Building PA Management Capacity in the Buna Protected Landscape

(C) Liz Drury
Published: 12 September 2022
Last edited: 14 September 2022
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The Buna River Velipoje Protected Landscape (BRVPL), in north-western Albania, spans over 20,000 hectares and encompasses the mouth of Drini River, the lagoon of Viluni, Buna River, and the gulf of Drini running alongside the Adriatic Sea. The protected landscape is designated as a Category V protected area, and under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. The landscape is an important Bird and Plant Area, as it is home of threatened endemic bird and plant species. It is an important migration corridor of species between the Adriatic Sea and inland areas during migration season.

The protected area was declared in 2005, however at that time local authorities did not have adequate capacity or an appropriate governance structure to manage the area to required standards. The solution is to initiate a governance structure, and analyse and increase capacity of protected area managers.


West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
River, stream
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Species Conservation Planning
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of access to long-term funding
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge


Velipoje, Shkodër, Shkodër, Albania
Dajc, Shkodër, Shkodër, Albania
Shkodër, Shkodër, Albania
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The Buna River Velipoje Protected Landscape was designated as a protected are in 2005, as a means to preserve it's flora, fauna and landscapes. The designation was a strong acknowledgement of the natural values, however this is the first step in protection and preservation. 

The next important steps of creating a strong governance structure and management planning were not followed immediately, and destructive processes have continued, alongside a lack of effective management.

The management body struggled with a series of issues - funding, knowledge of management strategies and ecological restoration techniques and community support. 


The management committee for BRVPL, the management authority of the protected landscape, and visitors to/supporters of the protected area.

How do the building blocks interact?

These building blocks are very closely linked. Although the capacity assessment and mid term review can be undertaken separately, the implementation of recommendations through a development program is critical for change and improvement.

The training program also must be informed by some analysis in order to address the most important issues and barriers to management success of a protected area. 


The most direct positive impact resulting from the interventions is improved ecological condition, habitat and species conservation in the protected area. This results from the improved governance for decision making, on-ground management and efficiency of resource usage. This is a long term impact that must be measured over many years.

In the shorter term, the capacity and capability of the staff is improved, and they have some additional equipment to perform their work to a higher standard. Their knowledge allows them to have greater satisfaction from work and efficiency, plus the staff directly involved in public visitation of the protected landscape provide a better experience, which increases interest and tourism.

The formation of the management committee ensures that the perspective and requirements of all local authorities and key stakeholders is included in steering the management. It also provides a clear contact for outside organisations to approach with and concerns or opportunities. 


Contributed by

Elizabeth.Drury_41867's picture

Liz Drury International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)