Drin Day 2016
Raising awareness among local communities
on the importance of sustainable management for the Drin River Basin
Following its successful organization in 2014 and 2015, the 3rd Drin Day was celebrated on 5 May 2016to sensitize a wide range of local stakeholders on the critical value of the Drin River Basin and its ecosystem services in the local communities’ everyday quality of life and economic activity. About 1.5 million people rely on the basin’s freshwater resources for drinking water. They also rely on economic activities that use Drin’s water such as agriculture, fisheries, industry, hydropower generation and tourism. The Drin Day aims also to mobilize decision makers and users towards action that will secure that water will be available for all uses in adequate quality and quantity.
Drin Day in Albania was organized by Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) in collaboration with the Regional Agency of Protected Areas of Korça. The activity took place on the 5th of May in the Great Prespa Lake and included a field expedition in the Park and by lake of a closed group of 20 students from bio-chemistry Faculty of Korça.The Prespa lakes, as part of the greater Drin River Basin, are among the oldest lakes in Europe and form one of the most outstanding hotspots for endemism on the continent, with rich flora and fauna species living in it. In the framework of this activity it was also the production and the distribution to the students of the booklet for Prespa Lake natural values and biodiversity. The students, led by PPNEA’s expert, had the opportunity to practice bird watching and to see closely the species represented in the booklet.
These activities are part of wide-ranging celebrations dedicated to the Drin Basin held in all Drin riparian countries, in cooperation with partner NGOs in numerous locations, from Great Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid in the South up to Lake Skadar/Shkoder and Ulcinj close to the outlet of the Buna/Bojana River to the Adriatic Sea in the North: in Shkodra by "EDEN”; in Fierza Lake in Kukes by "Mbrojtja e Mjedisit"; in Great Prespa Lakeby "Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment”; in the National Park of Galicicaby "Grashnica”; in Bitola and the Ohrid Lake by "BIOSFERA”; in Peja by the "Environmentally Responsible Action Group”; in Ulcinjby the "GREENHOME”. Apart from the main events of5 May, there are complementary activities throughout the week of 1-7 May 2016.
This year, the activities were jointly supported by (i) the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project 'Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the extended Drin River Basin' (Drin Project)implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean and (ii)the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) Act4Drin Project executed by the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development.
The activities are implemented under the auspices of the Drin Coordinated Action, the process established for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Management of the Drin Basin (Drin MoU; signed in Tirana, 25 November 2011), to enhance transboundary cooperation aimed at the protection and sustainable management of the Drin Basin’s shared water resources. There is an interconnection between Prespa, Ohrid and Skadar/Shkoder Lakes, and the Drin and Buna/Bojana Rivers, while the environmental challenges faced throughout the Basin are of clearly transboundary nature.
Therefore, there is a strong interdependence between all local and regional stakeholders involved, which makes cross-sectoral understanding among actors with very different backgrounds, crucial.
The Drin Project was officially launched in December 2015 in Tirana, Albania. Aligned in content, aims and objectives with the Drin MoU, comes at a critical point, as the vehicle to financially support and facilitate the implementation of the latter, in line with the existing agreements at national and transboundary level. With a budget of $5.5 million over the next four years, it has already become the pivotal action in the Drin River Basin, with the aim to "promote joint management of the shared water resources of the transboundary Drin River Basin, including coordination mechanisms among the various sub-basin joint commissions and committees ”.