Tepelenë, October 14, 2022. Today, a visit of the Parliamentary Committee for Production, Trade and Environment took place in the Vjosa valley to discuss the vision of Vjosa’s protection. The meeting organized in Tepelena by the OSCE Presence in Tirana brought together the Members of Parliament, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the Local Government, Civil Society, etc.
In her speech, the Minister of Environment Mrs. Kumbaro emphasized the extraordinary importance and great responsibility in the government’s commitment to the protection of the Vjosa valley to give it the status of a National Park. The visit took place in the premises of the Vjosa Research Center, a joint initiative of the University of Tirana and EcoAlbania to emphasize the importance of the unique ecosystem of Vjosa from a scientific point of view. Its operation is financially supported by the Austrian Development Agency in Albania.
The president of the commission, Mr. Pëllumbi, during his speech, thanked those present for the engagement and organization of this meeting as he assessed it as important in terms of the environment and common interest, and also pointed out the support of the process through the engagement of the actors and the efforts to ensure that at every stage the project for Vjosa to be embraced by everyone, for the common good.
Olsi Nika, the Executive Director of EcoAlbania, after expressing the honor of delivering the welcome speech at the Vjosa Research Center, said: “To get here, perhaps a whole Vjosa has flowed with the tireless efforts of the Civil Society and many other actors to highlight the rare values of Vjosa and to protect it in its natural state. Today we are witnessing a public and serious commitment of the government to declare Vjosa and its tributaries as a National Park and it is not just about protecting a river or part of biodiversity, but about a new and special model that Albania although a small country and prone to rapid development, it is offering Europe and the world in the framework of nature conservation. And when this commitment comes in the context of an energy crisis like the current one, it is worth welcoming and doubly supported”.
In his speech, Nika also focused on the importance of cross-border cooperation in the protection of the river, presenting the joint efforts of Civil Society in Albania and Greece for the preservation of Vjosa/Aoos, which can serve as a catalyst for the coordination of work. even at the government level. These efforts would contribute to the declaration of the First Transboundary National Park of a wild river in Europe.