CALL FOR GRANTING, COACHING AND TRAINING for strengthening advocacy capacities of CSOs for sustainable agriculture in the Western Balkans

CALL FOR GRANTING, COACHING AND TRAINING: ORCA (Serbia), on behalf of consortium of partners: AKTIV (Kosovo*), FLOROZON (FYR of Macedonia), CZIP (Montenegro) i IEP (Albania), announces:

for strengthening advocacy capacities of CSOs
for sustainable agriculture in the Western Balkans

We are inviting civil society organisations (CSOs) to submit Concept note related to advocacy initiative in one of the thematic areas of sustainable agriculture: water quality, soil quality, crop production, livestock production, energy and waste management, food safety, consumer protection, biodiversity and landscape conservation, welfare of people working in agriculture.

Concept note should be innovative advocacy initiative which clearly and credibly demonstrates the relevance of sustainable agiruculture and its aspects. Of special importance is active participation of decision-makers, general public and other relevant stakeholders.

The Call is opened until 10 October 2016 at 16 hours for all CSOs from Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, FYROM and Kosovo active in different aspects of sustainable agriculture.

More information about conditions for applying can be found in Guidelines for applicants with accompanying annexes at webpage

Organisation with successful Concept note will participate in programme aimed to strengthen capacities of CSOs for advocacy and internal governance, improve their knowledge and skills for writing project proposals and contribute to development and implementation of sustainable agriculture policies in the Western Balkans. This programme is made of three components:

  1.  Training of selected CSOs on organisational development, internal governance and advocacy (November/December 2016)
  2. Coaching for writing project proposals in the area of sustainable agriculture. CSOs will be provided with expert support for development of full applications (January-March 2017)
  3. Granting CSOs with maximum 25.000 euros per grant. 10 best advocacy project proposals for sustainable agriculture will be granted (May 2017 – May 2018).

Programme is conducted as part of project “Sustainable agriculture for sustainable Balkans: Strengthening advocacy capacities of CSOs and developing policies in the Western Balkans” financed by European Union and lasts for four years, with total budget of 960.760 euros.

Advocacy is one of most important tools in the work of CSO which enables citizens to solve different problems they are facing – influencing policies and legislation, their enforcement and change of culture in relation to relevant issues.

Agriculture is one of the most important economic pillars of the Western Balkans countries because it makes significant part of the gross domestic product (15-25%), and agricultural land covers 40-60% of these countries’ territories. In order for agriculture to be sustainable, it has to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Everybody has benefits from sustainable agriculture – from agricultural producers having direct economic profit and better market access, through economy and increased profit through production of quality products, to consumers who can buy healthy, safe and quality food.

Youth Exchange “Ecotourism: Developing an attitude that respects the environment and the cultural heritage”

Venue: Berat (Albania)
Period: 18 – 23 October 2016 (travel days excluded)
Applying organization: IPSIA Acli

Hosting Organization: Institute for Environmental Policy IEP

Participants: 38 from Albania (7), Italy (7), Spain (7), Belgium (5), Latvia (6), Kosovo (6)

Language: English
Background and theme of the youth exchange:
Tourism is an inestimable resource for the local communities and should contribute to the protection of the natural and cultural heritage. Instead, it often happens that tourism becomes one the main causes of the ecosystems’ deterioration and has therefore a negative impact on the habitats and landscape, through the pollution of air and waters and the scattering of hardly-biodegradable waste. In this way, despite representing an important economic resource, tourism compromises the bequest we will pass to future generations in terms of richness of the flora and fauna and preservation of the environment.
It is then fundamental for tourism to become ‘green’ and worry about preserving the natural and cultural capital instead of damaging it. For this reason, ecotourism is a concept that is widely spread nowadays.
By ecotourism it is meant a responsible attitude of the traveller, aiming at the preservation of the environment in the respect of the local populations. Ecotourism is then first of all a philosophy, a way of life that arises from the traveller’s consciousness of his/her impact on the environment. The aim of this youth exchange is then exactly to stimulate reflection and come to the consciousness that our behaviour has an impact on what surrounds us, impact that can be reduced with a more responsible attitude.
The youth exchange will be held in Berat, recognised as UNESCO’s cultural heritage.
Many activities will take place in the open air and foresee the interaction with the local people. Simulations will also be done to calculate the participant’s ecological footprint on the environment. In this way, the participants will acquire a deeper consciousness of the consequences of their behaviour on the environment. Through the interaction with the locals, participants will also be lead to reflect about the weight of their cultural patterns when approaching a new culture and develop a more open and tolerant.
For more information, check the infopack Youth Exchange Infopack




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.

June 5th – An interactive training “On protection of natural resources in Albanian engaging young professionals”

On the international day of environment, Institute of Environmental Policies (IEP) and Co-PLAN, in the frame of the 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.
Të rinjtë pjesëmarrës

(Shqip) Apokalipsi mjedisor vjen në Tiranë!

From Endri Haxhiraj and Edvin Pacara

After cutting forests in Librazhd, permitting the construction of dams in Vjosë, today the cement comes very close to the house of every citizen of Tirana. Outside the political parties, a group of citizens gathered on Sunday 21 February to protect for the Lake Park in Tirana. They wanted the park to preserve the identity, say no to the cement and cutting. Removing the poles of the site within the park perimeter had a cost to the protesters: violence, insults, punches and arrests. What they saw was such a violence as the policeman were in the front of a criminal group. But no! They were young children, elderly, students, environmental activists, professors, engineers, aware citizens and other activists protesters who think differently.protesta parkut





Conference on Ruminant Livestock Production: Improving efficiency and reducing environmental impact

According to FAO statistics the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture in 2012 were:
o Animals ruminants (mainly cattle) with 40% CH4
o Ruminants faeces on the ground with 16% of N2O
o Synthetic fertilizers by 13%
o Management of animal by 7% N2O
According to FAO, while transport and industry that emit 84% of greenhouse gases in 2012 and the plan to reduce 60% in 2050, livestock emitting 16% of greenhouse will increase its emissions to 40% in by the year 2015. For this reason, livestock farming needs special attention on climate change.
It is believed that carbohydrates used as feed to cattle produce less methane than forage diets. The effects are clear with 90% concentrate produce 2-3% CH4.100_1063

Wheat needed to concentrate can be used directly as human food as need a high amount of flour to feed the cows. Or can be used for chickens that produce less CH4. According the study, the amount of concentrate can be reduced without reducing production or CH4 growth through increased forage quality which does not affect the rumen microbial populations. (Nitrogen, carbohydrate, lipid studies, Pekka Huhtanen)
According to a metastudy between cows rumen ammonia and urea milk, urea in milk unit are lower compared with the manipulation of the diet version. Rumen ammonia and urea milk are positively associated with dietary digestion.
Other studies show that low CH4 production per unit are a conseguence of the increase of production, but the liberation of nitrogen per unit increases and this depends on the amount of conversion of nitrogen in N2O. In this way, greenhouse gases may not change but N2O emissions will increase.
Also, reducing ruminal degradibile protein may reduce the efficiency of nitrogen microbial synthesis leading to overall benefit of reducing protein ruminal degradibile less than expected.

General conclusions
o Potential reduction of CH4 from animal nutrition is limited.
o Increase of concentrates has increased cost and health problems while the wheat can be used directly as food for man.
o Increased protein supplements may reduce CH4 per unit product but increases the release of N and increasing the cost of food.


Position Paper on the status of water management in Ohrid Lake

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.”

“Seeds” planted for Lake Ohrid conservation

Pollution of Lake Ohrid from waste and sewage water from one hand and the use of its water for agricultural needs on the other hand are a serious threat to the ecosystem of the lake. Awareness of local residents is unfortunately not at the right level.
Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) believes that those who can give a long-term guarantees for the conservation of the Lake are young people who live in these areas. If young people of different ages are aware, they will definitely affect the awareness of their families, friends and other people. Passion and youth volunteerism for the lake protection is expressed in some cases, such as cleaning action for Lin area in November this year by the elementary school Myredin Bashalli in the village of Lin, Pogradec. In this context, IEP held a meeting with pupils of 8th and 9th grade of this school in order to know them with some environmental conservation practices for Ohrid Lake and some of the project findings “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow in Ohrid Lake Region”.
The meeting was welcomed by the director of the school Mr Agron Qyshkollari and vice. director of IEP Mr. Endri Haxhiraj. Conservation practices and pilot project were presented by Mr. Rodion Gjoka. The activity was made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).







IEP meets with Lin community (Pogradec) to present a Pilot Project on drip irrigation

On 24 November 2015, in the village of Lin, the Institute for Environmental Policy held a meeting with the Lin community representatives. The participation was estimable, the village reeve, the school director, supervisor of the water pump, environmental inspector for Pogradec, entrepreneurial family business, young unemployeds ect.
At the meeting, IEP rapresentants, Endri Haxhiraj, Rodion Gjoka and Edvin Pacara recognized the participants with project findings concerning the pollution in the area of Lin and opportunities to prevent and combat this phenomenon and protect the lake. Rodion Gjoka presented how some simple techniques through drip irrigation can save water, whether to fight drought as a result of climate change, and to be independent from the lake water. The meeting also discussed other techniques such as rainwater storage, agriculture buffer zone and composting. Endri Haxhiraj highlighted Lin as a potential tourist area, which requires determination in maintaining a clean environment and to protection it.
IEP prepared a guide of best practices that was delivered to the participants and other residents of this community. Pilot project for Lin found is attached (Albanian version/ soon it will be translated). The publications and activities were made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).










IEP meeting in Pogradec for the project results

On 24 November, in the frame the project “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow in Ohrid Lake Region”, funded by CEPF, the Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) held a meeting with representatives of Pogradec Municipality and its administrators, water specialists, the Koran growth plant in Lin village, local and regional environmental inspectorate, Macedonian NGOs working within Ohrid lake etc.
At this meeting, IEP presented the strategy for water and climate change management in order to protect and preserve the ecosystems in the basin of Lake Ohrid. This document sets out the issues of long and short term measures to be taken.
Another paper presented at the meeting was, the pilot project “Efficient Irrigation in defense of Lake Ohrid,” deals with the implementation of a full cycle of water management for the area of Lin. It explains the Scada system and drip irrigation components, ways of water management and conservation, buffer zones and sanitation, and measures to be taken. Macedonian colleagues from Grashanica organization presented a broader perspective on the management of Lake Ohrid.
The meeting was greeted by the Deputy Mayor of Pogradec, expressing his appreciation and desire for the implementation of such projects when funds will be available.
Numerous discussions were addressed by the participants on topics such as lack of awareness for the waste disposal, the fishing association as regulator of fishing on the lake, the investments made in the sector of water management, the need of wetlands etc.
This is the opening meeting of a series of activities to be undertaken in the Municipality of Pogradec. The pilot project and the strategy proposed by the IEP will be available in English soon (attached the Albanian version). Publications and activities were made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).











Strategjia PG 2015