Albania’s economy has grown in the past decade and the trend is expected to accelerate in the coming years. Some of this growth, however, has taken place in rather chaotic circumstances, in many cases resulting in environmentally unfriendly or unsustainable economic practices. Some of the surviving economic and social activities from the communist era are far from being environmentally sound either.
Within the process of European integration, the country has made steps to address issues related to the environment. In 2002, the parliament adopted the Law on Environmental Protection, later on 2005 the Ratification of Strategic Environmental Assessment Protocol has passed.
Since 2008, the government is going much further in harmonizing Albania’s legislation with the EU, bringing a set of “green laws” to the parliamentary agenda. Parliament subsequently adopted laws regulating many policy area related to the environment. At the same time, laws on the Ratification of the Aarhus Convention and in 2010 the Ratification of the Rotterdam Convention on hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade were passed. Menawhile, in 2010 and 2011 has updated the Laws on Environmental Protection and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Furthermore, the government adopted a National Integration and Development Strategy (NIDS) in 2007 and the National Plan for Implementation of Stabilisation and Association Agreement is in integral part for its implementation. The Sub-Sectorial Environmental Strategy adopted in 2007 as an integral part of the NIDS is followed by Plan of Actions adopted by the Ministry of Environment and Wtare Administration per specific issues. These documents broadly correspond to international commitments and multilateral environmental agreements, including basing Albanian’s solutions for environmental problems on the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the Lisbon Strategy and the UN Millennium Development Goals.
While it can be argued that the government has taken decisive first steps on the legislative front to tackle Albania’s many environmental problems, the pace and quality of implementation of the adopted laws and bylaws have so far been less than adequate, reflecting in the first place the country’s still inadequate administrative capacity in this field as well as fiscal constraints.
It can also be argued that the government has made a relatively good start in raising public awareness of environmental issues among the population. Waste and wastewater treatment is of special importance, stimulating cleaning activities, recycling and waste waters is one of the policy priorities of the development of these sectors.