Youth empowerment for Man and Biosphere Reserve

Bojana/Buna delta, Ulcinj municipality in Montenegro and Shkodra municipality in Albania

The Bojana river basin consists of tributaries, delta, wetlands and coastal area, as well as the neighboring part of the Adriatic Sea. The entire Albanian part is protected, including the area of Velipoj under the protection status Protected Landscape, it is part of the European Green Belt, an Important Bird Area (IBA) and an Important Plant Area (IPA). The areas Lake Skadar and Buna River were included in the list of Ramsar sites in February 2006, as internationally important areas, especially for water birds. However, this is not the case on the Montenegrin side of the Bojana basin. Here, Ada Bojana, Ulcinj Solana and Lake Šasko are marked as EMERALD sites, yet not nationaly protected. There are a number of protected areas on the sea coast: Velika plaža, Mala plaža, Valdanos, designated by the Law on Nature Protection in Montenegro and under protection since 1968, but without Management plans.

Despite the high natural values, the area is significantly threatened by unsustainable, unplanned and illegal activities, as well as the lack of integrated management and common values for joint planning.

The main goal of the project Empowerment of young people for the Man and the Biosphere Reserve is to create conditions and capacities for the UNESCO cross-border program Man and the Biosphere Reserve in the Bojana / Buna river basin, as a possible future extension of the protected area of Lake Skadar. This area has been recognized by international and national nature protection organizations and experts as a valuable hotspot of biodiversity that requires effective management, which could be achieved with the UNESCO MAB BR concept.

Specifically, through this project we will work on creating an environment for the active involvement of local young actors in the application of the MABR concept and practices of sustainable development in the area of the Bojana / Buna delta. Establishment of a youth club with local prominent representatives of the TB area with a plan of multiple activities on modern sustainable development of MAB BR, events development, nature conservation and socio-economic activities and exchange of knowledge and best practices examples with regional biosphere reserves will be supported.

The donor of the project is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The project is implemented by the NGO Program for the Environment with the partner organization Ecological Center for Education and Networking in Development (EDEN) from Albania with the support of Eberswalde University, Department of Sustainable Development. The project lasts from December 2021 until May 2022.