Description of monitoring and data collection actions in the Western Balkan countries and the Republic of Moldova Albania Data collection on environmental status and biodiversity in Albania is performed by universities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The main academic institutions dealing with research in the field of biodiversity are: University of Tirana, University of Gjirokastra, University of Vlora, University of Shkodra, University of Elbasan, University of Korça, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. There are several fields that are well covered by the data collection from academic institutions, but there are several other areas which are still not covered at all. Biodiversity data collections from NGOs are sporadic and mainly conducted within the scope of internationally funded projects, but these often have a considerably limited scope when compared to universities. It is foreign researchers and scientists that often play an important and pivotal role in data production in Albania (VI National Report to UNCBD of Albania). The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Tirana collects biodiversity information related to: vascular plants, algae, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, freshwater fish and to a lesser degree mammals, lichens, fungi and microorganisms. The same categories are similarly covered by other universities in Albania but to considerably lesser degree. The biodiversity data collection covered by NGOs mainly pertains to large carnivores and birds. Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) has been active during the last years in monitoring lynx and other large carnivores protected by law. The NGO "Society for Protection of Birds and Mammals" has mainly collected biodiversity data on species levels for birds. The NGO "Hydra" is involved in research dealing with monitoring of certain fish species in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It also carries out research related to natural lakes, specifically targeting to mollusks and crustacean populations, and mostly from a cultivation perspective. It is also involved in the management of coastal lagoons. During the last two years, researchers from Albania and Macedonia have investigated algae, water plants, and snails, as well as water insects and insect larvae in Ohër Lake within the Niva Ohrid Project financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In terms of data collection, most of the identified institutions responsible for collecting data do not use any software solutions for field data collection. However, basic software solutions for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) reference are used by all institutions. Some NGOs also use the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) conservation software in their field collection and monitoring activities. Collected field data is stored in different formats but mostly in excel databases. Some institutions also use Access based databases or even their own software solutions, such as BIONNA, which uses Biocase software. In only a few cases are data stored in text files. The National Environmental Agency (NEA), with its 12 constituent departments, has facilities located all around Albania, and is the institutional agency responsible for implementing the decrees of the Ministry of Environment. It is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the environmental monitoring information system. The old Law on Nature Protection No. 8934 (2002), stipulates the need for the creation of a National System of Environmental Data which shall be open for public scrutiny and use, and which shall be created by a separate law. Because this system was not created, in the current Law on Environment Protection a whole chapter is dedicated to environmental information issues and NEA is the responsible authority for the Environmental Information System (EIS). Other public authorities are obliged by this law to cooperate with NEA in ensuring the proper functioning of this system. During the period 2014-2016 and in the present time, there are several other initiatives aiming at the establishment of information systems related to biodiversity and environmental data. The Biodiversity National Network of Albania (BIONNA) database has been launched during 2016 within the Natura 2000 project. BIONNA aggregates primary biodiversity data, i.e., occurrences of plants and animals recorded in Albania. BIONNA has been developed for the monitoring of nature and of w

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