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Albania

Electronic Monitoring System of Forests (AL0059)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Albania Third Action Plan 2016 – 2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Environment

Support Institution(s): State Inspectorate of Environment and Forests

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, E-Government, Environment and Climate, Land & Spatial Planning, Public Service Delivery, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Albania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Albania Progress Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

This commitment aims at the creation of an integrated system that will enable monitoring of illegal activities and the timely identification of fire as one of the strategic objectives of the government program regarding forestry. This commitment aims to: - Establish an integrated system for monitoring of forests to prevent illegal cutting of forests; - Real-time detection of fires that may occur in the points to be covered by the system; - Monitoring during 24/365, set out the key points to prevent and control transport of illegal cutting wood material from forests towards urban centers where it is collected and marketed. - Improving quality of service for the prevention of violations of forest cutting. - Real time information exchange with other structures responsible for monitoring and prosecution of the perpetrators of actions against legitimate. - Reduce corruption in this area. Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Illegal cutting of forests is one of the illegal activities of major impacts on forest ecosystems and damage to the environment as a whole, causing a chain of negative consequences that result in serious injuries to forests, land and national economy. Despite continuous efforts made by state structures for the prevention and suppression of this activity again present problems in some districts. Currently, the State Inspectorate of Environment, Forestry and Water Management has no computerized system for monitoring and recording illegal activities or forest fires in every region of the Republic of Albania. Installation of monitoring cameras and the establishment of a system suitable for information analyzing and responsive measures on accrual illegal crossing, will significantly increase the effectiveness of the work of the Inspectorate of Forestry Police, identifying evidence for the initiation of proceedings documenting of violations and punishment of perpetrators. The establishment of this system will reduce costs of inspections and a better appreciation of the work of the Inspectorate of Police Inspectors Forestry and Environmental Guards who have responsibility forested areas. Given that some of the cameras will be placed at prominent points of the terrain and within the National Park they will serve as surveillance and reconnaissance systems of forest fires. Continuous monitoring will have an impact and reduce the level of corruption in the forest sector. Main Objective Establishment of an integrated system that enable the monitoring of illegal activities and the timely identification of fire as one of the strategic objectives of the government program for forests. This commitment aims to: - Establish an integrated system for monitoring of forests to prevent illegal cutting of forests; - Real-time detection of fires that may occur in the points to be covered by the system; - Monitoring during 24/365, set out the key points to prevent and control illegal prerejve transport wood material from forests towards urban centers where it is collected and marketed. - Improving quality of service for the prevention of violations of forest cutting. - Real time information exchange with other structures responsible for monitoring and prosecution of the perpetrators of actions against legitimate.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

16. Electronic Monitoring System of Forests

Commitment Text:

This commitment aims at the creation of an integrated system that will enable monitoring of illegal activities and the timely identification of fire as one of the strategic objectives of the government program regarding forestry.

This commitment aims to:

- Establish an integrated system for monitoring of forests to prevent illegal cutting of forests;

- Real-time detection of fires that may occur in the points to be covered by the system;

- Monitoring during 24/365, set out the key points to prevent and control transport of illegal cutting wood material from forests towards urban centers where it is collected and marketed.

- Improving quality of service for the prevention of violations of forest cutting.

- Real time information exchange with other structures responsible for monitoring and prosecution of the perpetrators of actions against legitimate.

- Reduce corruption in this area.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Environment

Supporting institution: State Inspectorate of Environment and Forests

Start date: August 2016 End date: 2017

Editorial Note: For full commitment text, please refer to https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Albania_NAP3_ENG.pdf.

Context and Objectives

Illegal logging in Albania leads back to the collapse of the communist regime in 1991, when the severe disruption in energy supply led to high pressure on wood as a source of energy.[Note145: Ensuring sustainability of forests, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTFORESTS/
Resources/SAVCOR_illegal_logging_ENA_June2005.pdf. ]
Forest areas cover 36 percent of Albania’s land area, but have been heavily degraded over the past two decades.[Note146: Balkan Insight: Illegal Logging Ravages Albania’s Forests, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/illegal-logging-ravages-albania-s-forests. ] According to a 2005 World Bank study, the harvested volume of industrial timber is five to eight times larger than the officially recorded supply.[Note147: World Bank http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTFORESTS/.
Resources/SAVCOR_illegal_logging_ENA_June2005.pdf. ]
Local experts say that this illegal trade continues right in front of the authorities and the problem of illegal logging is inexplicably tied to corruption.[Note148: Balkan Insight, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/illegal-logging-ravages-albania-s-forests. ]

Currently, the State Inspectorate of Environment, Forestry and Water Management has no computerized system for monitoring and recording illegal activities and/or forest fires in every region of the Republic of Albania.

This commitment aims to establish an electronic monitoring system of forests. It will include real-time detection of fires, monitoring cameras, real-time information exchange with monitoring structures, and more. The establishment of this system will also reduce costs of inspections, as described in the action plan. However, the specificity of this commitment is high. The commitment’s language specifies the number of cameras to be installed, key installation points, and the transmission of footage to the Forest Police and other relevant structures.

In 2015, a surveillance system was piloted in Tirana and Shkodra.[Note149: Interview of the Environment Inspector Chief Ergys Agasi, August 2015, http://top-channel.tv/lajme/artikull.php?id=305967 ] Although the State Inspectorate has reported positive results in preventing the damage of forests during 2015, environmental organizations have raised concerns that abuse still persists.[Note150: Reporter, https://www.reporter.al/prjeje-te-shfrenuara-te-pyjeve-ne-veri-ne-prag-te-moratoriumit/ ] Without information detailing how the electronic monitoring system will directly prevent abuse and corruption, the IRM researcher cannot consider this commitment’s potential impact to be anything higher than minor.

Additionally, the OGP relevance of this commitment, given its description in the action plan, is unclear. This commitment does not identify a mechanism or intervention by which monitoring data will translate into publicly available data or whether citizens will have a possibility to report cases of illegal logging. Without such a mechanism, this commitment is not relevant to OGP values.

Completion

No information was provided to the IRM researcher on the implementation of this commitment. Monitoring websites and reports on the performance of responsible institutions (Ministry of Environment and the State Inspectorate of Environment, Forestry and Water Management) did not identify any activity related to this commitment, except the piloting of a similar system in the Shkodra and Tirana regions. Participants at focus groups organized by the IRM researcher were not familiar with this project, although some of them (rural area participants) are affected by, and aware of, illegal logging. Many participants welcomed this commitment given the current state of the environment and forests in particular. Civil society organizations and networks operating in the environment protection area did not report any activity by the state on this commitment.[Note151: Interview with Rezart Kapedani, Program Manager of Regional Environment Center’s ACHIEVE Program for environmental CSOs, October 2017. ]

At the time of writing, the former Ministry of Environment has been integrated into the Ministry of Tourism. There is no information regarding the point of contact for this commitment. Since the end date for this commitment is listed as 2017, and this commitment has not yet started, it is unlikely this commitment will be completed on time.

Next Steps

This commitment represents a positive but incremental measure to address concerns in this sector: it takes steps to address the effective management of public resources and the monitoring of private companies’ operations. This commitment is important and the IRM researcher recommends that it be taken forward into the next action plan, provided that it is reframed to become relevant to OGP values. Two ways the commitment could be revised is as follows:

· Publish results of online monitoring system or other relevant results; and

· Involve civil society and promote civic participation during system’s design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Ultimately, the IRM researcher suggests redesigning this commitment in close consultations with environmental organizations, private sector operators and media.

The IRM researcher also recommends that the next action plan take into account the Third Environmental Performance Review of Albania, as suggested by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Some recommendations as detailed in the report are the following:

· Ensure regular publication of compliance and enforcement data;

· Operate a website to increase the transparency of its activities and to stimulate the engagement of the public in the detection of violations.[Note152: Environmental Performance Review, http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/cep/CEP-23/EPR.Albania.IP.3.e.doc. ]

IRM End of Term Status Summary

16. Electronic Monitoring System of Forests

Commitment Text:

This commitment aims at the creation of an integrated system that will enable monitoring of illegal activities and the timely identification of fire as one of the strategic objectives of the government program regarding forestry.

This commitment aims to:

  1. Establish an integrated system for monitoring of forests to prevent illegal cutting of forests;
  2. Real-time detection of fires that may occur in the points to be covered by the system;
  3. Monitoring during 24/365, set out the key points to prevent and control transport of illegal cutting wood material from forests towards urban centers where it is collected and marketed.
  4. Improving quality of service for the prevention of violations of forest cutting.
  5. Real time information exchange with other structures responsible for monitoring and prosecution of the perpetrators of actions against legitimate.
  6. Reduce corruption in this area.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Environment

Supporting institution(s): State Inspectorate of Environment and Forests

Start date: August 2016 End date: 2017

Editorial Note: For full commitment text, please refer to https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Albania_NAP3_ENG.pdf.

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to establish an electronic monitoring system of forests. It will include real-time detection of fires, monitoring cameras, real-time information exchange with monitoring structures, and more. With the establishment of this system, the government meant to reduce costs of inspections, as described in the action plan. The commitment’s language specifies the number of cameras to be installed, key installation points, and the transmission of footage to the Forest Police and other relevant structures.

Status

Midterm: Not Started

No information was provided to the IRM researcher on the implementation of this commitment. Monitoring websites and reports on the performance of responsible institutions (Ministry of Environment and the State Inspectorate of Environment, Forestry and Water Management) did not identify any activity related to this commitment, except the piloting of a similar system in the Shkodra and Tirana regions. By the midterm, the former Ministry of Environment had been integrated into the Ministry of Tourism and there was no information regarding the point of contact for this commitment.

End of term: Complete

The Ministry of Finance has included the electronic monitoring system of forests in its investments plan for the period 2018 – 2020. [94] According to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, there are now 28 observation points in the counties of Dibra, Elbasan, Korca, Vlora, Shkodra, Lezha, Tirana and Durres. The monitoring offices at the State Inspectorate of Environment, Forestry, Waters and Tourism (SIEFWT) are open 24/7 and they report cases of illegal cutting of forests to the police. The cameras are located in areas with high risk for illegal logging and illegal timber transportation from forests to urban centers and can also detect in real-time forest fires.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Public Accountability: Did Not Change

The forestry monitoring system has helped the authorities to track the real-time transport of timber and has enabled the automatic mapping of the geographic coordinates of illegal logging. [95] While the electronic system has been useful for the Ministry of Environment to monitor illegal logging, this commitment did not open any opportunities for public engagement in the monitoring. Nor has it led to disclosure of more government held information on illegal logging or management of forests in general.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report, Albania had not published a new action plan and it is not clear if this commitment will be taken forward. The government could make a commitment in this area by introducing measures to make the data on forest management public (e.g. publish results of online monitoring system); involve civil society and promote civic participation during the system’s design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation (e.g. by asking citizens to contribute to the system with data on the situation of forests, fires detected, illegal logging, etc.); and enhance public accountability by establishing a publicly available online reporting system and sanctions. Future commitments in this area could be designed with close reference to the Third Environmental Performance Review of Albania, as suggested by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. [96]

[94] Ministry of Finance plan 2018-2020, https://financa.gov.al/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lista_e_Investimet_Publike_2018-2020.xlsx

[95] Information provided by the Ministry of tourism and environment during the pre-publication period of public comment (July 2019).

[96] Third Environmental Performance Review of Albania, UNECE, September 2018, https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/epr/epr_studies/ECE.CEP.183_Eng.pdf


Albania's Commitments

  1. Transparency of Government Reporting

    AL0061, 2018, E-Government

  2. e-Government

    AL0062, 2018, E-Government

  3. Improved Business Regulation

    AL0063, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Safe Communities

    AL0064, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Improvement of Database/Portal with Coordinators’ Data of the Right to Information and Transparency Programs

    AL0044, 2016, E-Government

  6. Budget Transparency

    AL0045, 2016, E-Government

  7. Integrated Registry of Citizens’ Housing

    AL0046, 2016, Citizenship and Immigration

  8. Establishment of Electronic Registry for Public Notification and Consultation

    AL0047, 2016, E-Government

  9. Digital Archive

    AL0048, 2016, E-Government

  10. Creating a Database for Archiving and Publication of Research Funds and Programs in Albania

    AL0049, 2016, E-Government

  11. Commitment to Publish Online Central and Local Government Legislation in Open Systems and for Free

    AL0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Commitment to Open Standards for Contracting

    AL0051, 2016, E-Government

  13. Starred commitment Implementation of the Law "On Protection of Whistleblowers", Capacity Building, Amendments and Its Bylaws

    AL0052, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  14. Provision of Electronic Services

    AL0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Establishment of Multifunctional Centralized System for Building Permits

    AL0054, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Establishment and Distribution of Digital Counters

    AL0055, 2016, E-Government

  17. Service Passport Standardization

    AL0056, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Citizen Card

    AL0057, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Electronic System of Registration of e-Prescription in the Republic of Albania

    AL0058, 2016, E-Government

  20. Electronic Monitoring System of Forests

    AL0059, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  21. Integrated Electronic System for Professional Licensing of Individuals and Legal Entities That Will Operate in the Field of Study Design and Supervision of Commissioning of Construction Works

    AL0060, 2016, E-Government

  22. Standardization of Corruption Complaints

    AL0031, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. Electronic Registry of Energy and Industry Permits

    AL0032, 2014, E-Government

  24. Implementation of Public Expenses Module in "Open Data" Format

    AL0033, 2014, E-Government

  25. Promoting OGP Values Among Local Authorities

    AL0034, 2014, OGP

  26. Database on Economic Assitance Beneficiaries

    AL0035, 2014, E-Government

  27. Electronic Portal on Water Resources Administration and Management

    AL0036, 2014, E-Government

  28. Single Window

    AL0037, 2014, E-Government

  29. Electronic Access to Protected Areas

    AL0038, 2014, E-Government

  30. National Geoportal

    AL0039, 2014, E-Government

  31. e-Albania

    AL0040, 2014, E-Government

  32. e-Document

    AL0041, 2014, E-Government

  33. Starred commitment Law on Whistleblowers Protection

    AL0042, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  34. Police Service Offices

    AL0043, 2014, E-Government

  35. Open Data Portal

    AL0001, 2012, Open Data

  36. e-Acts

    AL0002, 2012, E-Government

  37. e-Parliament

    AL0003, 2012, E-Government

  38. Extension of the Governmental Network, GOVNET

    AL0004, 2012, E-Government

  39. e-Government Interoperability Framework, e-GIF

    AL0005, 2012, E-Government

  40. Government Datacenter

    AL0006, 2012, E-Government

  41. Excise System

    AL0007, 2012, E-Government

  42. Starting of the e-Tax System

    AL0008, 2012, E-Government

  43. Starred commitment Online State Matura

    AL0009, 2012, E-Government

  44. The Regulation on Ethics in Research and Publishing

    AL0010, 2012, Education

  45. Digitalization of Higher Education Accreditation Process

    AL0011, 2012, E-Government

  46. U-Gov System

    AL0012, 2012, E-Government

  47. Online Inspections of Courts and Judicial Hearings

    AL0013, 2012, E-Government

  48. Digitalization of the File Transfer Process

    AL0014, 2012, Judiciary

  49. e-Employment Project

    AL0015, 2012, E-Government

  50. e-Concessions Procedures

    AL0016, 2012, E-Government

  51. Amendment of the Law “On the Right to Information for Official Documents”

    AL0017, 2012, Justice

  52. Drafting a New Law on "Notice and Consultation"

    AL0018, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  53. Tracking Project

    AL0019, 2012, E-Government

  54. Digitalization of the Notary Register

    AL0020, 2012, E-Government

  55. Online Citizens’ Claims in the Judiciary System

    AL0021, 2012, E-Government

  56. Work Inspection, Online Complaint

    AL0022, 2012, E-Government

  57. Financial Module of All Educational Institutions

    AL0023, 2012, Education

  58. Starred commitment Audio and Video Recording of Judicial Hearings

    AL0024, 2012, E-Government

  59. Starred commitment e-Albania Portal

    AL0025, 2012, E-Government

  60. e-Inspection Portal

    AL0026, 2012, E-Government

  61. Starred commitment Portal Www.Gjykata.Gov.Al

    AL0027, 2012, E-Government

  62. Disclosure of the List of Payments Made Daily by the Government Units

    AL0028, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  63. e-Procurement System for All Small Purchases of Public Procurement

    AL0029, 2012, E-Government

  64. Implementation of the EITI Recommendations

    AL0030, 2012, Extractive Industries