Approximation process to the EU Environment acquis in Albania
Albania has entered a period, where continues approximation of national legislation to EU directives is a priority one agenda for the government.
During the last year, the process of EU environmental legislation approximation in Albania counted new laws and regulations, especially regarding horizontal legislation, integrated water management and a complete legal package of integrated waste management, for different types of waste as from used oils, WEEE, end-life vehicles, for batteries and accumulators, for waste landfills and incinerators etc.
Laws on Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Permits and Strategic Environmental Assessment entered into force by the beginning of the year, but still monitoring of implementation records are still lacking by this time. There has been little progress in the energy sector. Lack of diversification hinders security of electricity supply. Energy market reforms require significant efforts to ensure the viability of the sector. The administrative capacity and independence of the energy regulatory Entity require further strengthening. Overall, preparations are not very advanced.
Some progress can be reported on strengthening the judiciary, particularly on training judges and prosecutors on environmental issues. However, the Ministry of Environment still lacks financial and human resources. The cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Public Works needs to be improved. Also, the capacity of the Ministry of Public Works to design and manage water and waste management infrastructure projects is weak. Insufficient resources are allocated to ensure sustainability of such projects. The Environment Agency needs extensive investment in equipment and training to manage issues such as permit applications, permit monitoring, environmental monitoring and sampling and legislative enforcement. Local authorities have limited budgets and scarce administrative tools to develop the infrastructure and services required.
While there has been some progress in alignment with acquis in the field of environment, there was very little progress in the field of climate change. Some initial steps were taken to identify stationary installation for the purpose of future implementation of Emissions Trading System. Significant efforts are required to strengthen the country’s monitoring, reporting, and verification capacities. Public awareness and consultation on legislative initiatives or public investments remain weak. There is a need for greater political commitment and coordinated action in these sectors. Substantial investment is needed while current resources allocated remain limited. Environment needs to be better integrated into other policy areas, such as energy or transport. Concerning climate change, substantial efforts are required on awareness-raising, setting a more strategic approach for the country, aligning with and implementing the acquis, as well as strengthening administrative capacities and inter-institutional cooperation. Preparations in the area of the environment are still at an early stage, whereas preparations in the area of climate change remain at a very early stage.