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Technical team established to prepare application for Vjosa Valley’s inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List

Albanian authorities have already launched work as part of the government’s plan to make the Vjosa River basin a UNESCO biosphere reserve to enable the sustainable protection of the river, whose waters flow unhindered from its source to the Adriatic Sea.

The Minister of Tourism and Environment Mirela Kumbaro announced Monday that a local technical team has been established in the southern region of Telepene and the team is tasked with preparing the application for Vjosa Valley’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List under its “Man and Biosphere” programme.

Kumbaro announced that stages of the process to inscribe Vjosa River on UNESCO World Heritage list of natural sites were presented to the public during a process led by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and the National Agency of the Protected Zones.

According to the Tourism Minister, local government officials from 13 municipalities affected by Vjosa River and its tributaries, as well as from environmental organizations and other local institutions attended the meeting.

The Albanian government has decided to strengthen the protection of the 273-kilometre-long Vjosa River, often described as the “last wild river in Europe” because its waters flow almost unimpeded from its source in Greece to the Adriatic Sea.

The government wishes to ensure the lasting protection of the Vjosa basin by establishing it as a protected area subject to “the highest international standards”. The Vjosa basin is home to almost 1,100 animal and plant species, including 13 globally threatened animal species and two globally threatened plant species.