaloshi, director of Agropuka association which implemented the project” Protecting the Biodiversity of Puka mountains” presented the main results of the project starting from the main achievement - Inventory of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the areas of the areas of Puka municipality. The last inventory was performed in 1988. The second main result was the rehabilitation of a surface of 10.000 m² in Terbuni mountain by cleaning and cultivating 23.000 sampling of different herbs and berries. During his presentation Mr.Djaloshi stressed the importance of organizing joint activities by Eco Nord Forum members for the sake of continuity and sustainability of this important Forum. He said that the study tours in the region organized by ALCDF helped the Eco Nord Forum members to gain in-depth insights into current functioning and networking of their counterparts in the region.
The last part of the Conference was an open forum where all the participants exchanged interesting ideas on how to move forward in the frame of Eco Nord Forum to better address and resolve environmental issues. The importance of networking to pursue common inspirations was also pinpointed. An Action Platform was approved after fruitful inputs of the participants. The Platform will focus on sharing information, experience between ECO-Forum members; Facilitate the collaboration between the ECO-Forum members for matters regarding projects, activities and other initiatives undertaken in North Albania on environmental and biodiversity issues; Increase the already existing channels of communication between ECO-Forum members; Increase the possibility of fund-raising in order to manage funds that serve the purpose of ECO-Nord Forum; Increase visibility in media; Undertake steps to make the local and central government more responsible in addressing and resolving these issues through legislative measures and supporting the sustainable eco-social development in full respect of environment.