Transposition of the Water Framework Directive in Albania: Gaps and path forward

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Abstract: 

Aiming to harmonize its water management legislation with the EU acquis, the Albanian Government transposed the European Union Water Framework Directive into its national legislation with the 2012 Law on Integrated Water Resource Management. The Law has been followed by implementing sub-legal acts and recently amended by Law 6/2018. Although this transposition has addressed much of the Water Framework Directive, it is still incomplete. The law and subsequent by-laws have largely focused on institutional design, but failed to provide the necessary technical specifications related to water management at the river basin level as foreseen in the Water Framework Directive. As a result, there is insufficient guidance to set Environmental Objectives, establish a Programme of Measures to achieve those objectives, create River Basin Management Plans or adequately protect water sources. These gaps could be filled with sub-legal acts that pay attention to the standards set in the Water Framework Directive, in particular its Annexes. This article examines Albania’s Law on Integrated Water Resource Management, its amendments and the subsequent sub-legal acts, comparing it to the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. The article is organized into three parts. First, it lists the laws and by-laws that Albania has passed in order to transpose the Water Framework Directive. This exposes a focus on rearranging the agencies responsible for water management, rather than fully developing the standards.  Second, ithighlights the differences between the Water Framework Directiveand Albania’s water management legislation. Last, the article concludes with recommendations for the Albanian Government about the steps necessary to complete the transposition of the Water Framework Directive. 

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