31.01.2014 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Towards the designation of Lake Shkodra/Skadar as Transboundary Biosphere Reserve

©Wusel007 - Western part of Lake Skadar

This participatory and transboundary workshop - currently held from 30-31 January 2014 in Bar, Montenegro - is organized under the framework of the project " Towards the designation of Lake Shkodra/Skadar as Transboundary Biosphere Reserve" with the support of the UNESCO Participation programme 2012-2013 through the National Commission for UNESCO of Montenegro.

Partners of the project are NGO Green Home and INCA-Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania. The project is relying on the results and cooperation of the two NGOs: “Supporting the proposed Transboundary Biosphere Reserve of Lake Shkodra/Skadar area through a participatory approach” (IPA cross border programme, 2009), led by INCA. The principal objective of the project is to have the Lake Shkodra/Skadar designated as the first transboundary biosphere reserve in the region through a participatory approach. The specific goal is to implement the entire nomination process of Lake Skadar as UNESCO's transboundary biosphere reserve under the established procedure.

The basis for continuation of the designation process was laid down by a successful competition of training activities and materials produced within the capacity-building component, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, the access to global knowledge on MAB Biosphere Reserves (BRs), building a strong transboundary cooperation structure and stakeholders’ interest and commitment.

The project resulted in several studies on tourism and governance in Montenegro and Albania, discussions and a first map proposal, the draft nomination file and the establishment of a MAB Committee in Albania. As both countries are now facing a challenging process to finalize and submit the nomination file, the activities were directed toward production of a feasibility study to establish the Transboundary Man and Biosphere Reserve Shkodra/Skadar Lake”.

The project intends to assess the potentials and possibility in terms of plans and legal frame through participatory approach mainly by conducting interviews with relevant stakeholders on both sides of the border (Albania, Montenegro). One of the main components and outputs of the project is this feasibility study for the designation of Skadar Lake as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the workshop with relevant stakeholders that will not only inform on the initiative but also assess capacities, willingness, future plans, obstacles and preferences of each of the targeted stakeholders.

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This event is organized by NGO Green Home in collaboration with the Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy). In terms of participatory approach and joint actions, the workshop is supported by the Albanian Ministry of Environment.

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