Skadar/Shkodra Lake Activities
Dialog and Partnership
Cooperation at the ministry level (2001-2003)
In order to establish cooperation between the two ministries for environmental
protection from Montenegro and Albania, the project initiated dialogue
at the regional level. The first meeting was held in Podgorica, Montenegro,
on February 1, 2001, after which a memorandum of cooperation was signed.
This was the first meeting between two ministries after more that 10 years
of no communication between neighbouring countries. The second meeting
was organised in May 2003 in Podgorica, during which the ministers signed
the memorandum of understanding.
In order to overcome the legacy of the past and to create common ground for future cooperation in different fields, a number of meetings and activities were implemented in both Montenegro and Albania. These activities helped to develop dialogue and partnerships between stakeholders from two countries in order to involve them in other international projects and processes. It is hoped that this will eventually help to stabilise the region.
Dialogue and partnerships were established on the local and regional levels to delegate responsibilities to local institutions and improve management of the lake on both sides.
Get everyone involved meetings (2000-2001)
The first step at the beginning of the project's implementation in November
2001 was to introduce the project to local stakeholders through get everyone
involved meetings. These meetings enabled the stakeholders to meet and
negotiate with all relevant institutions in the region dealing with environmental
protection and to identify possible partners for future cooperation. Additionally,
the meetings allowed local stakeholders to participate in the planning
process. During these sessions participants identified several problems
and activities that could solve them.
Shkoder Lake forums, local and bilateral (2001-2003)
The Shkoder Lake forum gathers representatives of local stakeholders who were to play the most important roles in the lake’s management and protection during the first two project years. On the Montenegro side the forum has seven members, who include representatives of National Park Shkoder Lake, the Ministry of Environment, the Republic Institute for Nature Protection, the Municipality of Podgorica, educational institutions, NGOs and the project focal point. On Albanian side forum members represent the University of Shkoder, the Repbulic Environmental Agency, Shkoder Prefecture, the Education Directorate and the Municipality of Shkoder. The forums were meant to enhance cross-border cooperation between partner organisations, but also to improve communication between sectors within the countries. The forums were key in both project implementation and planning, and served as the project advisory board. However, in the future the forums could become the nucleus for a joint lake management committee, with a much more institutionalised character and equipped with official mandates from both governments. This would make such an institution responsible for making decisions about the management of the lake and the verification of implementation of strategies and measures.
Skadar Lake Forum, 2004
Two bilateral and one local SLF meetings were organized between March and September, 2004. The first bilateral meeting was held on March 2nd in Shkodra, Albania, with the purpose of informing Forum members about the next project phase and the activities planned for 2004. A further aim was to collect ideas concerning the new roles of the Forums in the project.
The second bilateral meeting was held on the 26th of July in Pjesacac, a small village on the Montenegrin coast of the lake, with the purpose of exchanging information about the current and future projects in the Skadar Lake region, and to discuss future project activities. A local SLF meeting was organised between these two bilateral meetings to discus the above- mentioned issues at the local level first, using an inter-sectoral approach.
Internal communication strategy (2001)
The communication strategy was prepared by the Shkoder Lake project staff. The strategy was to identify the main target groups for the project activities and to define the best ways to approach them. The strategy was prepared so it could be adapted to all three sites.
Local newsletters are published every two months to inform the local community about the advancement of project activities. Moreover, they provide a platform for communicating relevant environmental issues, trends, and ongoing activities (apart from our Project) to the general public. The local newsletters are intended for a broad audience, primarily NGOs and relevant institutions. Each issue has following columns: 'Important International Dates', 'Village' (from the Skadar Lake region), 'Around Us' (small things that we can do in order to make a better environment), 'Our Friends' (interviews with significant environmentalists from the region), and so on. Three issues of the local newsletters were published over the last six months (200 copies were printed of each) and distributed, mainly to local and national organizations. They can also be found online at http://www.recyu.org and http://www.skadarlake.org.
Skadar Lake Forum
The management of the Skadar/Shkodra Lake is currently rather unilateral, and suffers from overlapping jurisdictions of institutions on the national level in both countries and obstacles to law enforcement and effective management. The project prioritised bilateral and local forums promoting stakeholder consultation and coordination as well as monitoring and planning of project activities. Forums provide excellent opportunities for building cross-sectoral and cross-border linkages, coalitions and working groups, and lay the ground for further long-term transboundary cooperation in the management of Skadar/Shkodra Lake. The bilateral forum of stakeholders comprising members of the two local forums meets approximately every three months, and functions as the main advisory body for the project. The Skadar/Shkodra Lake Forum is hoped to grow into a transboundary lake management body in the future, which would improve decision-making and the monitoring of the implementation of different strategies and measures.
Sharing experience with other cross-border lakes
Due to the generous funding of the British Government an international workshop on the protection and sustainable management of cross-border lakes was organised in Cetinje, Monetenegro June 29-July 2, 2005. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Montengero, and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). It provided an opportunity for exchange of experiences and encouraged cooperation in the field of sustainable management and conservation of cross-border lakes in South Eastern Europe and with other large international lake regions of Europe. More information on the “Border Lake Protection and Management Network” project, ?nanced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), is available at: http://www.rec.org/REC/Programs/EnvironmentalPolicy/crossborderlakes/