article_thumb_319_60CAF16CXSIU7The Drin Core Group (DCG) met once again as the official body for the coordination of the actions of the Parties involved in the implementation of the MoU. It was organized with the support and collaboration of UNECE, and GWP-Med and took place in Tirana on 20 November 2012.

The main aim of the meeting was for the DCG to take stock of the developments related to the actions for implementation of the shared vision for the sustainable management of the extended Drin Basin. Almost a year after the signature of the MoU the institutional basis for its implementation has been set up and the three Expert Working Groups (Water Framework Directive implementation, Monitoring and Information exchange, Biodiversity) have been established.

MIO-ECSDE participated in all the Expert Working Groups Meetings that took place in October and November 2012. At the latest Drin Core Group meeting MIO-ECSDE’s official request to participate as an Observer in these groups was approved. MIO-ECSDE representative, Ms. Thomais Vlachogianni constructively participated in all discussions of the DCG and informed the Group about MIO-ECSDE’s activities to support/strengthen the implementation of the management plan.

Back-to-back with the Drin Expert Working Group meetings MIO-ECSDE organized 3 newtorking meetings with SEE NGOs on the implementation of the Shared Vision for the Management of the “Extended” Drin River Basin. The meetings were held at Tirana, 31 October 2012; Shkodra, 1 November 2012; Podgorica, 2 November 2012 respectively where MIO-ECSDE met with ~ 20 NGO representatives. The main aim of these meetings was to keep NGOs motivated and engaged in transboundary water recourses management related processes. To that end MIO-ECSDE piloted this year an activity involving NGOs from Albania and Montenegro (as well as other Drin Riparian Countries). MIO-ECSDE launched a fact finding exercise aiming to develop jointly with 11 NGOs from the region a brochure with information on the Drin River Basin, its key features, threats, etc. as a concrete display of commitment and solidarity among environmental NGOs of the region to protect the Drin River Basin. A first draft of the output has been already developed.

One of the main highlights of the DCG meeting was the discussions on the approved GEF project and the secured financial resources of USD 4.5 million for ‘Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Extended Drin River Basin’. This project will be an important contribution to the joint work in the basin including improving the joint analysis and understanding of common problems, access to comprehensive data and adequate information and setting up demonstration projects for the benefit of a sustainable development along the river and lakes in the basin.

Back-to-back with the DCG meeting, a two-day training was organized by UNECE and GWP-Med on the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. The main objective of the course was to build trainees’ capacity regarding the preparation and implementation of a River Basin Management Plan in accordance to the WFD. Twenty five participants participated in the training among which representatives of MIO-ECSDE and its member NGOs PPNEA and EDEN Center.