UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Press Release


Another step towards a shared vision for the management of the extended Drin Basin: the Albanian National Consultation Meeting

Tirana, 6 April 2011 --

Representatives of national, regional and local authorities, important economic sectors, water users associations, academia, private sector, NGOs as well representatives of international organizations and donor countries met on 5 April 2011, in Tirana, Albania to:

  • discuss and elaborate on management issues, needs and actions for the sustainable management of the Drin Basin extended in the country i.e. Prespa, Ohrid, Drin, Shkoder and Buna sub-basins, thus;
  • facilitate the development of the Strategic Shared Vision for the management of the Drin Basin.

The meeting was opened by ministers responsible for water management in the basin: H.E Mr. Fatmir Mediu, Minister of Environment, Forests and Water Administration, H.E. Mr. Nexhati Jakupi, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Tarzan Milosevic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Montenegro, H.E. Mr. Dardan Gashi, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Kosovo (U.N. administered region, S.C. Res. 1244) and by Mr. Marco Keiner, Director of UNECE’s Environment Division. The ministers expressed their strong support to the Drin Dialogue and development of the cooperation in the Drin basin.

The Albanian National Consultation Meeting was the second of the series of meetings within the Drin Dialogue.  A National Consultation Meeting was organized in November 2010 in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia while one more will be organized in Montenegro in summer 2011. A consultation meeting involving all countries sharing the basin will be organized later this year.

The Tirana meeting discussed the main challenges in the Drin basin as well as possible responses. Enhanced transboundary cooperation for the sustainable management of the extended Drin basin institutionalised through a joint commission was acknowledged as one of the responses, among others, to decrease risks for serious floods as those that occurred in December 2010, as well as to enhance protection of biodiversity.

On the 6th April the results of the national consultations was discussed with representatives of countries from all parts of the river basin. Plans were drawn up for the further development of an agreed shared vision for the joint management of the transboundary Drin basin by autumn 2011.

Note to editors

The Drin Dialogue is a structured consultation process that aims to develop a shared vision among the riparians and stakeholders for the sustainable management of the Drin Basin. The Drin Dialogue is facilitated by UNECE and the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) using the platform of the UNECE Water Convention and the Petersberg Phase II/Athens Declaration Process. It is financially supported by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The Drin Basin covers a geographical area that includes Albania, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo (U.N. administered region, S.C. Res. 1244)) and Montenegro. The Drin River is the “connecting body” of this water system, linking the lakes, wetlands, rivers and other aquatic habitats into a single ecosystem of major importance. The region is very rich in endemic species and exceptional in terms of biodiversity conservation, and so has great potential for the development of sustainable tourism.

The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Water and International Lakes (Water Convention) is an important legal framework for transboundary water management in the pan-European region. Currently, 35 countries and the European Community are Parties to the Convention. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro are preparing for accession; Albania and Greece are already Parties.

The Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) is a platform bringing together competent organizations working on water issues in the Mediterranean region. Created in 2002, this NGO promotes and exchanges knowledge on integrated water resources’ management for the sustainable use of the region’s water resources. GWP-Med is the technical secretariat of the Petersberg Phase II/Athens Declaration Process for Southeast Europe, a framework for the development of transboundary water cooperation in the region. For more information, see http://www.gwpmed.org

Contact information:

Bo Libert
UNECE Regional Adviser on Environment
Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 2396
Email: bo.libert@unece.org

Ref: ECE/ENV/11/P13