Increased role and visibility of the network of CSOs in Vlora in local decisionmaking through the assistance offered by the Vlora Regional Resource Center for Civil Society
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During the month of June, the Vlora Branch of the Resource Center for Civil Society in Albania has worked intensively with a group of 11 CSOs of Vlora Municipality, initiators of the joint action to save the Soda Forest from degradation, by facilitating their meetings with local officials, by offering trainings, counseling and information about the legal framework. As a result of these work, the group of Vlora CSOs has submitted by beginning of July 2020 the petition for the protection of Soda Forest, to the mayor of Vlora Municipality, to the Municipality Council, to the Vlora Prefecture, to the National Agency of Protected Area Tirane as well as to all the members of the Committee for the Management of the protected Landscape Vjose-Narte. Following the requests of the petitions, the group of Vlora CSOs is invited to participate in: the meeting of the Committee for the Management of the protected Landscape Vjose-Narte, the meeting with Vlora district prefect, in the meeting of the Petitions Commission of Vlora Municipality Council, in the meeting with vice-mayor of Municipality as well as in the meeting of 5th of August of Vlora Municipality Council.

As a result of this advocacy campaign the three issues of the petition were part of the recommendations submitted to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and National Agency for Protected Area from the Committee for the Management of the protected Landscape Vjose-Narte. By the other hand the Municipality Council Members and the mayor expressed their willingness to support the rehabilitation of the Soda Forest giving appreciation for the contribution of the civil society sector.

As a result of the advocacy campaign of the CSOs sector, in response to the first request of the petition, on 6th of august, Vlora Municipality started intensively to cut and remove the trees that were falling apart and becoming a risk for the lives of the citizens. The group of CSOs initiators of this petition will keep advocating and lobbing until fulfillment of all request of the petition.

All these experience helped to strengthen the relationship between CSOs participating in the action, helped increase their advocacy and lobbing capacities and in the same time increased the visibility of the Vlora Regional Branch of the National Resource Center for Civil Society and CSOs network as important actors able to bring positive changes to local decision-making through advocacy efforts.

The CSOs involved in this initiative are: Vlora Youth Center, Cerci, Education for the Future, Gjelbërimi 2000, Legaambiente Albania, Association for the Protection and Preservation of the Natural Environment, Aulona Center, Center for Development and Social Promotion, Vatra Psychosocial Center, Hope for Us NGO and Girl Scout Albania.

Since January 2019, Partners Albania in partnership with Albanian Center for Population and Development (ACPD) and European Movement Albania (EMA) are implementing the project for National Rerource Center for Civil Society in Albania, an initiative financed by the European Union.

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