PRESENTATION OF REGIONAL PROJECT «SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE FOR SUSTAINABLE BALKANS» IN BRUSSELS
At the conference in Brussels on 23 and 24th of June this year, regional consortium of CSOs from Albania (Institute for Environmental Policy), former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FLOROZON – Center for Environmental Democracy), Kosovo* (NGO AKTIV) and Montenegro (CZIP Center for Protection and Research of Birds), led by Organisation ORCA from Serbia, presented the project ‘Sustainable agriculture for sustainable Balkans’.
At the conference organised by European Commission, Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR, a total of 16 projects of consortiums from the Western Balkans and Turkey were presented. Projects are aimed at strengthening of regional thematic networks and capacities of CSOs, and are financed by the European Union. This event was the opportunity for consortium representatives to network and strengthen communication with representatives of European Commission and Centres of Thematic Expertise. Conference participants exchanged experiences in communication, administrative and technical issues related to project management financed by the European Commission.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions or status, and in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
On the international day of environment, Institute of Environmental Policies (IEP) and Co-PLAN, in the frame of the ENV.net project organized an interactive training for the newly graduated students “On Protection of Environmental Resources through engaging the young professionals”. The activity aimed to increase awareness on environmental protection against climate change, and also increase awareness on renewable energy resources”. The activity was part of the Youth for Energy Policy network.
The activity took place in the premises of Polis University and it was divided in two parts: i) the first part was dedicated to the presentation of the existing situation Hydro Power Plants, production of electrical energy in Albania through these plants and best practices from different EU countries on using RES for production of electrical energy; ii) the second part was more of a workshop, where the participants were divided in groups to analyse the past, present and future situation for energy production in Albania, followed by an action plan.
The event was very fruitful, where several discussions were raised by the youth representatives, where the main points are listed below:
Increase awareness among the youth on using RES for production of electrical energy
Real analysis on the actual need or not for Hydro Power Plants to produce electrical energy
An exchange policy of electrical energy between Albania and Kosovo during the year, based on the amount of energy these countries have in different times of the years. .
Information and analyses for the environmental impact from the alternative resources to produce energy, as the sun or the wind
This activity proved to be more than necessary for the young professionals, by helping their critical thought toward protection of environmental resources and evaluation of potentials for production of electrical energy through using RES.
The Institute for Environmental Policy (Albania) and Grashnica Ohrid (Macedonia), have implemented parallel projects for introducing new ways of water protection and water management in the Lake Ohrid basin in Albania and Macedonia during 2014-2015; the two parallel projects were financed by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Projects were implemented in the framework of climate change effects that will affect the area of Lake Ohrid basin.
The conclusions from our projects showed that Lake Ohrid basin is an area with relatively small population, but with big and urgent problems that mostly stem from lack of awareness on solutions and best methods tried elsewhere, which has been successful in minimizing water wasting and water pollution.
1. In order to minimize water use from agriculture in the area, and minimize pollution that goes in Ohrid Lake, we recommend to the local authorities and farmer the introduction and use of drip irrigation, a technique which will save a lot of water which is now taken from streams that feed Ohrid Lake (and sometimes directly from Ohrid Lake), and minimize run off, which sends loads of nutrients and other chemicals to the lake, thus creating eutrophication and pollution. Drip irrigation is an affordable technique, with savings being bigger than the effect that traditional way of irrigation through open canals has on the environment and ecosystems.
2. We recommend the use of constructed wetlands for wastewater in small populated areas or settlements, where the amount of polluted water is not big and can be treated using wetlands which will minimize or eliminate the extra pollutants and nutrients which now empty directly in Ohrid Lake. Constructed wetlands are a cheap and natural way of filtering wastewater, and also they are a way to create ecosystems and biomass. The costs of building wetlands are low and affordable for area of Ohrid Lake.
3. We recommend and urge the local and central authorities to do more to prevent pollution from solid waste, especially plastic waste, which is harming the ecosystems and the lake, posing threats not only to biodiversity, but also to the health of people and preventing the development of further tourism in some areas. We urge the local authorities to implement the “stick and carrot” method, by doing more on awareness raising on littering and on implementing stringent measures for those that litter.
4. We recommend to the international donors and to local authorities of Lake Ohrid basin from Albania and Macedonia, to support more youth exchange initiatives related to exchanging of experiences and awareness raising on protecting the lake, as a unique patrimony shared between the two countries.
The full position paper can be read here
This publication is financially supported by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, in the frame of “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow In Ohrid Lake Region” project.
“The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.”