The Local Community of Thirrë win the court case against HPPs

On February 24, the Administrative Court of the First Instance of Tirana decided to cancel the permit for the construction of the two HPPs and one water factory in the village of Thirrë Sang and Heb. The court’s decision marks another victory for environmental issues by protecting the environment threatened by illegal economic activities.

Since 2018 and until now, the efforts of Centre for Legal Empowerment (CLE), as the representative of the case, and the 166 plaintiffs living in the area, have been continuous with protests, court developments and public advocacy. Themain goal of the initiatives has been to protect this area and conserve the rich biodiversity, as well as the main watersource of the area with which the lives of the residents are closely connected.

CLE has been representing the case in court for two years now, continuously filing evidence, arguing, and supporting in law the reasons for opposing constructions and economic activities in the Krazhna source and the villages of Thirrë, Sang and Hebë, which would seriously damage the environment and the well-being of the residents of the area.

At the same time, the local community have developed a broad advocacy campaign with continuous protests developed by themselves. EcoAlbania has supported the local community for a long time, helping them to pursue this issue legally and publicly. 

In conclusion, the Administrative Court of the First Instance of Tirana appreciated these unstoppable efforts of the residents and lawyers, stopping the further damage to the environment. Thanks to the close cooperation between the actors and interest groups involved, who were brought together by the need to protect the environmental assets and the socio-economic rights, the local community triumphed.

Centre for Legal Empowerment highly appreciates the local community’s resistance, combined with the dedication of lawyers, paralegals, and activists, managed to produce a fair decision in favour of the local community interest. This decision is important in establishing practices for environmental protection and civil rights causes.

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Challenges and strategies for a sustainable environment

The environment contributes to social well-being and economic growth, so developed societies are constantly trying to preserve it by creating and implementing long-term strategies.

The causes of environmental pollution are mainly commercial activities, industry, transport, construction and also agricultural activity. Indicators of pollution can be easily observed from biodiversity, water, soil and air data.

Developed societies have shown that following a sustainable environmental strategy gives positive effects in the preservation of the environment.

This strategy includes sustainable industrialization, use of green and renewable energy transport, waste reuse and recycling, waste water reuse and treatment, ecological restoration and ecotourism.

Strategies must be adapted to the state of environmental systems. For this, in-depth studies are needed, which can provide an extended picture of the problems, but also the solutions.

Likewise, in the appropriate strategy, long-term assessments and monitoring of forests, climate and ecosystems are needed so that their management is always towards improvement.

Click here to access the detailed infographic about this issue compiled by ENGONA (Environmental NGO Network in Albania).

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Challenges of networking

Local civil society organizations, which are committed to environmental issues in Albania, face many difficulties such as: lack of organizational capacity, weak connections, limited budgets and limited public relations skills.

Precisely to overcome these limitations and to mitigate the fragmentation between organizations, was established the networking platform ENGONA (Environmental NGO Network in Albania).

This network enables coordination, cooperation, overcoming competition between organizations and the establishment of strategic coalitions for solidarity, action and advocacy around environmental causes.

Through networking, the purpose is to exchange information, raise and share funds, coordinate programs/activities for joint advocacy campaigns.

Networking results in better practices, expertise in organizational plans and policies, more positive public perception and more effective influence on decision makers.

For more on networking techniques and benefits click here to read the infographic.

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Techniques of environmental advocacy

To help civil society organizations that are engaged in the protection of the environment and have shown interest in the networking project, the working group of the ENGONA project (Environmental NGO Network in Albania) has drawn up some infographics of the advocacy techniques.

Advocacy for environmental causes is a process that essentially aims to persuade the public or decision makers to act on an issue that affects or endangers the environment. The process foresees the motivation and involvement of communities, activists, as well as citizen representatives in local or central government entities.

Advocacy through a network of organizations it’s effective because it increases the capacities of expertise and also reduces economic costs for awareness campaigns or legal confrontations.

The infographic also mentions international environmental law, its main principles and laws related to environmental law.

Among the main principles of international environmental law are: the principle of sustainable development, the conservation of natural resources, the right to information, public participation, integrated approach, compensation, mutual responsibility and cooperation.

The infographic, which can be accessed by clicking here, also shows the advocacy approaches, its instruments, what is a tractate or convention, and the most common challenges faced on environmental issues.

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