Covering an area of 5,490 km2, Skadar is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. It shows a high diversity of plants and animals, totalling around 930 species of algae, 497 vascular plants, and 430 zooplankton and microfauna species. It is home to 53 fish and 51 herpetofauna species, 282 bird species, and 50 mammals species. Due to the high biological diversity it is subject to a number of national and international designations - in Montenegro it has status of a National Park while it is a Nature Reserve in Albania. Internationally it is designated as Ramsar and Emerald site, and an Important Bird and Plant Area. Despite extraordinary values and the multiple protection status of Skadar Lake, several unsustainable management and development patterns can be observed in the area. They are primarily related to the weak management of biodiversity and natural resources, unplanned urbanization and illegal construction, poaching and human disturbance of species. The cooperation across border is sporadic with little or no joint conservation activities.
Given that the lake is shared between Albania and Montenegro, it is clear that all future management planning processes should be done in coordination between the two countries. Apart from capacities and joint management objectives, two important preconditions for effective protected area management are public participation in the management of protected areas.
IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (IUCN ECARO) is contributing to this process in partnership with the Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania – INCA and Green Home of Montenegro, putting in action the vast experience the partners have on the cross-border conservation of protected areas. Since its establishment as IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe in 2004 this office has been supporting regional and site-based transboundary conservation initiatives and projects. Over the years it has developed numerous knowledge products and high quality capacity building programmes, and worked on global guidelines on transboundary cooperation. Both partners, INCA and Green Home, have a broad experience in working on the management of Lake Skadar in its transboundary context and with respect to public participation. The partners will closely cooperate with Public Enterprise National Parks of Montenegro - Skadar Lake National Park management authority and the Department of Protected Areas in the Forestry Services Directorate in Shkodra as well as local authorities, local communities and relevant resource managers.
Practices and capacity of national authorities for management of protected areas in Albania and Montenegro improved
Cross-border exchange platform for protected area authorities and stakeholders established
Illegal activities diminished by strengthening law enforcement
Participation of civil society organizations in monitoring and protected area management increased
Transparency increased and awareness raised among key stakeholders and resource managers on the importance of biodiversity conservation.
The promotional materials and project outcomes prepared as part of the project for the Shkodra Lake are:
- Summary of Lake Shkodra Management Plan AL, EN, MNE
- Video Greetings from Lake Skadar (subtitles in AL, EN, MNE)
- Manual concerning the legal aspects of protection of Lake Skadar National Park (MNE)
- New zoning plan for Lake Skadar
- Training materials Management planning of protected areas (MNE)
- Outcomes of the final project meeting
The brochure and the video Greetings from Lake Skadar are published as a joint effort of two projects: EU funded project ”NaturAL” co-funded and implemented by the Italian Agency for the Development Cooperation (AICS), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and SocietàBotanicaItaliana (SBI), and CEPF funded project “Supporting the Long-Term Sustainable Management of Transboundary Lake Skadar” implemented by Green Home of Montenegro, Institute for Nature Conservation of Albania (INCA) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The 3 years long project is funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.