What is the challenge?
There is an increasing awareness among the local community in the Buna River Delta to protect and preserve the natural wealth of the landscape; however, local practices continue to threaten the natural values. Most of the damage to the protected landscape comes from unsustainable tourism, agriculture and day-to-day activities, resulting in land and water pollution, inappropriate waste management, illegal hunting and fishing, and illegal construction.
What is the solution?
To help address this challenge, the Living Buna project partners delivered activities that increased the ideas and capacity of the local community to contribute to the protection and management of the protected landscape, in cooperation with the national authorities. Key activities:
- Community and CSO training programme
Training sessions were held for community members and the civil sector, aiming to build their knowledge of the protected landscape and the capacity to develop effective local conservation projects. To support collaborative protection and management of the protected landscape, the sessions included the introduction to the management plan for the Buna River Protected Area and discussions around the threats to its natural values.
- Small Grant programme
The small grant programme served as a financial mechanism through which ideas grew into projects that benefit the environment and the local community. The community members demonstrated through this programme that sustainable tourism, agriculture, water management and recreation are feasible and showcased how they benefit the area. The Small Grants Scheme funded 23 projects, channelling 268,230 EUR to local community actions.
Why is this important?
The solutions bring together people’s need for a secure livelihood and activities that improve the protection and management of the natural environment. The sustainability of existing activities improved, resulting in reduced negative environmental impacts, such as in agriculture and tourism. Other initiatives directly improved the biodiversity values, through restoration and protection. Projects were required to contribute to the implementation of the management plan for the protected area, providing additional social benefits where the civil society worked more closely with authorities. It also increased the capacity of community members to apply for other grant mechanisms successfully, by learning how to write proposals that align with existing policy and strategy.
The PANORAMA Solutions were submitted as part of the project Community and youth engagement for wetlands conservation, as replicable and effective actions that had a demonstrated positive impact on nature conservation and the sustainable development in the Buna River Delta. They stem from the long-term Living Buna project, implemented by the IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Institute for Nature Conservation of Albania - INCA and PAP/RAC with the support of the MAVA Foundation, and contribute to Enhancing the conservation of coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean Basin while promoting Wetland-based Solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises.