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Special consideration will be given to the assessment of human resource development needs, responsibility sharing, means and methodologies to appropriate financial mechanisms and management. The output will be an assessment report on the threats to forest and wetland ecosystems, opportunities and constraints to mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation into relevant economic sectors (e.g., forestry, fisheries), specific mitigation needed, and the capacities of national agencies to implement these. The report will also include a review of the state’s program on forest and wetland restoration, increasing the forest and wetland ecosystem health and productivity and rehabilitation of degraded lands and ecosystems.

Initial assessment and monitoring programs, including taxonomy

Albania has a rich and globally significant biological heritage (about 3,200 higher plants and 2,350 lower plants; and 15,600 species of invertebrates and vertebrates (including insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). Albania has 91 globally threatening species, some with special regional significance (Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, Pygmy Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, and Sturgeon, Acipenser sturio). The rates of biodiversity loss during the past 50 years are among the highest in Europe. At least two species of plants and four species of mammals are extinct, while 17 species of birds do not nest anymore in Albania. During the last 25 years, an estimated 122 species of vertebrates (27 mammals, 89 birds, and 6 fish) and four species of higher plants have lost more than 50% of their population. The number of rare and threatened species of plants and animals is high and expected to increase. These problems are the result of inadequacies in the Protected Areas System and its management, as well as weaknesses in mainstreaming biodiversity into sectoral development outside of protected areas.

Albania’s biodiversity monitoring programs and institutional capacities are not sufficient to collect, analyze, and mobilize action to remedy the condition of biodiversity in the country. To assist Albania to assess its biodiversity and monitor future trends, it is very important to finance an assessment of the capacity for establishing and using a biodiversity information database and monitoring system. This database should provide the necessary information for expanding the network of protected areas and monitoring the status of biodiversity and conservation initiatives throughout the country.

Incentive Measures for Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

Under current economic conditions, rural communities are turning increasingly to natural resources for subsistence, e.g., through hunting, fishing, gathering of medicinal and other wild plants, collecting fuel wood and harvesting trees. Dealing effectively with these urgent challenges will require a change from the current “top-down” approach to the development and enforcement of regulations to one with more participation of local communities, natural resource user groups, and other stakeholders. Albania has been successfully implementing community based approaches to forest management and irrigation through several Bank-financed projects. However, models of community based management have not yet been applied to protected areas.




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