STOP Urbanization of Divjakë-Karavasta National Park

Press Release from the Grouping of Environmental Organizations for PK Divjakë-Karavasta.

Tirana, April 14, 2017. The Coalition of Civil Society in Defense of the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park expresses its high concern regarding the proposal for the construction of an urban center in the heart of the National Park and the destruction of its values.

During the press conference on the issue of the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park. (c) B. Guri/EcoAlbania

Divjakë-Karavasta National Park is one of the most popular Protected Areas, of national and international importance and at the same time the most preserved natural territory in Albania. As such, the Park is protected not only by Albanian legislation but also by several international conventions such as: Ramsar Convention, Berne Convention, ESPOO, etc. Githashtu Divjakë-Karavastaja is a constituent area of the Emerald Network, the Important Area for Birds, the epicenter of Albania’s Biodiversity and Protected Areas.

The Mabetex Group company has presented the project for the construction of a tourist resort within the National Park at a table organized by the Ministry of Environment on April 6, 2017, which was accompanied by debates and disagreements from all present.

The construction project aims to occupy and alienate 10% of the Park’s territory, while the accompanying infrastructure (roads, lighting, electrical network, breakwaters, etc.) will negatively affect its entire surface. For a value of only 1 Euro, the project seeks to occupy 12 km of coastline, where it is planned to build: 2400 apartments, 370 villas, a tourist resort of 90 ha and a city for 18,000 inhabitants. This new urban center is twice the population of the city of Divjaka, while it has a much wider spread.

“The urbanization named as the Master Plan “Divjakë Resort Albania” and proposed in today’s form by the Mabetex Group Company to the Albanian authorities is nothing but a new construction project in a Protected Area that seeks to privately benefit from a national asset preserved for centuries and sanctioned in several protective legal acts that have their origins since 1964,” said Taulant Bino from AOS (Albanian Ornithologists’ Association).

The project is in complete contradiction with Albanian legislation on protected areas and ratified conventions which strictly prohibit construction in the Central Area of the National Park. “The procedure followed so far for its presentation to the public is wrong and tries to hide the destructive character of this project for the flora and fauna of the National Park”, said Valbona Mazreku, from the organization Miliukontakt Albania.

The presented project will not only destroy the ecosystem, component habitats and wildlife, but will also affect the local economy, mainly that of fishing. It will accelerate the pollution of the ecosystem through the intensification of agriculture.

The coalition calls on the Albanian Politics and Government to implement the national and international legal framework for the protected areas and to give up the projects that violate the integrity of the protected areas in Albania.

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