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The Balkan Green Belt (BGB) is essential for the development of Green Infrastructure (GI) at the EU-level. In view of ongoing pressure on habitats and species, spatial planning helps to balance different land uses and interests and supports the implementation and long-term safeguarding of GI.

Impressions from the Pilot region - Shebenik National Park in Albania © K. Medini / PPNEA

The overarching objective of the new project is a developed BGB with secured connectivity. For this it is necessary to improve legislation and implementation of spatial and land use planning along the BGB. The project focuses on Albania and North Macedonia, and especially the cross-border pilot region Jablanica-Shebenik.

Based on the given EU framework, the project team will identify gaps and needs for adaptation of the national legal frameworks. The project team will further develop recommendations for improving the respective national legal frameworks and their implementation. Training courses will support capacity building in the relevant ministries and their subordinate authorities. National project steering groups in each of the two countries will ensure technical coordination with decision-makers of both countries.

In the pilot region Jablanica-Shebenik, the project elaborates recommendations for the improvement of concrete planning processes at the municipality level. The intensive exchange of information between the departments responsible for spatial planning prepares the harmonization of national procedures in the pilot region.

The project is funded in the framework of the “Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union – a programme of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection”. Duration: December 2021 until November 2023. Implementing organisations: EuroNatur (Germany), Macedonian Ecological Society/MES (North Macedonia) and Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania/PPNEA (Albania).

If you would like to find out more, contact Anne Katrin Heinrichs (EuroNatur), anne.katrin.heinrichs(at)euronatur.org or explore https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/topics/sustainability-strategies-international/cooperation-eeca-centraleastern-european-states/project-database-advisory-assistance-programme/enhancing-connectivity-at-the-balkan-green-belt-in

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