Following the lobbying and advocacy activity to improve the legislation on HPP concessions in Albania, EcoAlbania continued with the organization of the local forums.
On 23 June 2018, the second meeting took place in Tepelenë, with participants from local environmental organizations, environmental experts, representatives of the Municipalities of Tepelena and Memaliaj, RDE of Gjirokastra, representatives of Prefecture of Gjirokastra County, journalists, etc. Environmental and legal policy experts followed up with the draft of the analysis of the plans, strategies and national legislation of the energy, tourism, environment and water sectors, in the spirit of their approximation with EU legislation.
“No public authority should announce a concession contest without ensuring that the object of the race is in compliance with national plans and strategies,” said E. Tivari, the legal expert, adding that the law should provide guarantees in this regard. Further, she also emphasized the importance of specifying the elements that the concession fees should contain, such as the charge for the use of natural resources by the concession company.
Meanwhile, one of the concerns raised by the participants dealt with the future of these hydropower projects after the end of the concession period. According to them, there should be a specific legal provision that forces state authorities to consult with the local community regarding the decision-making on the future of a hydro power plant after the end of the term of the concession contract.
The Tepelena Forum will be followed by three other round tables to be held in Shkodra, Prrenjas and the national one in Tirana. Recommendations that will come from experts, CSOs and institutions will be reviewed and included in the final draft of recommendations for amendments to concession legislation for HPPs.
This meeting is organized in the framework of the project “ACTIVE II – Community Engagement – Indicator of Integration in Decision-making”, that is being implemented by EcoAlbania in partnership with local NGO’s Alliance of Albanian Alps and Argonaut. It is funded by LëvizAlbania – for a strong local democracy by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC.