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  Transboundary Cooperation Through the Management of Shared Natural Resources
Shkoder Lake


Local Initiatives Programme

Programme description

A call for local grants was announced in March 2001 as support to non-governmental organisations dealing with the protection and management of Shkoder Lake. Projects could address the following environmental topics:
a) Campaigns for cleaning and arranging the Shkoder Lake region
b) Education of fishermen or fishermen organisations, in order to increase environmental awareness
c) Cooperative projects involving two or more organisations from Albania and Montenegro
d) Local projects about public participation in environmental decision making, with a special focus on problems regarding Shkoder Lake
e) Public campaigns promoting Shkoder Lake’s natural values, as well as the necessity and importance of the preservation and protection of Shkoder Lake's biodiversity over the whole region; increasing public awareness regarding the importance and value of Shkoder Lake
f) Meetings of NGOs dealing with environmental protection, or meetings of these organisations with the representatives of local authorities, in order to develop joint solutions and environmental improvement.

The total funding was EUR 20,000 per country, and the maximum per project was EUR 3,000. During the meetings held in April 2001, local advisory boards selected 22 projects, 13 in Montenegro and nine in Albania.

List of local projects

Project name: Awareness raising among fishermen and fishermen organisations
Organisation: Environmental Consultancy of Montenegro (ECOM), Podgorica, Montenegro
Budget: EUR 1,640
Summary: The aim of the project was to raise the awareness of local fishermen regarding the protection and preservation of Shkoder Shkoder. Four workshops were organised in four villages by the lake. During the workshops several topics were discussed: ecological problems of the lake, its sustainable use, cooperation between fishermen organisations to protect the lake, cooperation with fishermen from Albania, regulations and licences, fishing within National park, etc. A leaflet on regulations on the lake was printed and distributed to the fishermen organisations and the National Park.

Project name: Publication of posters with pictures of flora and fauna of Lake Shkoder
Organisation: Sempervivum, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 1,620
Summary: The project promoted Lake Shkoder's biodiversity. High-quality posters described 40 flora and fauna species along with their conservation status (endemic, endangered, protected species etc). Six hundred copies were made, published in both local languages, and were widely distributed to universities, schools, NGOs, national parks, municipalities, and various ministries and directorates.

Project name: Public campaign introducing Shkoder
Organisation: Lynx
Animal World Preservation Society, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 1,165
Summary: This public campaign helped to raise the awareness of primary school children regarding Shkoder
Lake and the necessity for its protection. A series of lectures covering different elements of biodiversity (ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology, flora, etc), were held in five elementary schools in Podgorica. An illustrated booklet was presented and widely disseminated to relevant institutions.

Project name: Biodiversity protection of the southeastern shore of Shkoder
Organisation: Kalimera, Ulcinj, Montenegro
EUR 650
Summary: The project examined the current state in the southastern part of the lake, with the purpose of discussing existing problems with the local community and management authorities of the park. A roundtable was organised in the village of Ostros in which participants emphasised that cooperation between neighbouring countries is essential for solving the problems identified in the Shkoder Lake region. Promotional material was printed about the value of the lake (poster and leaflet published in two languages).

Project name: Shkoder
Lake – a mutual concern of Montenegro and Albania
Organisation: Open World, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 1,170
Summary: Shkoder Lake – a mutual concern of Montenegro and Albania was a media campaign organised by journalists from Montenegro and Albania. The Open World hosted six journalists from Albania (state and local TV) who prepared stories about the Montenegrin side of the lake. Journalists met representatives of republic's environmental institutions and organisations (Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Tourism, Republic Institute for Nature Protection, NGOs, experts) to discuss the Montenegrin part of the lake, its protection status, and management and cooperation with relevant institutions in Albania. One journalist went to the lake itself and prepared a broadcast about its natural value. This was the first time that Albanian journalists prepared TV material about the Montenegrin part of the lake, which is unique from a geographical and ecological point of view. All materials filmed were presented on national and private TV stations in Shkoder, as well as on state TV in Montenegro.

Project name: Stop poaching
Organisation: Society for Protection of Animals, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 750
Summary: Stop poaching was a local public campaign to educate people living in the lake region. The campaign discussed the biggest current problem: illegal fishing. Posters and brochures were widely distributed, sending a clear message about forbidden practices. Additionally, small billboards were posted around the Lake. NGO members contacted state and local radio stations and held several meetings with the local inhabitants.

Project name: The Pelican Game
Organisation: Environmental Centre Dolphin, Kotor, Montenegro
EUR 1,600
Summary: The Pelican Game is an education package for 7-10 year-olds concerning the main characteristics of Shkoder Lake. The materials include a darts game and a board game in which players must pass obstacles by answering questions related to Shkoder Lake. The first player to reach the pelican at the end of the road wins. The Pelican game was distributed to all primary schools in Podgorica and Cetinje.

Project name: If you miss the bird you will shoot the target
Organisation: Centre for Bird Protection and Research, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 1,063
Summary: This was a public campaign against bird hunting on Shkoder Lake. The two-month campaign was implemented through powerful TV spots that were aired on state TV and the two biggest private TV stations in Montenegro. The TV spots were followed by the printing of posters which were widely distributed to all SEE countries and were considered highly effective.

Project name: Protected bird species on Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Centre for Bird Protection and Research, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 487
Summary: Five hundred posters featuring protected bird species from the Shkoder Lake region were published and widely distributed to national park authorities, different directorates (forestry, dducation and waters), ministries of environmental protection, NGOs, schools, expert institutions etc. A slide presentation about the lake, with the emphasis of protected bird species, was organised in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Project name: The richness of Shkoder Lake
Organisation: League for Family, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 2,790
Summary: Two TV programmes, 20 minutes each, about biodiversity and historical monuments in the Shkoder Lake region, were filmed and broadcast on state TV in Montenegro. Both shows were prepared in a professional way and were shown later at different meetings and conferences. Both shows helped to raise public awareness of the need to protect and preserve Shkoder Lake.

Project name: Think before using the fishing net
Organisation: Centre for Environmental Campaigns, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 266
Summary: An NGO printed leaflets containing regulations on fishing, including the ways, places, and times it is allowed, and the fees involved. Five hundred copies were printed and distributed, mainly to local fishermen, through national park authorities, which handed them out with fishing licences.

Project name: Herons on the laurel
Organisation: Centre for Environmental Campaigns, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 630
Summary: The main purpose of the project was to draw attention to a unique example of herons nesting in laurel, as they do on the island Omerova Gorica on Shkoder Lake. Herons are endangered because local inhabitants use laurel every day without heed to the birds' nests. By printing 500 posters, 100 of which were in Albanian, NGO members raised awareness about the problem.

Project name: Eco-camp Tunjevo 2001
Njegos Scout Club, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 1,633
Summary: The Eco-camp Tunjevo 2001 was organised for scouts from Montenegro and elsewhere in the region (the Republic of Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina). The camp focused on freshwater ecology and involved field work on the Zeta River and Shkoder Lake, as well as workshops for creating informational material. A one-day boat trip to Shkoder Lake was included, which featured a lecture about the lake's biodiversity. In cooperation with the diving club from Podgorica, samples from the lake's bottom were taken and compared with samples taken from the Moraca River, one of the lake's tributaries.

Project name: Reconstruction of lakeshore landscapes
Organisation: The tourist association Razma, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 2,800
Summary: The project aims to restore Shkoder Lake's shoreline to its natural state. The project focused on the villages of Shiroka and Zogaj, which have vast potential for eco-tourism development. The small beaches in front of these communities are used during the summer time. Clean-ups were held, which significantly improved the shorelines. About 300 metres of shoreline were cleaned, restoring four existing beaches and creating two others.

Project name: June 5, International Environmental Day
Organisation: 28 Nentori High School, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 480
Summary: Some 150 students from different schools demonstrated on the roads of Shkoder city on June 5, International Environmental Day. The demonstration called for the cleaning of roads in the centre of Shkoder. The aim was to get the community interested in environmental protection. Additionally, a youth environmental group was established at 28 Nentori High School.

Project name: Scholarship focus on Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Education Directory, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 2,800
Summary: The project aimed to raise awareness of students about the lake and its natural value. Additionally, the project encouraged the exchange of experience of young people from the two countries, which will eventually play the most important role in the lake's environmental development. Albanian students visited Shkoder Lake National Park in Montenegro and compared two different zones of the same ecosystem. Some 60 pupils from Albania and Montenegro got together and exchanged their experiences of environmental efforts in their hometowns. Students prepared 500 posters and 500 leaflets, which were distributed to the relevant republic institutions, schools and NGOs in both countries.

Organisation: Shkoder League for Fishing Resources Protection, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 2,000
Summary: Shkoder Lake is rich in natural resources, including fish. Local authorities, different institutions, experts and NGOs gathered in a joint workshop on fishing. The project facilitated the sharing of experiences on fishing, the comparison of national legislation and project results of the two countries.

Project name
: The maintenance of the lakeshore, a problem which has to be solved
Organisation: The Forestry and Green Environment association, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 3,000
Summary: The project focused on fieldwork, including five expeditions to the lake to acquaint people with the rich biodiversity of the region. Additionally, on the border between the two countries, three billboards were put up promoting nature protection and biodiversity conservation. Also, 500 leaflets were printed and distributed to local stakeholders. The project aimed to engage local habitants to plant trees. Engaging people into concrete activities is a very useful tool in environmental protection. Local people planted trees along the lakeshore, concentrating on the most deforested areas.

Project name: The lake is a joint treasure — so let it be clean
Organisation: Kol Idromeno High School, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 2,600
Summary: The project helped clean the shores of Shkoder Lake, with one school focusing on a 1,000 metre stretch in front of Shiroka village and the other working on a 1,000-metre bank of the Buna River. After a week the students met to promote the completed cleaning campaign. The work was promoted through publications which helped raise public awareness of Shkoder Lake's importance to the affected communities.

Project name: Greening the environment — the best way to preserve biodiversity
Organisation: Women in integration, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 3,000
Summary: The project aimed to educate people that the forest is their lifeline. Trees were planted with the involvement of the Forest Directory and students of the forestry school. Additionally, cooperation between NGOs and government institutions increased through the sharing of experiences and mutual assistance. This project involved local inhabitants and made them aware of the necessity of protecting the lake.

Project name: Cleaning Shkoder Lake's shore 1,000 metres from Buna Bridge
Organisation: The Branko Kadia Middle School, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 2,800
Summary: School children organised a cleaning campaign. Two hundred worked on 1,000 metres of shoreline and part of the Buna River bank. Two tonnes of garbage was collected. The work was promoted through publications which helped raise public awareness of Shkoder Lake's importance to the affected communities.

Cover story 1

Shkoder Lake and its surroundings are wintering grounds for more than 281 bird species. This area is known locally as a “bird airport.” Different laws and regulations protect more than 98 percent of the species. However, hunting, and especially poaching, threaten most of them. At the time the project was implemented, according to the National Park Law, hunting was allowed in protected areas. And, according to the National Park's records, more than 5,000 birds were killed on the lake during the last hunting season. Apart from the birds that can be hunted legally, poachers were hunting rare and endangered species, even those protected by international laws. This is why the Centre for Bird Protection and Research decided to draw attention to this problem and begin solving it. The centre gained support from ornithologists from the national park, the Republic Institute for Nature Protection and the Natural History Museum, and together with financial support from the REC, they started a broad campaign to protect birds in the Shkoder Lake region.

The project aimed to raise awareness of:

  • hunters, to change their attitudes towards hunting;
  • the republic's institutions, to encourage them to stop the poaching;
  • environmental NGOs, to involve them in problem solving; and
  • the general public, to increase their interest in the country's environmental problems.

The campaign “If you miss the bird you will shoot the target” included the filming of an anti-poaching video. This was broadcast on the state and three private TV stations, all of which cover the entire Republic of Montenegro. The video aired several times per day during the most heavily viewed hours of the day (i.e. before the evening news, and for a period of two months).

Apart from the TV spot, the campaign reached out to students and the general public through different meetings, presentations and two posters (500 copies distributed of each). These sent a clear message against poaching on the lake. The posters were distributed all over South Eastern Europe.

Since both the TV spots and the posters attracted the attention of a great number of people, the centre, with the financial support of the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Waters, printed 500 more posters. This prolonged the campaign and provided a good model for other NGOs for organising campaigns.

Cover story 2

The community of Shkoder is the second largest city in Albania. It was once known as the “Cradle City” because it boasted the Balkans' first established football club, first opera, first music band and first photo lab. The town's natural surroundings are also an important attraction. There was once a tradition of maintaining a clean environment and taking care of it. To revitalise these old traditions, educational institutions aimed to raise awareness and civic pride. The project, entitled “The lake is a joint treasure — so let's get it clean!” involved more than 400 schoolchildren in a cleaning campaign around Shkoder Lake. For a whole week these children helped collect and transport approximately 5 tonnes of refuse to the city landfill. Five hundred leaflets were distributed and five TV stations broadcast stories about the campaign.

Cooperative Grants

A call for cooperative grants was announced to non-profit organisations dealing with the protection and management of Shkoder Lake.
The application was a two-part process. In the first part, non-profit organisations wrote short concept papers describing their projects. In the second part, selected organisations submitted full project proposals. All project proposals had to involve non-profit organisations from both the Republic of Montenegro and Albania.

Projects could address the following environmental topics:

  1. improvement of protection and management of Shkoder Lake's biodiversity;
  2. development of an eco-tourism initiative which promote cultural and natural values on Shkoder Lake, with a preference for local products, crafts, traditional agricultural practices, etc.;
  3. improvements to access to information about the environmental or nature conservation; or
  4. raising of public awareness of the international significance of Shkoder Lake as a Ramsar site, with special emphases on environmental education about the protection and preservation of Shkoder Lake.

Total grants were EUR 20,000 per country, and the maximum funding per project was EUR 5,000. In the first part, twenty concept papers were received in Montenegro and Albania. During meetings held in March 2003, local advisory boards selected five concept papers in each country for the second stage to be elaborated into full project proposals. After receiving full project proposals in April 2003, local advisory boards approved 10 projects in both countries.

List of projects

Project name: Discover Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Centre for Bird Protection and Research, Podgorica, Montenegro, Albanian Association for Environmental Education, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 5,000
Summary: The main purpose was to spread information about Shkoder Lake to the wider public. The best way to do that is to create a website. Two NGOs gathered information related to science, tourism, biodiversity and other projects in the region and placed them on the website <>. Information was given in both local languages and English. The website launch will be followed by two presentations (in Shkoder and Podgorica). Additionally, a CD with tourist information about the lake will be published and distributed to relevant parties in both countries.

Project name: Discover Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Lynx Animal World Preservation Society, Podgorica, Montenegro, Youth and Progress, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 3,446
Summary: Shkoder Lake has great potential for tourism with its excellent gastronomy and natural attractions. In order to draw public attention to touristic opportunities, a cookbook with traditional recipes from the region was published. It was issued in three languages and distributed to relevant organisations and institutions in both countries. The cookbook was promoted at Eco-Food Day, a special event on the lake.

Project name: Promotion of eco-tours on Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Group for Sustainable Development and EU integration, Podgorica, Montenegro, LuleDielli – Shkoder, Albania
EUR 3,000
Summary: Four eco-tours in the Shkoder Lake region — walking, bird watching, caves and biodiversity/endemic plant species — were described in a guide for eco-tours. Two billboards showing a map of the lake were placed on the lakeshore in Virpazar, Montenegro and Shkoder, Albania.

Project name: Information Centre
Organisation: National Park Shkoder Lake, Podgorica, Montenegro,   Regional Environmental Agency, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 4,946
Summary: For the purpose of establishing an information centre, a room within the Shkoder Lake National Park was furnished with the necessary office equipment. Basic field equipment for rangers was also provided. Park staff together with the representatives of the Regional Environmental Agency gathered information from the two countries about the lake and organised it for public consumption (electronic database, website).

Project name: Lake Without Borders Regatta
Organisation: Montenegro Royal Yachting Club, Podgorica, Montenegro, Education Directory of Shkoder, Shkoder, Albania
EUR 3,422
Summary: Lake Without Borders was a small sailing regatta (Laser and Optimist class) organised in Vranjina, Montenegro and Shkoder, Albania. The regatta gathered children from sailing clubs in Montenegro with kids from Podgorica and Shkoder who had never sailed before. The event was covered by several TV and newspaper reporters. Additionally, there were initiatives to establish sailing clubs in Virpazar and Shkoder.

Project name
: Eternal values of Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Association Training Farmers, Shkoder, Albania, Green Home, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 3,835
Summary: Two NGOs gathered old photos and produced new ones showing Shkoder Lake from years gone by and more recent days. They were collected in a photo album, accompanied with descriptions of the landscapes, cultural and natural monuments and habitats of Shkoder Lake. This album was published in three languages, and distributed to the most important local actors, institutions and different donors.

Project name: Revitalisation of tradition
Organisation: Albanian Association for Environmental Education, Shkoder, Albania, Centre for Bird Research and Protection, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 4,340
Summary: A joint fair with local Albanian-Montenegrin traditional handicrafts was organised in Shkoder, with the hope of revitalising old traditions as viable economic options for inhabitants of the lake area. More then 20 producers exhibited their products, which were made of products such as wood, silver and cotton. Traditional clothes, wine, brandy and honey were also on offer. The fair attracted many visitors and showed a promising economic opportunity for local people.

Project name: Universities — important environmental educational centres
Organisation: University of Shkoder, Shkoder, Albania, Fans of River Cemi, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 3,180
Summary: The project aimed to bring together students and professors from the two universities. The aim was educate the young generation about environmental issues. Several “greening actions” were held around Shkoder University.

Project name: Partners in natural resource protection of Shkoder Lake
Organisation: Ylber Association, Shkoder, Albania, Kalimera, Ulcinj, Montenegro
EUR 3,920
Summary: Two NGOs organised a joint training workshop for the inhabitants of Shkoder Lake focusing on education, promotion of natural resources protection and sustainable development of Shkoder Lake. The project involved inhabitants who have a direct impact on the lake. The project suggested options for economic development for these rural areas. Outputs, recommendations and results of the workshop were published in a trilingual brochure about the future development of Shkoder Lake.

Project name: Data evaluation and promotion of the protected zone of Shkoder Lake-Buna River-Viluni Lagoon
Organisation: Regional Environmental Agency, Shkoder, Albania,
Shkoder Lake National Park, Podgorica, Montenegro
EUR 3,125
Summary: The partners gathered data and prepared a joint database for Shkoder Lake. This database was for a web page on Shkoder Lake intended to press different authorities to make a proclamation on the status of Shkoder Lake. The site is also supposed to raise public awareness regarding the preservation and protection of Shkoder Lake.

Cover story 1

Traditional handcrafts are well developed in the community of Shkoder, particular those products made by people living along the shoreline. Because the transition period in Albania brought much hardship, including the destruction of equipment, handcraft producers were not able to continue their work. Some producers organised into small groups and restarted production, but they lacked the necessary support. To meet this need, the Albanian Association for Environmental Education and Montenegro's Centre for Bird Research and Protection initiated a project called “Trans-boundary Values Fair – Revitalisation of the Tradition.”
A fair drew 32 handcraft producers from both countries. On offer were products made of wood, silver and cotton along with locally made wine, brandy and sweets made from honey. It was the first time these producers gathered at the same event and the first time they could network and exchange experiences. Several authorities, institutions and NGOs were on hand, along with schoolchildren and others from both countries. Albanian Minister of Environment Lufter Xhuveli was one honoured visitor. Several crafts were sold and a network of producers was established. It was agreed to stage a similar fair on an annual basis. Local media reported and broadcast stories on the event

Cover story 2

According to a master plan for tourism in the Republic of Montenegro, Shkoder Lake is a destination with great potential, including the opportunities it offers for eco-tours and outdoor sports. Despite the political conflicts of recent decades it is evident that Shkoder Lake now presents a bridge between Albania and Montenegro. Furthermore, the Bojana/Buna River connects the two states to the Adriatic Sea and the rest of the world. However, these common waters were neglected for a long period. Now that relations between the two countries have been re-established, there is an opportunity to promote cross-border tourism through a regatta between Vranjina in Montenegro and Shkoder in Albania. To realise this regatta, it was necessary to work with a suitable organisation from Albania, and the Education Directorate of Shkoder fit the bill.

The project enhanced cooperation between Montenegro and Albania by establishing connections between sports and tourist organisations. The project succeeded in:

  • establishing connections between people and organisations dealing with sport and environment;
  • organising a regatta from Vranjina, Montengro to Shiroka, Albania in order to promote the lake's natural value and its potential for sports and eco-tourism; and
  • organising an interactive presentation about Lake Shkoder as a way to connect people from different countries, and educating them about the need to protect the lake.
The Lake Without Borders Regatta was organised for students in grades 9 through 12, who sailed Optimist Class boats. The first day the regatta was organised in Vranjina, the second day it was held in Shiroka, Albania. A busload of students, some small regatta boats and some other participants crossed the border by land, and two boats crewed by representatives of partner organisations and the REC crossed the border by water. This was the first time that the water border was officially opened, if only for a short period of time. Participants in the regatta had the full support and escort of the military and police of both countries.

Apart from the students, who were the project's main target group, the event gathered together representatives of republic institutions, the Shkoder Lake National Park, municipalities, environmental NGOs and more. The media covered the event in both countries. In Montenegro a press conference was organised announcing the event and activities that would follow. The first steps in establishing sailing clubs in Shkoder and Virpazar were taken.

The project didn't end there. Youth regattas will be held in future. A second one was organised a month after the project was implemented, for Laser Class boats. Additionally, it was announced that the Montenegro Sailing Cup for youth would be formed on Shkoder Lake.



Local Initiatives Programme:
    List of projects
    Cover story 1
    Cover story 2

Cooperative Grants Programme:
    List of projects
    Cover story 1
    Cover story 2

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