Recommendations for an NbS pilot intervention in Elbasan Municipality, Albania, defined through the NbS Baseline Assessment of the Shkumbini River basin

IUCN, ADAPT "Nature-based Solutions for Resilient Societies in the Western Balkans” Project
Published: 07 April 2023
Last edited: 07 April 2023
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The  Municipality of Elbasan faces various environmental challenges with significant impacts on livelihood, infrastructure and biodiversity.

In order to tackle these challenges, recommendations for an Nature based Solution (NbS) pilot intervention in Elbasan Municipality have been defined based on the NbS Baseline Assignment. The process included consultations with relevant stakeholders, identification of potential sites for implementing pilot NbS measures, and a multidisciplinary assessment. 

The Baseline Assessment covered the topics of water management, biodiversity, and socio-economic and gender inclusiveness. Based on collected data and information, the assessment identified the Gurra catchment within the Shkumbini River basin, as the most appropriate location for the implementation of NbS measures.

The Baseline Assessment suggest two types of NbS interventions for the Gurra catchment:

- restoration of the forest landscape, and

- regulation of flow and excessive transport of sediment using check-dams.


East Europe
West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
River, stream
Temperate deciduous forest
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Disaster risk reduction
Erosion prevention
Flood management
Forest Management
Land management
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Sustainable livelihoods
Watershed management
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of food security
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of technical capacity
Sustainable development goals
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Sendai Framework
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030


Elbasan, Albania


The NbS Baseline Assessment in Elbasan Municipality enabled data collection and analysis on the state of biodiversity and ecosystems, socio-economic context, gender inclusiveness and current environmental policy. Different local and national stakeholders were consulted at each stage of the process to ensure that their needs and expectations are considered and reflected in the analysis. They identified the environmental targets to be addressed: mitigation of floods and soil erosion, reduction of water pollution, and enrichment of ecosystems and biodiversity.

The information gathered during these consultations, combined with a multi-disciplinary expert analysis, enabled identification of the priority zone for implementation of NbS measures: the Gurra catchment in the area of the village of Shushica. The proposed NbS measures will contribute to protection and safeguarding of some 150 hectares of productive agricultural land adjacent to the Shkumbini River that floods regularly. The intervention will decrease the torrential flow intensity, thus eliminating intensive erosion and preventing sediment transport and its accumulation along the Shkumbini River.

Strong stakeholder engagement ensured a broader understanding of the NbS concept amongst the local community and stakeholders, thus improving acceptance and local ownership over the proposed NbS intervention.

Contributed by

milica.radanovic_42022's picture

Milica Radanovic IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia