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Albania renews commitment to join the Air Convention’s Protocols on POPs, Heavy Metals and Gothenburg

Albania renews commitment to join the Air Convention’s Protocols on POPs, Heavy Metals and Gothenburg

On May 26-27 2010, the UNECE secretariat of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), in cooperation with Albania’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration, held a kick-off meeting in Tirana to initiate the country’s participation under the Netherlands-funded Balkans Project. The 2 year project’s aim is to assist Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in implementing and ratifying the POPs, Heavy Metals and Gothenburg Protocols under the LRTAP Convention.
The meeting introduced representatives from Albania’s key Ministries to the important role the Convention has played in actively reducing air pollution in the region, in addition to the benefits of joining the three Protocols. Under the project, Albania will commit to developing a National Action Plan – a strategic document outlining policy and legislative needs, in addition to technical requirements, providing them with a step-by-step guide towards implementation and ratification. After the Plan is developed, the project will assist Albania in following-up on the necessary actions they have identified and provide them with the capacity to systematically reduce harmful pollutants covered under the Protocols, including lead, mercury, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, amongst others.
The meeting was a step forward for Albania, who ratified the Convention in 2005, but has yet to sign on to these key legally binding Protocols. Their commitment to the project was supported by Ms. Myrvete Pazaj, Secretary General of the Ministry, who emphasized the value of the project and the priority Albania has placed upon improving air quality.   
UNECE’s Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution is one of the first regional environmental agreements, and with over 50 member states, has played an influential role in the monitoring and abatement of air pollution for over 30 years.
The Balkans Project is one of a series of initiatives under the Convention aimed at assisting countries with economies in transition in developing the capacity to effectively monitor and reduce air pollutants within the UNECE region.
Ref: ECE/ENV/10/P16

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