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 1,500 people from 37 villages signed the pipe petition when it toured through the valley © Geri Bleta

Last Saturday, representatives of the communities of the Shushica river valley and other locals from Vlora and Vjosa valley travelled to Tirana to hand over a special petition to Prime Minister Edi Rama. People from 37 villages in the valley have united in a powerful statement against the water abstraction project from the Shushica River.

The Vjosa and the neighbouring deltas of the Shkumini and Semani rivers in Albania constitute the last large intact deltas in the Mediterranean Basin. © Joshua D. Lim

From 22 to 28 April 2024, a science delegation from Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy collected multidisciplinary data in the partially undiscovered and intact Vjosa Delta. Every observation of this expedition aims to unveil the ecological importance of this area and advocate for its inclusion in the Vjosa Wild River National Park (WRNP) in accordance with IUCN standards.

In this tree nursery, native tree species will grow until tall enough to be replanted at the Vjosa’s shore. It is part of the ReForestVjosa Project © Elona Shkembi/EcoAlbania

On this year’s International Day of Forests on March 21st, we are proud to inaugurate our first tree nursery along the picturesque banks of the Vjosa River. The inauguration ceremony, held in Tepelena, marked the official launch of the ReForestVjosa project, a comprehensive reforestation initiative aimed at revitalizing the Vjosa's ecosystem and mitigating erosion along its shores.

150 people, including the mayors of 12 municipalities in the Shushica Valley, protested today against the diversion of water from the Vjosa National Park © Josh David Lim 

12 mayors and numerous other residents of the Shushica Valley and other regions of the Vjosa National Park, activists, lawyers and scientists gathered this morning in the village of Kuç on the banks of the Shushica River. They are protesting the plans of the government in Tirana to take the water from the Shushica and channel it to the Mediterranean

The Narta lagoon is a hotspot for Europe's migratory birds and an important resting area © Xhemal Xherri/PPNEA

Bern Convention calls on Albania to stop airport construction near Narta Lagoon. Project in Vjosa Delta endangers thousands of migratory birds. Conservation organisations filed lawsuits against destructive and illegal construction.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, and Minister for Tourism and Environment Mirela Kumbaro signed official declaration of Vjosa Wild River National Park © Anika Konsek

At a formal ceremony in Tepelena this morning, Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Minister of the Environment and Tourism Mirela Kumbaro declared the River Vjosa a Wild River National Park. As from today, the entire River Vjosa in Albania from its border with Greece to the Adriatic sea and its free flowing tributaries – a river system totalling more than 400 kilometres in length – have the very high level of protection.

Vjosa near Tepelene © Christian Baumgartner

The feasibility study is the result of six months of extensive fieldwork and in-depth analysis by a team of over 30 experts in areas such as eco-tourism, geomorphology, ecology, planning and management of protected areas, sustainable financing of national parks, legislation, and social and environmental impact assessment.

The famous choreographer Gentian Doda (was bleibt kollektiv) is bringing eleven dancers from all over the world to Tirana for a contemporary dance performance as a tribute to Vjosa! Premiere: October 24 and 25, 2022 @ National Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tirana

After ten years of dedicated action by local communities, environmentalists, scientists and artists to permanently protect the Vjosa River and its tributaries, today, the Albanian government took the historic step of signing a commitment to establish a Vjosa Wild River National Park. The Wild River National Park will protect the entire network of the Vjosa from the Greek border to the Adriatic Sea, including the free-flowing tributaries. This is something that has never been done before in Europe.

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