Study Tour in three National Parks in Austria: Gesäuse, Kalkapen and Thayatal

In October 2022 a study visit took place in the National Park of Gesäuse, Kalkalpen, and Thayatal, in Austria. Part of the study visit were representatives of the local government, regional and national institutions directly related to the planning and management of the territory and water resources in Albania as well as national and international experts in the field of environment and management of protected areas. During the activity, the participants had the opportunity to get theoretical and practical knowledge on the definition and management aspects of the national park (IUCN Category II), challenges, and opportunities in relation to the involvement of the community in the co-management and promotion of natural values.

In-person meetings with the managers of the three parks encouraged discussions on administrative aspects from the point of view of financial sustainability, law enforcement, environmental education, scientific research, promotion, and cooperation with institutions and the community. Field visits enable the participants to have an authentic experience and better perception of the management principles of a national park, distinguishing features between core and management area as well as getting to know the infrastructure in support of eco-tourism and the promotion of the natural and touristic values of the three parks.

The study visit was organised in frame of ESPID4Vjosa project and aims to inform different stakeholders on the implementation of EU standards for the integrated management of water resources in the Vjosa basin in compliance with the Water Framework Directive. It also aims to present the necessary efforts and steps that must be taken to have a national park which fulfils the conservation objectives as well as enables well-being for the community.

The Espid4Vjosa project is implemented by EcoAlbania and EuroNatur and aims to strengthen cooperation between science, civil society and decision-makers to ensure integrated management of the Vjosa Water Basin.