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UNFAO Supports Green Development In Albania's Vjosa River Basin

TIRANA, Albania

A new green development project in the river basin of the Vjosa in Albania will aim to deliver effective and improved management of the basin’s natural resources.

Support from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) will focus on sustainable farming techniques: sustainable land use, increasing soil fertility, combating pollution and general degradation. FAO will assist farmers and community institutions to better cope with the impact of climate change on agriculture in the region.

“Besides the above-mentioned activities, FAO will also collaborate with other United Nations agencies, under the lead of the United Nations Development Programme,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Albania. “These will support the environment and climate-friendly initiatives in agrobiodiversity and rural tourism in Vjosa valley – Zagori, among others, through knowledge sharing with similar successful initiatives implemented from other areas of Albania.”

The Vjosa river basin covers over 680,000 hectares and is the second-largest in the country. The river originates in northwestern Greece and is one of the last remaining natural flow systems in Europe as it has not, so far, been subjected to large damming or channelling projects. However, plans for a large dam and dozens of hydropower plants on the river and its tributaries have met with local NGO objections with a view to halting construction.

The Vjosa Basin project is part of a region-wide programme aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goals with respect to life on land and sustainable natural resource management in the face of climate change. The SDG Acceleration Fund the government of Norway are funding the project.

The project goals also include support for agrotourism and sustainable production and consumption in target areas. Traditional local, organic and geographical products will be identified and promoted through climate-smart agriculture and integrated pest management, depending on the pandemic situation in Albania.