Environmental organizations announce protests to oppose "Protected Zones" law

2024-02-21 20:22:00, Aktualitet CNA

Environmental organizations announce protests to oppose "Protected

Major Albanian environmental organizations announced protests to oppose the "Protected Areas" law that is expected to be voted on in a plenary session in the Albanian Parliament on Thursday.

According to the organizations "the proposed bill paves the way for the destruction of National Parks and marks the end of the national network of Protected Areas".

"This draft law threatens decades of conservation efforts and investments to protect Albania's natural wealth," reads a statement from the Albanian Nature Protection Organization, PPNEA.

Earlier, the other organization of Ornithologists of Albania and the 56 main environmental organizations had strongly opposed the draft law.

According to the organizations, "the Albanian government has ignored the calls of the European Union to stop the voting of this law, seriously threatening the integration of Albania into the European Union".

The majority MPs of the Parliamentary Committee for Productive Activity and the Environment approved on Monday in an online meeting the final version of the draft law, ignoring the request of civil society representatives, who asked the parliament and the government to withdraw from the presented proposals and open a extensive counseling process.

Even the ambassador of the European Union in Tirana, Silvio Gonzato, through a status on the X network a few days ago, requested that "every change in the current law be subject to a full consultation, based on facts, where all actors are involved"

The biggest concern of environmental organizations is related to the new draft law, which gives the National Territorial Council the decision-making authority for the activities that will take place within the "Protected Areas".

From the views published by the Assembly regarding the decision-making of the Parliamentary Committee on Productive Activities, Article 33, proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, is approved without change, according to which the following are allowed: "activities developed in accommodation structures of excellence, 5 stars or more, in the field of tourism and any other supporting activity/infrastructure or in their function, regardless of whether this is defined in the VKM declaring the protected area".

The draft law on Protected Areas was initially presented by 12 deputies of the socialist majority, who argued that it was the request of some mayors that the changes be adapted to the needs of development.

In the initial version, the deputies proposed the administration by the municipalities of 20% of the territory of the Protected Areas.

But the draft of the 12 deputies was dropped after the Government sent to the Assembly a new proposal with the name "giving opinion" which gives authority to the National Council of Territorial Regulation for development permits within Protected Areas./ VOA

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