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The Environmental Services Project started implementation in 2015 and will be finalized in 2019. The project is financed by IBRD (GEF and SIDA) and is implemented by the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment. The Project Development Objective is to support sustainable land management practices and increase communities’ monetary and non-monetary benefits, in targeted Project areas which are mainly in erosion prone rural upland areas. This objective is to be achieved through the support of alternative livelihoods and provision of environmental services and through sustainable utilization of wood and pasture products in the long term. The Project is particularly focused on enhancing the financial, economic, and institutional sustainability of land use and natural resources management, and will help build capacities of Albania farmers, community organizations and government institutions to efficiently use EU funding.
The project beneficiaries are as below:


Grants

Farmers, Forest and Pasture Users’ Association, action groups and individuals spanning 310 rural communes and 2980 villages in the country benefit either directly or indirectly from the grant funds and other Project activities. The Project pursue the creation of equal opportunities for women and vulnerable groups to increase participation, firstly in the Project activities and secondly in the long-term management of land based activities.

Sustainable Resources

Local and international power companies, water companies, and drainage boards also benefit through more sustainable water supply and reduced operation costs. The downstream rural and urban population of more than one million will benefit indirectly through improved availability and quality of water and reduced flooding.

Woman Integration

The Project addresses the women’s involvement (and other excluded groups) in decision making within the Forest and Pasture Users’ Association, ensure that they are able to benefit directly from environmental services income streams and facilitate women to benefit from the grant scheme.

Capacity Training

An estimated 700 staff in the state government and LGUs including: forestry, environmental, social and gender specialists, extension agents and other officials benefit from training and capacity building activities.

Community Engagement

Through LEADER Approach local communities are considered as the main asset of rural areas, by offering them the opportunity to realize important projects in service of their needs like environment, social and economic life, culture and traditions. This programme empowers cooperation between public, private and civil society, bringing the synergy effect on local development. LEADER creates the sense of ownership of local actors towards local projects, which also constitutes an added value to improving the quality of life in rural areas.

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