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Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Albanian Agricultural Systems

Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Albanian Agricultural Systems

May 26, 2009

Photo 1According to the World Bank report “Adapting to Climate Change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”, Albania is among the most vulnerable countries in the region. Impacts of climate change are already being observed in Albania, as climate trends have been changing over the last 15 years with increased temperatures, decreased precipitation, and more frequent occurrence of extreme events (e.g. floods and droughts). Impacts are projected to exacerbate in the coming decades: climate change scenarios for Albania project an increase in annual average temperatures by 1 to 2o C by the 2020s and 3o C by the 2050s; a reduction in annual average precipitation by approximately 5 percent by 2050; and a decrease in summer precipitations by about 10 percent by the 2020 and 20 percent by 2050.

Photo 2Agriculture is a climate sensitive sector. Projections as given above pose a serious risk to agricultural production, water availability, food security, economic growth, and rural livelihoods in Albania. To build greater understanding of potential risks posed by climate change and discuss adaptation options for agriculture, the World Bank - together with the Albanian Ministries of Agriculture and Environment - conducted an Awareness Raising and Consultation workshop on Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Albanian Agricultural Systems in Tirana on 26 May, 2009.

The workshop was attended by a large number of participants including representatives from the Government, national agricultural institutions, the private sector, farmers' associations, international development organizations, the academia, and civil society. The workshop was opened by the World Bank Country Manager Camille Nuamah, and remarks were delivered by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection - Ndue Preka - and the General Secretary and climate change focal point for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration - Pellumb Abeshi.

Photo 3The opening session included presentations by the World Bank team of the draft Climate Change and Agriculture Country Note for Albania, which provides a summary of agricultural climate change issues in Albania, and of the objectives, methodology and aims of the analytical and advisory program on Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Albanian Agricultural Systems. Next, three workshop sessions focussed on the exposure, sensitivity and adaptability of the agricultural sector to current climate variability and projected climate changes. Fifteen presentations were held by local experts on specific agricultural sub-sectors and session aims.

The workshop generated considerable interest, with participants reaching a consensus that Albania’s climate is changing and adversely affecting agricultural production and rural livelihoods, and that these trends will likely accelerate in the future. Participants highlighted the need to focus on adaptation solutions for the agricultural sector that are “win-win”, i.e. reducing vulnerability to climate variability and change, whilst increasing productivity and profitability. Filling information gaps and building capacity on analyzing impacts of climate change and adaptation options for agriculture were considered priorities by the workshop's participants.

To respond to these needs, the World Bank will continue to provide technical assistance to Albanian institutions to address the climate change challenges confronting agriculture. In the next months a group of renown international consultants on climate change impact assessment and adaptation in agriculture will start an in-depth study, with the objective of developing the “Albanian Response to Climate Change for Agriculture” in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection (MoAFCP) and other national institutions.

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