Summer school 2021: “The potential of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for transboundary Ecosystem Management and Conflict Prevention in the Lake Shkodra/Skadar and Bojana/Buna River Region”

In 2021 the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management in collaboration with the University of Tirana (Albania), University of Donja Gorica (Montenegro), University of Prishtina (Kosovo) and University of Ioannina (Greece) implemented a 3rd summer school on the topic of ‘Transboundary Ecosystem Management and its contribution to conflict prevention’.

The summer school took place in the Albanian part of the Shkodra Lake / Bojana River region, a transboundary wetland area that represents one of the most important regions for biodiversity in the Balkans and for Europe. It straddles the border of two countries – Albania and Montenegro – and provides the region with important ecosystem services.

Main topics that were covered during the summer school related to transboundary ecosystem management, ecosystem-based development and strategic conservation planning. 18 students worked in groups and developed an initial transboundary management plan for the case study area using the Conservation Measure Partnership (CMP) Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (short: Conservation Standards). The summer school was taught in combination of two introductory online sessions, theoretical lectures, excursions to the case study area, interviews with local stakeholders, practical group work, and peer-reviews. The group work was coached by a multi-national team of lecturers who are associated to the CCNet Europe network of Conservation Stadards coaches.

Impressions of the summer school 2021 in Shkoder region in Albania. Photos: Judith Kloiber


Shkoder/Skadar Lake Watershed – a Transboundary Biosphere Reserve?

While the summer school 2021 was held, two NGOs (EDEN from Albania and EnvPro from Montenegro) together with both sides protected area authorities took initiative to submit a project proposal to the EU Cross-border Cooperation Action Programme Montenegro-Albania under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II). The aim of the partners is to strengthen the protection of transboundary ecosystems and sustainable socio-economic development of Shkoder/Skadar Lake Watershed and to promote good neighbourly relations through designation in line with conditions of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme.

During the process there was a lively exchange between the project team of HNEE, the University of Tirana and the University of Donja Gorica with the practitioners who prepared the application. The partners and NGOs agreed to cooperate on the topic beyond the activities of the DAAD Western Balkans project.

Teaching Adaptive Management (TAM) Europe Network

The CEEM and partners in the Western Balkans are committed to an adaptive, ecosystem-based and climate change-integrated approach to conservation management. They have established Adaptive Management/Conservation Standards courses or are interested in integrating one in the portfolio of their study programmes. They have joined the European Teaching Adaptive Management – Network (TAM), which provides a platform for universities to exchange experiences as well as to establish further cooperation between the participating universities. In November 2021 the lecturers will meet virtually for another network meeting.

Lead:  Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Prof. Dr. P. Ibisch and J. Kloiber

Partners: Prof. Dr. A. Hajdari, University of Prishtina (Kosovo), Prof. Dr. F. Bego, University of Tirana (Albania), Prof. Dr. M. Vugdelic, University of Donja Gorica (Montenegro), Prof. Dr. J. Halley, University of Ioannina (Greece).

Project duration: 01.01.2021 – 31.12.2021

The activities are implemented as part of the project ‘UNESCO Biosphere Reserves – Living labs for sustainable development’ and financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) by means of the German Federal Foreign Office.