Promoting Sustainable Development

Project location: ALBANIA, Butrint National Park
Project start date: July 2004 - Project end date: September 2005
Project number: 2004-12
Beneficiary: Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli


Butrint National Park - south of Albania, Vlore region - is a protected area of 29 square kilometres, comprising a diverse landscape of lakes, lagoons, open plain, hills and mountains.  The varied habitats support a rich diversity of species, including 14 listed as 'Globally Endangered'.  At least ten archaeological sites in the Park indicate human occupation of the area over more than 3000 years.  At the Park's centre is the ancient city of Butrint - a spectacular archaeological site that has been attracting visitors and archaeologists for many decades.  The main site has been open to visitors since the early 1970s as an archaeological park, and was designated a World Heritage Site in 1992.  The World Heritage Site was enlarged in 1999, and the area was established as a National Park by the Albanian government in March 2000.  In November 2002, the area from Cuka Channel to the Greek border, encompassing Butrint National Park and the Stillo Peninsula was designated as an area of special significance for wetlands and waterfowl under the Ramsar Convention.  The Butrint National Park is a major natural and archaeological resource for Albania, as well as the major tourism asset for the whole region of southern Albania, currently attracting more than 40,000 visitors per year. However the Park has yet to reach its full potential to capture significant operational income through Park fees and generate other development in the area. As the most impressive attraction in a region rich in natural and archaeological assets, the Park can be the catalyst for sustainable tourism and new income generation in the southern part of the country, and can be linked to other sites in the development of regional cultural/archaeological and eco-tourism trails. The administrative authority of the National Park surrounding area, is constituted by two Municipalities: Ksamil and Xarra. This last one includes 5 villages and takes the name from one of these: Xarra, Vrina, Shen Delli, Mursia and Shkalla. Agriculture is the backbone of the local economy with a majority of the active population being engaged in farming activities and also fishing is an important income generating activity.

The villages are located in the surrounding area of the Park. Vrina and Shen Delli are just on the Park south border; the other three are a bit faraway from the Park south border. All of them stand on the road that goes from Butrint to Konispol, the last little town in the south of Albania, close to Greek border.


The Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP), or International Committee for the Development of Peoples, is an European non-governmental organisation (NGO) set up in 1982 and formally constituted in 1983. It is based in Italy and it acts in the international co-operation field. Its goals are summarized in the Declaration of Intent and the Code of Conduct for Cooperation Programmes (April 1997).

In order to achieve its aims, CISP carries out, in close collaboration with local partners, specific activities, development, rehabilitation, humanitarian and applied and social research programmes in about 30 countries in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. In Western Europe CISP carries out information, training, intercultural and development education programmes, as well as fight against racism and poverty alleviation programmes. It is also engaged in actions concerning the cultural policy and the promotion of the international solidarity. In the frame of  international development cooperation the priority sectors are: rural development, food security (agriculture, fishery, aquaculture and small-scale breeding) and poverty alleviation, rural and urban health, education and training, capacity building, natural resources and environment management, participatory community management of water supply and natural resources, promotion of responsible tourism. In particular successful projects on natural and marine resources management, environmental protection and sustainable development were realised in Central America - Equador, in Latin America - Colombia and in Africa - Namibia.

CISP in Albania

CISP has been working in Albania since 1998, at present is officially registered as for the national law which regulates international NGOs' activity.

At sectorial level, during the first years of its presence in Albania, CISP has realised humanitarian aid activities and information campaigns at national level in the social and medical field.

Following the crisis of financial pyramids in 1997, CISP has realised several projects specialising its interventions, in the aftermath of emergency, in the socio-sanitarian field, particularly for service managing, training activities and capacity building at decentralised level.More recently, an additional sector of intervention is urban development and territorial management, and environmental protection, including waste management, sensitisation and information on environmental issues.

Environmental protection and natural resources exploitation in Albania

Concerning environmental issues should be noticed as they has become a crosscutting priority in every sector included in Albanian development strategy. This is demonstrated also by Albanian government stronger efforts, at national and international level, to deal with environmental problems, in order to reach European standards for protection, exploitation and promotion of territories and natural resources, and make them a concrete instrument for sustainable development of the country.

CISP has been working on this subjects and intends to strengthen its commitment, in terms of local population information and sensitisation on sustainable development and environmental protection, and in terms of local institutions training and capacity building for territory ad natural resources sustainable management. In addition through the promotion of economic activities respecting the environment and improving its specificities and potential. At present two projects are in course, one in Kamza Municipality, Tirana suburbs, and the other in Butrint National Park area.

The lack of capacity in diversifying economic incomes as well as in the sustainable use of local natural and marine resources of the Butrint National Park, make the local population, women and men, quality of life poor and at risk of exclusion from the development process. In the same time the unsustainable use of natural resources risks to have an harmful impact on the Park's ecosystem. Moreover the lack of awareness on the Park's cultural and natural values and the low level of environmental consciousness, both at institutional and at community level, is already generating the landscape degradation. Addressing this problems, the project is directly related to the Foundation's goals.

In the framework above described, we have noticed how important is to create concrete experiences of community based activities able to involve local inhabitants in preserving and valorising the local environment and giving them the opportunity to improve their standard of living and developing sustainable income generating activities.

The idea is to make people aware of the potential social and economic value of the existing cultural and natural assets, in order to contribute in creating a favorable environment for the development of small business and income generating activities managed by the local community and in the same time to contribute in creating a favorable tourist environment that will attract visitors to archaeological site and to Park natural area.

CISP envisages the employment of an holistic approach, which will address simultaneously both community development and the valorisation and protection of natural resources. The strategy is to make clear and to show to the local communities that the valorisation and the protection of natural and environmental resources is in no way antagonist vis a vis  the promotion of local development. A widely existing misperception tends to associate "protected" resources to "unutilised" resources. Therefore, environment and development tend to be seen as conflicting social values.


The project proposed will be carried out through three actions:

o        Promoting and realising a small touring boat service, named La Piragua, in the protected National Butrint Park surrounding area through direct involvement of fishermen coming from  the Municipalities of Xharra and Ksamil.

o         Strengthening the handicraft activity of the women coming from the village of Shen Delli and their possibility to sell their products.

o        Supporting the fishermen and the women to give visibility to their activities in the Butrint National Park showing and selling area.


The main activities foreseen for the implementation of the project are the following:

1.      Promoting and at realising a small touring boat service, named La Piragua, in the protected National Butrint Park surrounding area through direct involvement of fishermen coming from  the Municipalities of Xarra and Ksamil

1.1 Creation of a tourism boats service

The Park has a large number of open water areas connecting bay channels and the majority of them can be considered to develop some routes for tourism boats. The creation of a tourism boats service will require a carefully planned route and itinerary to avoid environmental impact and to provide an interesting tour. 

Furthermore, it has to be outlined that the promotion of this activity will be fit in the overall tourism strategy of Butrint National Park orientated to a participatory and sustainable management of the marine and coastal resources of the park's eco-system.

The activity foreseen :

-  Purchase of three lake boats and engines

-         Supplying of boat equipment:  life jacket, binoculars, awning, etc..

-         Small dock construction


1.2 Organization of the boat touring service functioning

In the same time a participatory effort will be done to organize the service functioning. With the target group identified and with the Butrint park  particular attention will be payed on :

-         Definition of the itineraries and costs of the service

-         Identification of boat departure mole

-         Definition of passengers number

-         Definition of the operative program of the tourism service activities in coordination with the Park 

-         Definition of the regulation and administrative aspects of the service


1.3 Technical training

Moreover technical training on the job will be provided to the target group selected on the following issue: Management of the boat touring service; Appropriate behaviors and relationship with tourists; Environmental characteristics of the area; Tourism guide and on historical aspects of the area.


2.      Strengthening the handicraft activity of the women coming from the village of Shen Delli and their possibility to sell their products:

2.1 Supplying of raw materials

The material supplying such as wool, cotton, tissues and glass bottles, small tins and pots will be carried out according to the women requests. Moreover, to promote the image of the park and to link the product to Butrint National Park, it will be used the Butrint Byzantines mosaics figures - splendid flowers and birds (see annex)

2.2 Technical training

Technical training will be realized through the participation of older women (two) coming from the area, who is expert of old techniques of handcraft using loom and traditional tissues. They will contribute to the strengthening and improvement of the quality of handcraft products and of the packaging quality. The technical training will be organized through weekly meetings of training on the job and through technical assistance will be assured with constant visits on the field by the project staff.


3.      Supporting the fishermen and the women to give visibility to their activities in the Butrint National Park showing and selling area


3.1  Production of  promotional and visibility materials

It will be carried out the production and the distribution of promotional material: posters, brochures, radio communications, web site insertion, etc...

To better inform on the services offered by the Butrint Park there will be realized a radio advertisement campaign addressed to tourism operators and Park staff on the existent services: boat touring and handicraft selling

3.2 A public inauguration event will be organized with the active participation of the Butrint National Park and all the actors involved in the project implementation. The event will be the opportunity to launch the boat touring service and the handicraft products giving visibility at community and institutional level.


4. Monitoring and evaluation

The local project director will monitor and coordinate all the activities foreseen by the project and technical assistance will be carried out through missions on the field of an international expert. The monitoring and evaluation activities will assure a successful implementation of the project. Moreover it will be adopted monitoring and evaluation methodology that will foreseen: direct observation,  focus group with local inhabitants and qualitative interviews to beneficiaries of the project and beneficiaries of the services (visitors and the Park)


  • Anticipated achievements or outcomes of the project

The project will support the creation of a conservation and environmental consciousness of the local community and local authorities through the promotion of concrete actions that will have a direct impact on fishermen and women of the Butrint National Park surrounding area. To the same extent that the local community and authorities consciousness and awareness on the relevance of the environment protection and  biodiversity conservation will improve, the impact of the use of local natural and marine/coastal resources through the service, will contribute to the social cohesion creation among local population.

The creation of the boat touring service will be a pilot experience that will stimulate local inhabitants to look for eco-sustainable economic activity in order to improve the general economic conditions of local community.

In particular for the local fishermen and their families, indeed, there will be the opportunity to improve their economic conditions directly managing the service. Furthermore strengthening the local handicraft quality production will improve women economic conditions and will contribute to give an active role to the women in contributing to the local development process.

Finally, the project will improve the visibility of the Butrint National Park and of the country, that, as we  know, its not an image of a tourist country and will contribute in creating a favourable environment to attract new visitors and responsible tourists.


The production of the boat touring service and handicraft production promotional material: posters, brochures in the showing and selling area of the Butrint National Park, radio communications, services web site insertion, and the realization of advertisement campaign addressed to tourism operators and Park staff will assure a wide dissemination in the area of the results of the project. The public inauguration event will guarantee the results dissemination among local authorities. Moreover the results dissemination will be realised, also through a publication that we are planning to realize in the framework of the project funded by the World Bank (see below).

The activity proposed represent a well defined and complete project, even though  it can be seen as part of  a wider programme. The wider programme refers to - Cultural And Natural Resources Management Project  - Butrint Archeological Site and National Park- "Technical Assistance for Community Based Development" that CISP is realizing in the Butrint National Park surrounding area, financed by the World Bank. The primary goal of the programme is to assist in the conservation of Butrint National park's cultural and natural values by demonstrating to local communities the Park's potentials to generate sustainable economic activities. The technical assistance for community based development is meant to build the capacity of local communities to plan, develop and manage concrete, sustainable tourism activities, within the parameters set forth by the Butrint National Park legislation and the RAMSAR  Convention on Wetlands[1]As part of  the above mentioned programme, the services created by the project proposed will be an integral component of a development process directly managed by all responsible local actors - local community, local authorities and, in particular, by the Butrint National Park itself - this will assure the institutional sustainability  Moreover the service financial sustainability, will be guaranteed by the increasing number of visitors and tourists that, visiting the Park, will use the service to visit the marine and coastal area surrounding the park. Actually the Park is visited by about 40.000 people in a year and the visibility and promotion of the service carried out during the project, will assure the knowledge of its presence and the use of it in the future.

[1] The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 138 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1328 wetland sites, totalling 111.9 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

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