Albania takes a great step forward towards marine spatial planning

Under the Bilateral Agreement between UNEP/MAP and IMELS

As part of the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) activities under the Cooperation Agreement, SPA/RAC in coordination with PAP/RAC supported the implementation of MSP and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in Albania through a pilot project.

The MSP pilot project has been of particular importance for the country, since it consisted of one of its first efforts towards MSP implementation

The most remarkable result of the project was the development of the Preliminary MSP study of Vlora area (Albania) and the Preliminary guidelines for MSP elaboration and implementation in Albania. A close collaboration between SPA/RAC and NAPA allowed the successful involvement of several stakeholders in this work.

The MSP study of Vlora area includes the elaboration of different GIS information layers related to human activities, sensitive areas, protected areas, fisheries and aquaculture areas, diving areas, ship traffic, etc.  These layers were integrated into a single map to facilitate the analysis of uses and potential conflicts, and to make preliminary proposals for MSP. The MSP study, in particular the map and the proposals, was a key tool that enabled stakeholders to showcase all marine activities in one single map and to start discussing possible MSP scenarios and move forward the process, in accordance with the guidelines for MSP implementation. 

Phases of the MSP cycle 

In addition, the project also enabled several stakeholders to benefit from an MSP training which highlighted linkages between MSP, IMAP (Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme), MPA (Marine protected Areas) management and ecosystem conservation. A proposal including several spatial measures proposal was issued as an outcome from the training, among which the establishment of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to protect Karaburun Sazan SPAMI from possible commercial ship accidents.

MSP training workshop

Moreover, a study to select areas for anchoring buoys was elaborated within the project in coordination with NAPA. The study aimed at selecting areas along the Albanian coast were anchoring buoys could allow to mitigate the impact on marine habitat and to better manage leisure boats activity. Thanks to that study, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment provided NAPA with a dedicated budget to install buoys in some selected sites.

The MSP Pilot project has given a boost to the MSP implementation in Albania, providing relevant support to national efforts for the sustainable management of marine ecosystems. The MSP process in Albania is continuing through other activities and initiatives, supported by UNEP/MAP and its relevant Components, including through the ongoing GEF Adriatic project.

Links to the study and guidelines:

  • Assessment of the Ecological Status and MSP preliminary initial assessment in Vlora Marine Area (Albania) in the framework of the MSP Pilot Project (Albanian- English)
  • Guidelines for Marine Spatial Planning process in Albania (Albanian- English)
  • Anchoring buoys for small pleasure boats in Albania (Albanian- English)

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published on 2020/06/17 16:35:00 GMT+0 last modified 2020-06-17T17:34:40+00:00