Speech BRIGAID Project – Horizon 2020

Dutch ambassador in Tirana, Dewi van de Weerd gave a speech in light of the opening of the Second National Meeting for Building the Stakeholders’ Network for the BIRGAID Project. You can find the ambassador's speech in the document below.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

There are many speakers here today, so I will try to keep it as short as possible.

Let me first say to you that the severe flooding taking place in the north this spring were again a sad indication of the need to continue work on fighting the consequences of climate change.It is important to turn threats into opportunities.

Albania’s landscape and nature has a lot to offer to young researchers, and situations like these floods show that disaster mitigation and recovery becomes very important in people’s everyday life.  In fact in Holland it’s the same. We however have been able to come up with innovative flood protection systems and convert threat into a chance. I am pleased to have Marjan kreijns from TU Delft here to talk about their experiences.

In NL we do this through a number of accelerators, incubators and innovation hubs that help the country evolve continuously and be in constant upgrade.  The key to this success is the investment in research and development. It is also about the willingness to devote resources to it. In Albania the amount of funds available for research and development is still very low.  And Albania needs such an approach in water and other related disciplines. It is also really important to work on water governance.

According to the latest EU country report (of April 2018), the legal alignment in the field of nature protection has well advanced:

  • for example the level of transposition of the Habitats and Birds Directives has increased.
  • Still, when it comes to the implementation we see that investments such as in hydro-power do not always comply with nature protection obligations.

The EU report also stresses the importance of abiding to the Paris agreement and the need to adopt a national strategy and legislation on climate change, which would bring the country nearer to the necessary legal and institutional framework on respecting climate-resilience development.

These are no light measures. Also in the NL we are still struggling with the scope of a new climate law that is to be adopted.

I am pleased to be part of this second national meeting and see the progress of the BRIGAID project in Albania by introducing three innovative ideas and solutions since last year. This is also thanks to the National Territorial Planning Agency, that facilitates the implementation of this project.

It is good to make this known in Albania, where not many universities have experience with the EU research programmes. BRIGAID serves as a bridge between students of our two countries.  Only last month, BRIGAID and Technical University of Delft hosted together a group of Dutch and Albanian students, at the Dutch embassy in Tirana, talking about flood issues and coming up with interesting ideas to stir cooperation between public and private entities in preventing floods and nature disasters. From their ideas we will also have some new innovations proposed for the programme.

I am certain that BRIGAID inspires all of us to become more resilient while having all respect for the nature. On this World Environment Day, I can only quote Robert Swan, one of the modern environment advocates “The greatest threat of our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”

I wish you many useful discussions and an inspiring meeting.