The sustainable management of marine habitats ensures carbon sequestration.
On the Albanian shore of the Strait of Otranto, a Regional Agency of Protected Areas has been created for the management, protection, development and expansion of natural protected areas in the Vlora region.
Through an analysis to identify the different marine habitats, it has been possible to define the ecosystem services provided by each of them. It appeared that this protected area was the home of the Posidonia Meadows, which has the capacity to store carbon, and therefore is of great value in a global low-carbon strategy.
To ease the raise of awareness of decision makers on the great role of this aquatic plant into carbon sequestration and guarantee its protection, it has been decided to translate the Posidonia Meadows habitats into economic value. Its economic value has been evaluated to be 1,606 billion ALL/11,642 million €.
In light of this economic and environmental value, the creation of MPA-s helps to ensure a sustainable management of marine habitats, their preservation and possibly expansion. Indeed, better are the quality and the state of the marine ecosystems, better is the quality of the services they provide.
The development of this MPA management has been ensured by the collaboration and involvement of the Albanian ministry of environment, UNDP Albania and financed by Global Environmental Facility and Albanian Government, Regional Administration of protected Areas, Directory of Forestry Services, Orikum Municipality, NGO-s, Fishery Association.
2 927 500 US $ (approximatively 2.4 million €)
Evidence of success
MPA initiated a momentum in the local management & development by influencing strategic documents. There is a strong commitment in the tourism development & spatial management to ensure the conservation & sustainable management of natural biodiversity & resources. Moreover, the MPA has impacted the Biodiversity Protection & Action Plan recently approved by the Government of Albania.
Memorandums of understanding involve stakeholders in the process of surveillance, monitoring & law enforcements.
Issues come from the coordination and conflicts between national priorities. There is not any marine spatial planning at national or regional level. Therefore the development around the Marine Park and activities located in the area do not always fit with the protected area strategy.
Potential for learning or transfer
In the case of Karaburun-Sazan, the collaboration with a powerful international organisation, UNDP, has been a real-added value. It ensured the qualitative training of local staffs and, through the participation of specialised scientists, enabled to get new and different approaches on MPA management.
The involvement of stakeholders in a participatory approach allows the management plan to have a more global approach, and thus ensure its better implementation. All these elements go along a sustainable economic development strategy, focusing in particular on the touristic activities. For instance, an underwater trail and four hiking trails along the coast with information tables on the main values of MPA have been created.
From the experiences learned, it appears essential to:
- Raise awareness among authorities for the relevance of the preservation of costal marine ecosystems
- Increase the support for MPA managers
- Support the creation of new MPAs.
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