Implementation of Aarhus Convention in Albania: struggle and policy implementation

The ratification of Aarhus Convention, which is also called “democracy in the environmental field”, is one of the most important acts in the environmental legislation in Albania. Although Albania has ratified this convention in 2001, there are still things to be done in order to fully implement it.

This policy paper analysis the implementation of Aarhus Convention in Albania, problems that have arisen during this implementations, and puts forward policy options and recommendations for the Albanian decision makers in regard to Aarhus Convention implementation. The paper also explores the issues that the public has in implementing Aarhus Convention.

Conclusions from the analysis and the research, indicate that Albania has a legal framework which favors transparency; however, public participation and access to justice are the pillars where there need for specific amending laws and by-laws, in order to facilitate the implementation of the legal framework. This is very important to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the two levels of government-central and local, and for clarifying these roles and responsibilities within the same level of government. Another key point is that the implementation of the three pillars of Aarhus Convention (access to information, public participation, and access to justice) is still weak. The respective authorities are equipped badly in terms of necessary knowledge and skills for their implementation. There are still problems like: lack of deep knowledge of the Convention from the civil servants in the central and local governments; lack of financial resources and technical infrastructure; need for more harmonization of the actual legislation with the Convention; and lack of practical implementation of the pillars of the Convention.