Forests for Local Economic Development -FLED project
Improved decentralised and sustainable Communal Forestry providing increased production, service and income to rural communities in Albania.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
I am 18 years old or older.
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
31 July 1959
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
FLED project is implemented in 9 regions of Albania. The main focus is the most remote, rural areas of the country.
Website or social media url(s)
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
Sustainable natural resource management and local economic development is at the heart of CNVP .
The reality in forest sector was that this property was being mismanaged, there were no clear roles and responsibilities for sustainable management, and illegal logging was destroying the forests. There was a new administrative reform in 2015 giving more power to Local government, as the owner of forests, but they did not have the required technical and financial capacities to manage these resources and income generation for rural families was very weak. There was an urgent need to facilitate forestry legal reform; build capacities of Local Government Units,implementing mechanisms for generating local economic development for rural community.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
About 50% of Albania’s population lives in rural areas, and approximately 50% of the country is covered by different types of forest areas where there is high dependency on natural resources to secure living. However, improper management of these resources, lack of property rights, unclear roles and responsibilities, overlapping of functions, illegal logging and many other issues were hampering the sector development and sustainable management in support of equitable local economic development.
3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We worked with 5 main thematic areas to address the issues:
(1) Improving decentralized decision-making, planning and implementation for forests and pastures in support of more inclusive economic development. The project supported the registration of forest and pasture properties of 24-targeted Administrative Units;
(2) Strengthening civil society organizations by building capacities of 24 forestry associations and 10 regional federation by organizing about t 450 trainings with about 6000 participants (3000 women and girls), it increased representation of women in the boards of forest associations with 40 % (from 0 % in the past);
(3) Promoting non-timber forest products through 24 producer groups established, trained and introduced to markets through fairs and buyer seller meetings;
(4)Promoting sustainable management of forests by making small-scale interventions for the rehabilitation of degraded forests and pastures.
(5) Strengthening the institutional, policy & legal framework for forestry with special attention to governance principles such as; accountability, transparency, rule of law and participation/social inclusion.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
FLED Project put poor farmers from rural areas at the heart of its design and implementation, promoting participation, non-discrimination, openness and transparency, as well as responsibility and accountability. The main feature of Forest management is collaborative processes and people’s participation. This is to ensure that women’s and men’s concerns and experiences play an integral role in the planning, implementation and monitoring of project activities and processes in general. It tackled and supported solving issues of forest and pasture rehabilitation, insecure user rights, overgrazing and and poor management and environment consequences of forest areas through clarifying roles and responsibilities of local actors.
5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?
Sustainable Forest management practices involve many stakeholders . FLED project had a very rich menu of actors ranging from rural farmers in the mountains areas to forest users associations, regional forest federations, village omissions, municipalities, central government and ministries. Collaboration and participation are key elements to FLED project. The collaboration with Forest associations and regional forest federations led to advocacy and lobbying activities for the improvement of forest legal framework. The collaboration with Local government Units , central environment agencies and Ministries lead to preparation and approval of new Forest Policy Document, facilitated the decentralisation process by supporting the forest property transfer process from central government to local government units. The project supported 22 municipalities to register their forest properties to the IPRO (Immovable Property registration Office) as a final step in the Property transfer process.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
FLED project consolidated, replicated and built further on earlier programmes and investments for the forestry and natural resources sector in Albania by promoting better and more sustainable management of natural resource assets; strengthening human and social assets through capacity building and strengthening local networks, user association and producers groups; enhancing financial assets through engaging in forest and pasture related income generating activities due to more productive natural assets , improved and effective value chains for forest products. More than 2000 families were direct FLED project beneficiaries. More than 80000 Ha of forests are rehabilitated in 24 communes.Incomes from Forest products increased up to 800-1000 per family per year. Forest Production increased with 20 %. The climate change adaptation measures such as reversing trends in deforestation and degradation may have local impact on predicted climate change measures.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
FLED Project dealt with sustainable management of forest and pasture areas in Albania. Sustainable resource management on one hand does not recognize borders or nationalities as they have common features of management. On the other hand, it requires participation of people from local level in remote rural areas to politics and decision-making in central level and international agencies supporting these initiatives.Up scaling in other regions will bring more impact. New undertaken reforms and alignment with 35 EU chapters require further steps to be undertaken and FLED project has established impressive models related to sustainable management of natural resources, climate change, environment, local economic development and participation
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?
Rural communities, who are highly dependent on forests and other natural resources, are put at the center of the project implementation. Their needs were assessed , lobbied for and addressed by bringing together all related stakeholders in Forestry sector.The project initiatives do create values for our society at large as they promote sustainable management of natural resources, provides people with the necessary abilities/knowledge and incentives to not only have access but also control over their resources. Environmental issues and climate change need comprehensive actions which should involve a wide variety of stakeholders the same as FLED project did.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
FLED project was implemented with financial support of Embassy of Sweden to Albania. A lot has been accomplished during this five year programme; very good results have been achieved, many lessons have been learned, new approaches for promoting collaborative natural resource management involving key stakeholders have been developed, and examples of best practices within each result area have been identified and disseminated. Up scaling the programme requires funding which can be secured by applying to different donor agencies with focus on forestry and environment. Collaboration with government structures and business can fund part of the project initiatives.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
A multidisciplinary team of 11 advisers were involved in FLED project implementation varying from 5 forest engineers to 3 local economic development, 3 gender, women economic empowerment and community mobilisation ones. A team of more than 30 associated national and international experts were engaged in different project activities. (http://www.cnvp-eu.org/eng/staff.php?mv=8).
11. How did you hear about this challenge?