Local community celebrates Buna wetland in Albania

On 4 and 5 June 2022, in the frame of World Environment Day, local community, youth representatives and schoolchildren, as well as media representatives and our partners in Dajc and Velipoje, came together by the Buna river to celebrate the importance of wetlands.

Within the framework of the Outcome Action Plan on Coastal Wetlands in the Mediterranean, the community living on the shores of the Buna river in Northern Albania celebrated the Buna Day Fair. The fair was part of the MAVA funded project ‘Community and youth engagement for wetlands conservation’, and was complemented by activities funded through the Living Buna project. IUCN is leading this project, in partnership with INCA and PAP/RAC, and local management authorities.

The Fair opened with a media tour in kayaks down the Buna river, focusing on promoting sustainable tourism in the area to audiences in Albania and beyond. The tour was followed by a celebration in a riverside restaurant with presentations, music and interesting stories shared by key invitees about their activities to conserve the Buna River Velipoje Protected Landscape. A number of activities were organised under the Mandarina Project’s EDU BUNEN campaign, a MAVA-funded project. Other grantees shared engaging success stories about ideas that grew to become initiatives for the local community and small businesses, and the support they have received through the Living Buna project. Some of the ideas focused on reducing the water usage on farms, others supported restoration of wetland habitats, or nature-friendly eco-tourism approaches.

Finally, the Fair ended with a number of engaging activities for the youngest. For a few hours, the Velipoje visitor center offered a guided tour for local school students, a nature-themed scavenger hunt with prizes, and discussions on the protected areas and wetlands. For most of the schoolchildren, this was the first time they visited the nearby protected area. Hopefully, the first of many other times.

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