HomeFact-o-MeterFalsePropaganda Surrounding the Demolition of Buildings in Protected Areas

Propaganda Surrounding the Demolition of Buildings in Protected Areas

In an interpellation concerning amendments to the law on protected areas, Minister for Tourism and Environment Mirela Kumbaro asserted that the socialists ‘have demolished thousands of unauthorized structures in protected areas over the past decade.’ However, Faktoje’s investigation reveals that only 69 illegal constructions have been demolished within these areas, contradicting Kumbaro’s claims.

Esmeralda Topi

Following a brief seven-minute parliamentary session where legislative changes allowing construction within protected areas were passed, Minister for Tourism and Environment Mirela Kumbaro was summoned for an interpellation by Democratic Party deputy Ina Zhupa.

The concreting of protected areas was denounced by the opposition, environmental associations, and civil society, as well as causing concern among international observers. In defense, Kumbaro compared the current government’s policies to those of the past. She highlighted the imposition of a moratorium on development permits and the demolition of unauthorized structures within these areas.

‘In various zones designated for protection, whether natural or cultural, indiscriminate construction occurred until 2014, without any consideration for criteria. This prompted us to implement a moratorium on development permits in all protected natural and cultural areas that year…’ Kumbaro stated, adding that the socialist government’s actions subsequently led to ‘the demolition of thousands of illegal structures nationwide…’


During Albania’s transition period, construction activities encroached upon protected territories. Unauthorized structures were erected within these zones, identified by the National Agency of Protected Areas and reported to law enforcement agencies (IKMT and the State Police).

Faktoje’s investigation reveals that from 2014 until the beginning of this year, only 69 unauthorized structures have been demolished in protected areas, contradicting Kumbaro’s assertions of thousands.

Nevertheless, experts argue that the ‘preservation’ of protected areas still involves inherent double standards.

‘It’s paradoxical that the minister boasts about demolishing unauthorized structures while, at the same time, the Vlora airport construction commenced unlawfully within the protected zone of Vjosa-Nartë, blatantly disregarding both domestic laws and international conventions safeguarding this area,’ states Aleksandër Trajçe, director of PPNEA, Albania’s premier environmental organization.

According to him, the law has been flagrantly violated when it suited the government’s interests.

‘For major investments such as airports or resorts in Narta, Divjaka, or Sazan, there is no regard for laws pertaining to protected areas. In fact, boundaries are altered, and laws protecting these areas are amended to facilitate these constructions. Meanwhile, there’s propaganda about demolishing sheds or extensions that residents of these areas may have built out of necessity,’ Trajçe argues.

Where were the unauthorized constructions demolished?

Referring to data from the National Agency of Protected Areas, the Korçë region witnessed the highest number of demolished illegal structures, with 28 demolitions along the lakeside in Pogradec.

Following this, Shkodra had 16 demolitions near the Buna River in Velipojë, while Vlora saw 7 demolitions within the protected area of Pishë-Poros, Nartë. Additionally, there were 4 demolitions in the Gjipe Canyon, 2 in Butrint National Park, and 1 in Karaburun.

Demolished structures were also reported in Durrës and Lezha. [see graph below]


According to official information, we classify Minister Kumbaro’s statement alleging the demolition of thousands of unauthorized structures within protected areas as false.



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