In a multi-stakeholder event held 24 November, the Agency for Water Resources Management (AMBU), the competent authority in the country for integrated water resources management, presented a draft legal package for bringing Albania close to fully compliance with the “EU acquis”. Ms. Gerta Lubonja, the General Director of the Agency, stated: “remarkable results can be achieved through joint work and dedicated cooperation. It is therefore crucial that we jointly tackle the challenge of transposing the EU water legislation requirements since this is a critical element of departure in the EU integration process”.
The new legislation, which will improve compliance with no less than nine EU directives relative to water, was prepared with the support of the “EU Support to Integrated Water Management” project co-financed by the European Union and co-financed and implemented by Austrian Development Cooperation.
Austrian Ambassador in Albania, Dr. Christian Steiner, highlighted that Austria considers Albania a close partner and friend. ‘’We strongly support Albania’s EU integration process and integrated water management remains a priority area for Austrian Development Cooperation. The presence of different partners and institutions in this meeting shows that there is strong willingness to cooperate jointly on water management as a key element under chapter 27 for the EU accession process, including the reforms necessary to this extent’’, he stated.
Mr. Mario Mariani, Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation to Albania, congratulated Albania, first for the benefits this package will generate to Albanian citizens, then for moving closer to EU at a crucial time when the EU Green Agenda for the Western Balkans is launched and the EU membership negotiation framework discussed. He called Albania to not miss this momentum and adjust its capacities accordingly. “The coming consultation phase is indeed very challenging and demanding, and you can count on the EU support towards a sustainable management of natural resources!’’
To ensure an integrated water resources management in Albania in line with EU standards, cooperation between various institutions is of an utmost importance. At central level, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are the key stakeholders to cooperate with Agency for Water Resources Management. Ms. Ornela Çuçi, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment highlighted that ‘’we are all very proud on the positive progress achieved regarding environment sector as an official response to EU Recommendations under Chapter 27 of the progress report. Together with Agency for water resources management we have established communication and cooperation to jointly use the institutional capacities in place’’. Mr. Sokol Dedja, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs highlighted as well ‘’Our aim is to ensure for the Albanian citizens the similar EU life and environmental conditions. Recommendations and responsibilities from the Chapter 27 on environment are very challenging and yet very significant to the integration process’’.
Water resources and water quality are essential for sustaining our ecosystems and biodiversity, a healthy society and citizens, and our country economy, in view of growing pollutions and climate change threats. The integrated Water Resources Management promotes a coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to ensure economic and social welfare in an equitable manner and the quality and sustainability of our environment.
The Agency for Water Resources Management (AMBU), established in 2018 is the competent authority for integrated water management in the country responsible for management of the water resources inventory, water cadaster and register of the water users and preparation and implementation of river basin management plans, together with its four river basin offices.
The EUSIWM Project co-funded by EU and implemented by Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) is supporting AMBU with technical assistance for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, through improvement of legal framework, EU compliant and the preparation of river basin management plans for Mat, Ishwm-Erzen river basins.
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