Climate change is severely threatening the Mediterranean coast – the sea level rises and the water is warming while changing storm patterns impact the lives of more than a third of the region’s population – some 180 million people. Albanian coast is no exception.
Each year, Mediterranean countries celebrate ‘Coast Day’ to raise awareness of the importance of coastal areas and ways they contribute to sustainable development. On 28 September Albania joined the celebrations contributing with a number of activities in the Buna River Velipoje Protected Landscape to promote coastal wetlands as a source of life - they provide food, clean water and protect us from floods, besides being a home to numerous species. The rich programme ranged from the protected area cleanup and a bicycle race to awarding the photo contest winners and enjoying a traditional fair with regional cookery and local arts and crafts.
Albania is a country rich in wetlands - lagoons, lakes (artificial and natural ones), rivers, and swamps, both salt and freshwater ones, are abundant. There are four major wetlands and Ramsar sites of national and international importance: Buna River and Shkodra Lake, Prespa Lakes, Butrinti Lake and Divjaka-Karavasta, that has the richest biodiversity. Velipoje wetland is also important for migratory birds, such as Herons (Fam. Ardeidae), Ducks (Anserids) and Waiders of many different species.
The celebration is organised by the Living Buna project partners with the support of National Agency for Protected Areas and the RAPA of Shkodra.
Coast Day events, also as part of OffYourMap campaign, are organised in several Meditteranean countries. The regional celebration was held in Ayia Napa, Cyprus and it was followed by the activities in Sardinia in Italy, Ghar el Melh lagoon in Tunisia and Long beach of Ulcinj in Montenegro.