TIRANA-Today, the first court session will take place for the Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM) no. 60, dated 26.1.2022, “On the Declaration of Natural Ecosystems, Managed Natural Reserves/Natural Parks (Category IV), in the Administrative Court of Appeal. 10 Albanian Environmental Civil Society Organizations have sued the public authorities for the annulment of the Decisions of the Council of Ministers no. 59 and no.60, which violates the Protected Areas’ geographical and socio-ecological territorial integrity.
We recall that after the announcement of two decisions in January 2022, civil society organizations and representatives of scientific and academic institutions of the country have opposed these two decisions taken by the Council of Ministers regarding Protected Areas. The above decisions reduce the surface of Protected Wetland Areas, remove precious habitats from them, pave the way for unsustainable developments in or in its vicinity, increase negative impacts on the central areas of Protected Areas, deplete habitats and species, and affect the biodiversity of these areas and all of Albania.
The decisions aim to legislate the destruction of Albania’s protected coastal and wetland areas affecting Lake Shkodra, the Bune-Velipoja ecosystem, the Kune-Vain, Tale, and Patok wetlands, the Divjakë-Karavasta and Butrint National Parks, as well as the Vjosë-Nartë areas and Pine-Poro. Behind them hide unsustainable developments, such as urbanization, airports, intensive agriculture, areas of habitats covered by industrial parks with photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, etc. These investments contradict the ecological functions of the Coastal Protected Areas. As a result, the decisions are the beginning of the end of the protected wetland areas of Albania and, at the same time, constitute damage to the entire biological diversity of the country.
The process followed to pass these decisions is fraught with subsequent legal violations. The content of the decisions carries illegality; consequently, the decisions are illegal. In addition, the range of the findings will be appealed in the conventions for protecting nature, to which Albania is a party. CSOs and representatives of the country’s scientific and academic institutions faced with this law violation have prepared their arguments with their respective expertise in the environmental field, which will support the lawsuit to abolish two DCMs with no. 59 and no. 60.
Also, no later than January 26 of this year, a group of 51 organizations and representatives of scientific, research, and academic institutions signed a Declaration for protecting the network of Protected Areas, which addressed surface reductions and plans notoriously for destroying Protected Wetlands.