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Drin River Basin Management

The Drin River is the connecting body of a complex water system that supports a wealth of biotopes of major importance.

About 1,5 million people depend on this system that covers a large geographical area which includes parts of the five Riparians: Albania, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

Read more about the Drin Basin and its sub-basins, the basins of:

  • Lake Prespa
  • Lake Ohrid
  • Lake Shkoder/Skadar
  • The Drin River, including its tributaries the Black Drin and the White Drin
  • The Buna/Bojana River (outflow of Lake Shkoder/Skadar in the Adriatic Sea).

The karst geology in the area exacerbates the complexity of the hydrology.

Drin-Buna/Bojana river house

Establishing Cooperative Management in the Drin Basin

The Memorandum of Understanding for the management of Drin Basin

Coordinated action at the Drin Basin level has been absent until the development of the Shared Vision for the sustainable management of the Basin and the signing of a related Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) (Tirana, Albania, 25 November 2011) by the Ministers of the water and environmental management competent ministries of the Riparians.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) working in the framework of the Petersberg Phase II / Athens Declaration Process support the implementation of the Drin MoU. The UNECE Water Convention and the EU Water Framework Directive provide the legislative and policy framework.

Read more about the Memorandum of Understanding for the management of Drin Basin.


Implementing the Drin MoU

The Drin Institutional Structure

An institutional structure to facilitate cooperation among the Drin Riparians was established in 2012. The Drin Core Group (DCG) that was given the mandate by the Ministers to coordinate actions for the implementation of the MoU and the Meeting of the Parties, constitute the core of this structure.

Read more about the institutional structure for the implementation of the Drin MoU.

The Drin MoU Action Plan

An Action Plan is prepared, and approved by the DCG, to guide the work for the implementation of the Drin MoU. The Action Plan describes activities that are undertaken by a wealth of actors and supported by various processes and projects.

Read more about the Action Plan.

Supporting Projects

A GEF Project entitledEnabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Extended Drin River Basinwill facilitate sustainable management of the Drin Basin on the basis of the Drin MoU; it will directly contribute in the implementation of the Action Plan hence the MoU.

Read more about the GEF project.

Drin Dialogue process graph


The initiation point – the Drin Dialogue

The establishment of the Shared Vision among the Drin Basin Riparians and the signing of the Drin MoU was the outcome of a structured multi-stakeholders process at the national and transboundary levels, the so called Drin Dialogue (launched on 1 December 2009, in Podgorica, Montenegro and concluded on 25 November 2011 with the signing of the MoU).

The Drin Dialogue was supported by the UNECE and the GWP-Med, with contribution by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP). Related activities were financed primarily by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, but also with contributions from UNECE as well as GWP-Med. Support activities were implemented in the framework of the Petersberg Phase II / Athens Declaration Process, the MAP UNEP GEF MedPartnership and the Mediterranean Component of the EU Water Initiative (MED EUWI).

Read more about the Drin Dialogue process.



- Memorandum of Understanding for the management of Drin Basin

- Information Note about the management of the Drin Basin at the Transboundary level


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