THE HARDER THE BATTLE, THE SWEETER THE VICTORY!

The wetland complex of Divjaka Karavasta National Park (DKNP), located in the western part of Albania, is a designated:

📌Ramsar site 

📌Important Bird Area (IBA),

📌Candidate Emerald Site, 

📌Natura 2000 Pilot site.

Its ecological integrity is such that it supplies resources and habitats to more than 250 species (15 of which are globally endangered). Among the most endangered species, it supports is the Dalmatian Pelican, recognized as a flagship species of the DKNP. With approximately 5% of the population of this species found in DKNP, its presence signifies the important ecological values of DKNP. The vigilance for the protection of DKNP has been a priority for biologists and environmental experts as well as national and international organizations.

In March 2017, a threatening investment was proposed by the “Mabetex Group” to be implemented within the Divjaka Karavasta National Park (DKNP). The project consisted of the construction of a “Divjaka Resort Albania” upon the heart of biodiversity in Albania. The dimensions, standards, and location of this project threatened an irreversible impact on habitats, ecosystems, endangered species (particularly for the population of Dalmatian Pelican) and the ecological integrity of the DKNP. The proposed project included the construction of 370 villas and 2350 apartments, ushering in intensive tourism activity.

The masterplan was in breach of the following national legislation and international conventions ratified by Albania: 

📌Law on Protected Areas,

📌Law on Biodiversity,

📌Law on Protected Areas,

📌Law on Biodiversity,

📌Law on Fauna Protection,

📌Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance,

📌Bern Convention,

📌Espoo Convention,

📌AEWA Multilateral Agreement,

📌Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),

📌Aarhus Convention,

📌EU Directive on Nature Conservation (Bird Directive and Habitat Directive).

In response to this proposal, an NGO coalition including AOS immediately raised concern over the investment project within Divjaka Karavasta National Park, demanding the rejection of the proposed touristic resort. Initially, winning the battle against the “Mabetex Group” seemed impossible due to its support from specific public authorities. AOS, together with CSO of the NGO coalition, collaborated closely with international organizations and experts to address this issue at the highest level of public authorities. , Details of the plan proposed by the Mabetex Group were not disclosed to environmental organizations and experts, nor to the general public. Public concern increased, and in a situation where institutions limited the access of information, the fate of the DKNP remained at a crossroads amidst the pressure of the proposed project. Following the long, persistent battle, AOS together with the NGO coalition received tremendous news from the Strategic Investment Committee (SIC). SIC confirmed and published the decision to reject the construction of “Divjaka Resort Albania” in Divjaka Karavasta National Park (DPNP). Unified in their efforts, national and international environmental and civil society organizations and environmental experts prevailed in the battle against pressure from private investment “Mabetex Group” to allow their project to impact the ecological integrity of DKNP.

We express deep gratitude to all our civil society partners and for those public entities, such as the Regional Administration for Protected Areas of Fier, that contributed from the start of the campaign and remained faithful and resolute until the end of the battle. This SIC news is a good omen for the continuation of the second battle, the preservation of the values of the Albanian Network of Protected Areas. This time the danger is within us! But we will be there!

 

 

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