Drin Day 2017

Strong connection between people and nature- crucial for joint management of river Drin Basin

May 5th, the Drin Day was successfully celebrated this year for the 4th time in 4 Drin riparian countries sharing the river basin.

Wide-ranging celebrations dedicated to the Drin Basin were carried out in cooperation with partner NGOs in numerous locations, from Lake Ohrid and outflow of Drin river in Struga in the South up to the Buna/Bojana River to the Adriatic Sea in the North-West. The NGOs involved were NGO Grashnica, NGO ERA, NGO Green Home NGO EDEN, NGO INTBAU and NGO PPNEA.

About 1.5 million people rely on the basin’s freshwater resources for drinking water. They also rely on economic activities that use Drin’s water such as agriculture, fisheries, industry, hydropower generation and tourism. The Drin Day aims also to mobilize decision makers and users towards action that will secure that water will be available for all uses in adequate quality and quantity. The now traditional Drin Day events were organized on 5, 6 and 7th of May to demonstrate the values of the Drin River Basin and its ecosystem services to the local communities’ everyday quality of life and economic activities.

Specifically, in Lake Ohrid Area – the outflow of river Black Drin, the activity Manage natural resources wisely - keep Drin River in our heartˮ was organized in collaboration with the NGO GRASHNICA. It included various river and riverfront events spanning on the length of the Ohrid Lake from Ohrid to Struga Municipality and on the Black Drin River. The events also celebrated the diversity of communities living in the Drin watershed and respected and fostered cultural pluralism. The celebration was divided into two parts - first educational school visit to the Wastewater treatment plant in the village of Lozhani on the shore of Drin River and the second was the eco-caravan and information events in villages on the Koselska River regarding current agricultural practices and pollution.

In the White Drin area events were organized in Radavc at the source of White Drin in cooperation with NGO ERA. The activity “Our Drin, connecting people and natureˮ consisted of a public fair and a stakeholder gathering, followed by two organized 1-day field trips for school children.  The participating pupils were able to experience biodiversity monitoring with prepared biodiversity kits. Part of the activities for the Drin Day were lessons of environmental education provided by ERA educators in 4 primary schools focused on water quality indicators. Representatives from national (Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Kosovo Environment Protection Agency) and local administration, as well as experts from the Hydro-Meteorological Institute, the participated at public events together with the students.

 In Kukes, Albania the Drin Day activity was heldunder the motto “Celebrating the Biodiversity of Drin riverˮ in cooperation with NGO PPNEA. The event opened an opportunity for many stakeholders and students to discover the Kukes area and to explore the most valuable hotspots and get acquainted with many bird species in the protected area. An environmental photo contest was organized for the students and the winner ceremony was been organized in the high school.

Activity named ʺDrin River a treasure to be protectedˮ, organized by the NGO EDEN took place in Kukes area. It consisted of many activities, starting with Introduction of the Drin Day, environmental theater/role play, art work and cycling, interactive games throughout Drin River area where students learned about flora and fauna, river specifics, threatened areas. The promotion of event on social media took important part of the celebration.

On Fierza Lake, NGO INTBAU carried out the event named ʺDiscovering unexplored areas among Koman and Fierza Lakes in Drin Basinˮ. The first part of the event was presentation of a detailed tour guide with historical information about area between the two lakes. Respectively, a boat trip was organized combined with field visits to archeological sites and to one of the villages to demonstrate and present the values and way of living in the area. Activity was followed with highlighting the tourism potential of the area.

At Bojana River, the activity named ʺCelebration of the Drin Dayˮ was implemented by NGO GREEN HOME. The activity was concentrated on organization of an educational camp for 40 participants (students of Biology, Environmental Protection and high school students from the Municipality of Ulcinj) at Ada Bojana on 6 and 7 May 2017. Awareness raising campaign was launched on social media (Green Home FB page) through organizing an online quiz. Lectures on staying and ways on getting around in nature, the application of coping techniques for practice/field work were provided,  and finally, the Drin Day FESTIVAL– consisting of night gathering around campfire, local story telling about Drin River Basin  and an unplugged music performance have been the peak of the activities.

 This year, the activities were supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project ʺEnabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the extended Drin River Basinˮ (Drin Project) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the Global Water Partnership - Mediterranean.

The activities are implemented under the auspices of the Drin Coordinated Action, the process established for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Management of the Drin Basin (Drin MoU; signed in Tirana, 25 November 2011), to enhance transboundary cooperation aimed at the protection and sustainable management of the Drin Basin’s shared water resources.