Water governance: Representatives of the Albanian authorities participate in the exchange visit with the European Commission in Brussels

Brussels, September 19-20, 2023. The second exchange visit within the framework of the ESPID 4 Vjosa project, between representatives of the Albanian authorities and those of the European Commission took place recently in Brussels, aiming to exchange information and experience in the field of water governance between representatives of the Albanian authorities and those of the European Commission.  Representatives of AMBU, Ministry of Tourism and Environment, AKBN, AKF, ADA as well as international experts engaged in the ESPID 4-year project, shared their experiences with representatives of DG-NEAR, DG-Environment, DG-Agri, etc.

Representatives of the Commission shared with the attendees the regulatory and institutional framework that is implemented in the EU, also focusing on specific cases of the member countries. They also pointed out the challenges faced by the sector, emphasizing the difficulty of achieving the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. Among other things, they reinforced their position on how important it is to preserve the river Vjosa in its natural state, which is not only a reduced cost for difficult and expensive river re-naturalization projects, but also Vjosa serves as a complete model where these projects can be supported in relation to the technical measures that need to be undertaken.

The visit continued with a meeting of the Albanian delegation with the MEP Mr. Thomas Waitz, who represents the group of “Greens” in the European Parliament and at the same time is one of the reporters for Albania in this institution.

He expressed his consideration for the case of the Vjosa river protection case as an issue raised from the base to central decision-making. Also accepting the new challenges regarding the good governance and sustainable development of the Vjosa valley, he expressed his maximum commitment to influence the European Commission and the member countries for increased attention towards Vjosa in terms of political, financial and technical.

The visit ended with an exchange of experiences from the civil society debate, where participants were introduced to the work of two organizations working in the field of nature conservation, NABU, and energy efficiency, RESCOOP.

This was the second study visit for the exchange of experiences organized within the project after the one organized in the 3 Austrian National Parks of të Gesäuse, Kalkapen and Thayatal, held in October 2022.

The ESPID 4 Vjosa project is a project financed by the Austrian Development Agency – ADA, which is implemented by the organizations Euronatur and EcoAlbania.

The project aims to facilitate the construction of bridges of cooperation between decision-making actors, civil society and science in the decision-making processes of governance and good management in the water sector, in the Vjosa river basin.