This site uses technical, analytics and third-party cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies.

Preferences cookies

“NaturKosovo” has started, Italy to support protection and valorisation of Via Dinarica

It took place at the Magra Austria Eco Hotel (Boge, Rugova Valley) the launch event of the “NaturKosovo: the natural and cultural capital in Kosovo and the sustainable tourism development of the Via Dinarica”, amounting to € 1.8M, granted by the Italian Government. The event is attended by the Ambassador of Italy to Kosovo, Antonello De Riu, and the Representative of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in the West Balkan (AICS), Stefania Vizzaccaro. For the Government of Kosovo, the Minister of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade, Rozeta Hajdari, Minister of Local Authorities, Elbert Krasniqi and Deputy Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, Linda Çavdarbasha attended the event, as well as the mayors of the targeted Municipalities.

The objective of the project is to spur the sustainable tourism development, through the safeguard and the enhancement of the Kosovar stretch of the Via Dinarica, in the area of the Municipalities of Peja, Decan, and Junik. The project will address different aspects: the management model of cultural heritage and natural capital, care of existing trails and mapping of news ones, safety and alpine rescue, quality tourism services for international visitors, development of micro local enterprise and media promotion of the Via Dinarica brand.

The initiative is implemented by the Italian NGOs Volontari nel Mondo RTM (RTM) and Centro Laici Italiani per le Missioni (CELIM), with the technical contribution of the Italian Alpine Club, the National Alpine Rescue and Speleological Corps, the Italian Association for Responsible Tourism, and Utalaya Foundation. “Promoting tourism activities without harming the natural, social, and artistic environment, and, above all, without inhibiting the development of other social and economic activities is the objective of this ambitious project” the Ambassador De Riu said in his speech. “With NaturKosovo we mean, in fact, to increase the appeal of this territory and expand the “Via Dinarica in Kosovo” brand, to replicate the experiences of the other Countries of the Dinaric Alps, where the local and international tourist flows are already consolidated. To do that, we will make use of the solid competences of the Italian partners CAI, AITS, and CNSAS, and of the presence on the territory of Utalaya Foundation, focusing on mountaineering, alpine rescue, gastronomy, and cultural attractions in mountain contexts”, the Head of Mission added. “In the implementation phase of the project, particular attention will be given to the development of women and youth entrepreneurship with the aim to support economic growth and the creation of qualified professionals with a long-term perspective, that is crucial not only to align with the national development strategies of the Government of Kosovo, but also to strengthen the European pattern of the Country”, De Riu ended.

From her side, the AICS Representative in the Western Balkans Stefania Vizzaccaro said: “This project stems from the intention of the Italian Cooperation to support the local communities in the promotion and valorisation of the natural and cultural heritage in terms of eco-tourism, with the aim – complicated by the COVID19 pandemic – to combine territorial economic sustainable development protecting the natural areas and biodiversity, in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, in particular the target 8.9, that is focused on the implementation of policies to promote a sustainable tourism that could crate employment, promote culture and local products, and the number 15, that safeguards life on earth, with particular attention on the protection, restoration, and promotion of a sustainable use of earth ecosystems.” “This ambitious approach reflects, in a broader context, the regional sectorial strategy “Environment and Nature” of the AICS Office in Tirana, with the experience of initiatives recently implemented or currently ongoing both in Albania, such as Natura 2000 and NaturAlbania, and in Bosnia Herzegovina with the initiatives Via Dinarica and NaturBosnia. We believe that the synergic dimension is fundamental for the achievement of the project objectives, not only through these initiatives, but through the involvement of all actors – national and local – that work in this sector, and I wish this is just the beginning of a path of mutual and positive collaboration”

Minister Hajdari said: “The NaturKosovo project contributes directly to the development of tourism and at the same time is in line with our strategic objectives. The creation of cross-border routes with the countries of the region shows that Kosovo increases the flow of tourists, which will contribute to economic growth and job creation”.

Andrea Guerrini, President of RTM, stated “For RTM, present in Kosovo since the humanitarian emergency of 1999, this initiative represents an additional opportunity to adjust our action to the priorities, the needs, and the resources of the local communities and institutions”.

Partner in Kosovo is Utalaya Foundation, of the alpinist Uta Ibrahimi, the first Kosovar woman to climb the Everest Mountain and tireless promoter of environmental issues and of the respect of human rights. Uta, who was titled by the United Nations as SDGs Champion for her commitment in favour of environmental protection and women and new generations empowerment, declared: “The fabulous beauties of our mountains are the reason that brings people from different countries to this part of the world and the reason that has brought us here today, to get together, to do more for Via Dinarica.”

With the launch event the project activities officially start, along with a new chapter in the history of friendship and cooperation between Kosovo and Italy.