EU for Nature (to support Albania in achieving Natura2000 standards and protect biodiversity in Protected Areas)

EU for Nature (to support Albania in achieving Natura2000 standards and protect biodiversity in Protected Areas)


Project Value 7,552,388.00 €
Project Status Ongoing
Implementing Partners

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (AICS)


EU Contribution
5,500,000.00 €
Project Timeline
1.09.2023- 1.09.2028

Overall Objective

The Overall Objective of the Action is to contribute to the protection and conservation of at least 25 per cent of the Albanian territory (at land and at sea) by 2030 through the establishment and the effective management of a system of Protected Areas (PA), including NATURA 2000 sites and other effective area-based conservation measures.

Summary of the Project

The project will support Albania in improving the management of protected areas with a focus on areas particularly important for biodiversity, as part of the preparation for the Natura 2000 network. The overall intervention consists of eight outputs contributing to the outcome target of improving the effectiveness of management of protected areas. The Action will strengthen the capacities of relevant institutions, revise and compile new management plans for protected areas and for the use of forest and non-timber forest products, support the establishment of performance monitoring systems, support the implementation of conservation measures, support CSOs in implementing nature-based solutions and measures against environmental crime, and raise awareness on Natura 2000 and conservation.


Output 1.1 – Strengthened capacities of the relevant institutions to effectively manage Protected Areas (PAs) according to the EU acquis and best practices.

  1. 1.1.1 Rapid assessment of the level of transposition and implementation of the EU Nature Protection Acquis

A. 1.1.2 Support the development of new legislation to achieve full transposition of the EU Nature Protection acquis

  1. 1.1.3 Develop the secondary legislation, regulatory acts and mechanisms that are related to the implementation of nature legislation requirements.

A 1.1.4 Run a capacity and resource needs assessment targeting the PA Management Committees to ensure effective PA management and the implementation of Birds and Habitats Directive.

A 1.1.5 Design, develop, and deliver a capacity building and career development certification program tailored to the priority needs of the target groups and aimed at further strengthening the effectiveness of PAs in Albania.

A 1.1.6 Assist the PAs management through the Youth4Nature Program.

Output 1.2 – Revised and new protected areas management plans through assessment of biodiversity values and threats following Natura 2000 requirements.

A 1.2.1 Support the revision and update of existing management plans, including business, communication, monitoring evaluation (M&E) plans.

A 1.2.2 Support the development of new management plans, including business, communication, M&E plans, for all PAs still lacking one.

A 1.2.3 Develop and implement specific Action Plans for the most vulnerable/important species.

A 1.2.4 Update the national reference lists of habitats and species types occurring in Albania.

A 1.2.5 Develop and publish an Interpretation Manual of Albanian Habitats with guidance on conservation measures.

A 1.2.6 Develop new data sets and GIS maps on distribution of habitats and species for at least 10 selected sites as SCI from the Preliminary list of Natura 2000 sites

A 1.2.7 Complete the Natura 2000 Standard Data Form for selected sites.

A 1.2.8 Develop a Road map for the finalisation of the Natura 2000 network in Albania.

Output 1.3 – Performance monitoring system in place.

  1. 1.3.1 Preparation of a capacity building plan and delivery of related trainings for the enforcement of legislation related to nature protection and biodiversity.
  2. 1.3.2 Provide necessary equipment to ensure effective monitoring and enforcement in the PA.

A 1.3.3 Implement a national-wide PA management effectiveness system (building on the METT-4 methodology).

A 1.3.4 Conduct a training to introduce the Protected Areas Performance Monitoring System to relevant staff.

A 1.3.5 Ensure the participation of relevant staff in peer-to-peer exchanges of best practices in EU PAs/NATURA 2000.

Output 1.4 – Conservation and restoration measures foreseen in the management plans are implemented.

A 1.4.1 Identify priority conservation measures and restoration of degraded habitats/ecosystems activities for immediate implementation form the management plans at selected PA level in line with gender equity, livelihood and socio economic criterial.

A 1.4.2 Support the implementation of selected priority measures from the MPs.

A 1.4.3 Provide selected PAs with the equipment/resources needed to ensure effective management, monitoring in the PAs.

A 1.4.4 Identify ecosystem restoration activities to be implemented through small-scale works.

A 1.4.5 Implement small-scale works of ecosystem restoration.

  1. 1.4.6 Awareness Raising to promote the role of PAs/Natura 2000 network in protecting Biodiversity and contributing to the sustainable development.

Output 1.5 – New management plans for the use of forest and non-timber forest products developed.

A 1.5.1 Develop multifunctional forest management plans in selected forest formation within PAs.

A 1.5.2 Design and deliver capacity building activities targeting non-timber forest producers.

Output 1.6 Support to civil society for environmental protection and restoration of protected areas

A 1.6.1 Design, monitor, evaluate a Grant program in collaboration with MTE to identify and implement mechanisms in nature conservation and sustainable development of the PAs.

A 1.6.2 Implement the Grant program.

Output 1.7 Nature-based solutions (focusing but not limited to nature protection /conservation and fighting of environmental crime) implemented

A 1.7.1 Identify a activities to be implemented using nature-based solutions models.

A 1.7.2 Implement 6 activities using nature-based solutions models in selected PAs.

A 1.7.3 Design and deliver capacity building activities on how Nature based solutions reduce/prevent environmental crime.

Expected Results

Output 1.1 will strengthen the institutional set up and advance the transposition of the EU Nature Protection Acquis, while continuously building the capacities of relevant institutions and authorities in PAs design and management. Technical assistance will be provided to review the Law on Protected Areas and to clarify the monitoring process, following the changes at the Environmental Inspectorate level, but also to precise the role of the Special Fund for Protected Areas. The Action will support the development and implementation of secondary legislation to ensure law is fully and properly complied with through necessary controls and penalties (Enforcement).

The management effectiveness of existing PAs and new ones will be enhanced by revising, updating, and developing new management plans (Outputs 1.2), by ensuring the effective monitoring of PAs performances through the establishment of Performance Monitoring Systems (Output 1.3), and by supporting the implementation of priority conservation and restoration activities at selected PAs (Output 1.4). Identification and selection of protected areas will be done during the inception phase in close cooperation with NAPA. Development of new data sets and GIS maps will be in line with all government requirements by cooperating with NAICT. Regarding the implementation of conservation and restoration activities will be done in cooperation with NAPA and local government and the final handover will be accomplished with the beneficiaries like NAPA, RAPA, local government and/ or other stakeholders.


Management plans will be also developed for the sustainable management of priority habitats and species (Output 1.2), as well as that of timber and non-timber forest products (Output 1.5).


The crucial role of Albanian civil society organizations (CSO) as key agent for environmental protection and sustainable development will be further enhanced through a Small Grant Program in support to the implementation of innovative pilot actions to enhance PAs management (Output 1.6), as well as to implement Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and measures against environmental crime (Output 1.7). The criteria for protected areas, grants, monitoring and evaluation will be selected in the inception phase in close cooperation with MTE/NAPA, as well as local government. Cooperation will be established with ASCS.  CSOs can indeed help enhance the effectiveness of the Albanian PAs i) by directly contributing to the implementation of the priority actions listed in the PA management plans (MP), such as education activities targeting visitors or school children, ii) by proposing innovative solutions to address priority concerns in the PAs, such as actions to prevent marine plastic litter, or iii) by developing/promoting Nature-based Solutions that contribute to the PA objectives.

Project Reference Number IPA III/2023/445-342