Country Profile - Albania

Vademecum - Civil Protection


Population: 4,275,554
Capital: Tirana
Area: 28,748 km²

More Information....



Meditarranean, characterized by warm to hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters.

Types of disasters:
Earthquakes, floods, forest fires, landslides

List of Emergencies




Albania is divided into 12 Regions (Qarks), 36 Districts, 375 municipalities and communes, which are the basic units of local self-government

Albania is a parliamentary republic with a single house of parliament, the National Assembly (Kuvendi), made up of 140 members (deputies), the president being elected by the National Assembly.
The Council of Ministers consists of the Prime minister, the deputy Prime minister and other ministers. The Council of Ministers exercises every state function that is not delegated to other state organisations or to local government.
The units of local govern­ment are communes or municipalities and regions (Qark). Communes, munici­palities and Regions exercise all the duties of local government with the exception of those provided by legislation to other units of local government. The representative organisations of the basic units of local government are councils, which are elected every four years in direct elections with secret vot­ing. The executive member of a municipal­ity or commune is the mayor (chairman), who is elected directly by the people.
A region consists of several basic units of local government with traditional, eco­nomic and social ties and joint interests. The region is the unit in which regional policies are constructed and implement­ed and where they are harmonised with state policy. The representative organisation of the region is the regional council. Municipalities and communes delegate members to the regional council in pro­portion to their population.




Jump to;
National Civil Protection Authorities
International Assistance
Civil Protection Planning
Civil Protection Exercises
Legal basis covery Civil Ptrotection
Available Human and Material Resources




National Civil Protection Authorities

National Civil Protection Authorities
TELEPHONE: ++355 42 273 191        
TELEFAX: ++355 42 273 191  

National Point of Contact for Civil Protection
Telephone: ++355 42 233 106        
Fax: ++355 42 233 090
Mobile: ++355 69 41 10 198            
General mission and tasks
Civil Protection / Structure of civil emergency planning is established under Albanian Law 8756 of 26th March 2001 and governed by the Albanian National Civil Emergency Plan of 3 December 2004.
At national level - The Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers leads and governs the national system of civil emergency management in Albania.  It approves and endorses appropriate strategies, policies and programs that aim to prevent, mitigate, prepare and respond to civil emergency situations. In compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, other legal instruments, international agreements and covenants, it endorses appropriate policies and funds for the strengthening of the system of defence against events that threaten human life, property, cultural heritage, and the environment.
When the scale of the emergency goes beyond the capacities of the commune, municipality and region(qark) and there is the need to activate capacities from other qarks or from the central level.  The Council of Ministers, after collection of necessary data, declares the State of Civil Emergency in a particular area or in all territory of Albania.
Once a State of Civil Emergency has been declared, the Council of Ministers will undertake the following tasks:

  • Establish the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies to take direct responsibility for managing the situation that has developed.
  • Appoint the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, who will be the Deputy Prime Minister or a Minister, depending on the type of civil emergency situation. 
  • Inform the President of the Republic and the Assembly of Albania of the situation that has emerged, the dangers it presents, and what measures have been taken already.
  • Whenever deemed necessary, request from the Assembly of Albania to endorse respective emergency acts and expedite respective procedures accordingly.
  • If necessary, decide on the re-allocation of state funds, and propose to the Assembly of Albania for a modification of the existing law on state budget

At Ministerial level
Each line Ministry is responsible for planning and handling civil emergencies according to their area of expertise.  Their activities encompass all stages of the civil emergency management cycle, and whenever appropriate they play either a leading or a supporting role.  However, to be effective, the complex range of civil emergency roles, tasks and responsibilities require coordinated inputs from a number of line ministries, rather than isolated efforts of the individual line ministry. Once a state of civil emergency has been declared, the concerned line ministries delegate their representatives to the Operations Directorate of Command and Control of Civil Emergency. They bring with them the respective data, information and institutional knowledge of their ministerial resources and capacities, and are vested with the authority to involve themselves in the process of decision-making regarding these resources and capacities. Whenever appropriate, the concerned line ministries provide special services, establish specific structures to cope with civil emergencies, and facilitate involvement of their administration in situations of civil emergencies

Inter ministerial cross cutting coordination  
Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies coordinates the appropriate actions of all concerned institutions through all the phases of response to civil emergency situations.  The Inter-Ministerial Committee will undertake the following tasks:

  • Prepare and address an appeal for international relief if necessary, via the offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Coordinate the actions and activities of national and local government institutions, the Albanian Red Cross, various volunteers and donors.
  • Request the full involvement of the institutions concerned with this National Civil Emergency Plan, and request their engagement in all necessary actions required to overcome the civil emergency situation. 
  • Request from the Council of Ministers to draw upon the State Reserves; determines the manner in which they are they are administered and utilized in the disaster-affected area. Defines the methods and procedures to access the available material and financial resources, assess and respond to the State of Civil Emergency.
  • Supervise the process of calculating and estimating the damage incurred by the disaster situation and identifies the potential means for the rehabilitation of the disaster-affected area, and propose possible solutions to the Council of Ministers.
  • Execute its duties and perform its functions effectively, by issuing appropriate orders and directions, which have effects during the State of Civil Emergency.
  • Appoint the Head of Operations, who shall be responsible for the administration and implementation of the civil emergency operation.
  • Terminate its activity once the State of Civil Emergencies ceases.

Inter agency coordination, levels of command and control
The Ministry of Interior implements the policy of the Council of Ministers in the areas of planning and coordinating civil emergency initiatives.  Through its permanent structures, it monitors the state of emergency in the entire territory of Albania. In calm situations and in a state of readiness in the case of an isolated event, the Ministry cooperates with the operational forces and central structures that are involved in civil emergency issues.  In a state of emergency, it provides additional personnel to provide necessary support to the General Directorate for Civil Emergency.

General Directorate of Civil Emergency (GDCE).
The General Directorate of Civil Emergency, within Ministry of Interior, is a permanent and specialized structure, participating in all the stages of the civil emergency management cycle. However it is also directly responsible for handling the initial stages of response to an actual civil emergency situation.
In calm, or non-emergency situations, through the Directorate Operations of Command Control of Civil Emergency, the Directorate of Civil Emergency Planning and Response will:

  • Maintain the overview of the civil emergency situation in the entire territory of the country.
  • Maintain constant contact with the civil emergency offices in each of the 12 regions of Albania, as well as with the liaison units in the institutions concerned with civil emergency issues. 
  • In the stages of Alert, Standby and initial Response, the General Directorate of Civil Emergency will:
  • Support the Directorate Operations of Command Control of Civil Emergency with additional staff to monitor the situation or handle an emergency situation that has already emerged.
  • Maintain constant contact with the monitoring, assessment, preparedness, response and rehabilitation structures in situations of civil emergencies.
  • Maintain constant contact with the relevant concerned bodies of local government.
  • Assess the damage incurred and the emerging needs, provide consolidated information and determine possible ways to handle and overcome the civil emergency situation. 
  • Coordinate the structures involved in the civil emergency response and take measures to facilitate their work in alleviating the situation.
  • Analyse and provide estimates on the degree of the full impact of the civil emergency situation, determine whether it is advisable or not to declare a State of Civil Emergency.

At the point at which a State of Civil Emergency has been declared, the General Directorate of Civil Emergency will:

  • Advise and provide supporting information for the Minister of Interior and the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies and the Head of Operations. 
  • Compile process and analyze data, statistical estimates, requests and other information to facilitate the management of civil emergency response operations and activities.
  • Consult with the advisory Technical Commission for Civil Emergencies on the specific civil emergency event. 

At regional level/Counties
The Prefect(head of the regional civil emergency commission) will:

  • Supervise and manage, on a regional level, all the representation of central structures, which have been incorporated in the region’s(qark’s) civil emergency plan.
  • Establishes the Qark Commission for Civil Emergency Planning and Response
  • Respond to civil emergency situations beyond the capacities and means in the region, by requesting that a State of Civil Emergency be proclaimed in part of, or across the entire territory of the region or qark.
  • Respond to a civil emergency situation on a national level, by keeping constant contact with, reporting to and coordinating his/her actions with the Minister of Local Government and Decentralization, the Department of Civil Emergencies, the Inter-ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies and the Head of Operations, and depending on the situation that has developed, with the Prime Minister as well.

The Qark Commission for Civil Emergency Planning will:

  • Coordinate the institutional actions necessary in all the stages of response to civil emergencies.
  • Coordinate the actions of the central structures on a regional level with the actions and activities of the structures of local government, the Albanian Red Cross, volunteers, and different donors.
  • Discuss and make preliminary decisions on the material and financial needs required to prevent and mitigate civil emergency situations, estimate potential damage caused due to a natural or man-made disaster, estimate reconstruction and rehabilitation costs of a disaster-affected region, and request the support of other central structures on a regional level.
  • Coordinate the actions of the municipal and communal committees, and the relief teams and volunteers operating in the region.

Law on Civil Emergency and National Plan on Civil Emergency
Relation between national CP authorities and operational organisations           In Albania, the responsibility for coordination takes place at different levels according to the situation, and in all cases, Law 8756 on Civil Emergency Services underwrites this responsibility. In the event of large-scale emergencies, the level of authority and the technical level for managing the situation will be made by a political decision. Even at different levels within the Government Structures, the coordination function is still not strictly a hierarchical system, but one which is mutually supportive, from the municipality right through to the Head of Operations of the Inter Ministerial Committee, in the case of a large scale civil emergency.
The coordination function represents the civil emergency needs and available resources from a single community right up to those of a national level.
At different levels, the coordination function in Albania reflects the responsibility for civil emergency management, which the coordination mechanisms must inform and support to provide the basis for decision-making.

Variation in structures related to disaster types
Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers has overall responsibility for civil emergency planning and crisis management in the Republic of Albania. Through permanent and temporary civil emergency structures, Council of Ministers coordinates all the civil emergency management activities, being active in all phases of disaster cycle.
Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies
In times of civil emergency, an Inter-Ministerial Committee for Civil Emergencies is gathered by the Prime Minister or his/her deputy, and remains together until the end of the causes of the emergency situation. 
Amongst its tasks, the Inter-Ministerial Committee:

  • Coordinates the actions of the reaction force during civil emergencies.
  • Coordinates the management of the emergency relief and determines its use.

Ministry of Interior
Amongst its other tasks, the Ministry of Interior:

  • Coordinates the activities of all parties within the civil emergency planning and crisis management system, fulfilling their duties and coordinates with local government organs in responding to civil emergencies
  • Coordinates the organization and equipment of the operational forces in civil emergencies.
  • Coordinates the assessments of damage caused by natural and other disasters.

General directorate for civil emergency
The general Directorate for Civil Emergency is established within the Ministry of Interior, and its related tasks to the coordination are:

  • The General Directorate prepares plans for civil emergency management and ensures their implementation, and directly supports the Ministry of Interior in its coordination functions and related responsibilities relating to civil emergency situations at national, prefecture and commune and municipal levels.
  • National coordination procedures are maintained by the 24-hour National Operations Centre for Civil Emergencies (NOCCE), which has direct links with all operational forces and others stakeholders, including Civil Emergency Sectors established in each prefecture.
  • Through the Technical Consultative of Civil Emergencies the General Directorate creates and maintains inter-institutional relations and coordinates disaster management activities in the country.

Line Ministries
Each Ministry is responsible for the organisation of civil emergency planning within their own Competencies. These responsibilities include:

  • Drawing up plans according to the type of activity and competence assigned to them. These plans and disaster management activities are coordinated in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior
  • Offer institutional capacities and structures relevant to civil emergency response

The Prefect of Qark
The Prefect is responsible for civil emergency planning and crisis management within the Qark.  The Prefect’s duties include:

  • To organise and coordinate the drawing up of plans for emergency preparedness in the Qark and implementation of protective measures.
  • Through Qark Commission for Civil Emergency Planning and Response coordinate the activities of governmental and non-governmental structures in emergency planning and response.

Organisation in Municipality and Commune Level
The Mayor and Head of Commune are responsible for civil emergency planning and crisis management within their respective municipality and commune.  The duties of the Mayor and Head of Commune include:

  • To organize and coordinate the drawing up of plans or emergency preparedness in the municipality and commune and implementation of protective measures.
  • To implement organization, coordination and equipment of the operational forces.
  • Through the Local Civil Emergencies Commissions coordinate the activities of governmental and non-governmental structures in emergency planning and response.





Private sector
Several main sector: mobile phone companies (AMC, Vodafone Albania, Plus), Tirana International Airport, etc.

1810 persons (non member of red cross).




International assistance

National arrangements on how to receive and deliver international assistance

Requests for international assistance to Albania will only be made when it is decided that the level of needs cannot be met from national resources and capacities. International Appeal is prepared by IMC and procedures are implemented by Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence. International assistance can be solicited, or offered, as financial contributions (earmarked or non earmarked cash contributions), in kind donations (food, tents, blankets, medical supplies etc), or specialist services (Search and Rescue Teams, logistics handling teams etc).  The Head of Operations, Inter Ministerial Committee, closely supported by the General Director of Civil Emergency will determine the requirements for international assistance.

The Inter Ministerial Committee will be ensure to donor agencies that emergency assistance is utilized according to the guidelines of each contribution, and a report on provided according to the terms and conditions of that contribution. 

Some unsolicited assistance may arrive in country spontaneously and without being requested. This needs to be managed correctly in the same method as the requested relief assistance.  
Non-acceptance of unsuitable or unnecessary national and international assistance is the responsibility of IMC/ MoI advised by the Head of Operations and the general Directorate of Civil Emergency.

The effective coordination of international assistance places a huge burden on the national response system. Assistance in this coordination can be requested from the United Nations Agencies, EU structures, NATO and from the countries.

Customs, Immigration and Quarantine
If the request for international assistance is made, Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Border Services of Albania are to be advised immediately.  The ease of entry into Albania of international assistance personnel must be facilitated.  In particular, the fast entry of international Search and Rescue Workers, their rescue equipment and rescue dog teams are a priority.  Additionally, tax and duty free clearance must be facilitated for all donor assistance marked "Humanitarian Assistance" or received for "Disaster Relief Purposes."  This may also include similar exemption for goods purchased locally with disaster relief funding and clearance for agricultural or hazardous material imports if destined for humanitarian purposes.

The Head of Operations/ Civil Emergency Management Team is responsible for providing information on expected donor assistance to the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Services to facilitate this process at entry points.  This information will include as much detail as possible on the type, quantity, source, means of transport, arrival point and estimated time of arrival.  If an UNDAC team has been requested and deployed, it can provide significant additional support in this area.  In the case of an emergency in neighbouring countries, involving displaced people crossing the border, the customs, immigration, quarantine must be prepared to facilitate the appropriate measures of the State.

An agreement on bilateral cooperation for civil emergency support is in force with Austria, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Turkey and agreements are under development with Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Main multilateral agreements:

  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation of Natural and Technological Disasters between the Governments of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia, signed 18. 06. 1992. Albania acceded later.
  • Agreement regarding the forming of the Civil-Military Emergency Planning Council for South Eastern Europe, signed on 03. 04. 2001, with later accessions. Ratified by Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania. Albania was a participant.
  • Declaration on cooperation in disaster preparedness and prevention in south Eastern Europe singed 5 June 2002.
  • Memorandum of Understanding on the Institutional Framework of the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative for South Eastern Europe, signed 24.09. 2007.

Relevant international agreements:

  • Council of Europe: Resolution 87(2): Open Partial Agreement on the Prevention of, Protection against, and Organisation of Relief in Major Natural and Technological Disasters. Also known as the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement. Albania signed the accession on the 15. 05. 1993.
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)– Regional Seas Programme: Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution. (The Barcelona Convention) Barcelona, 16. 02. 1976. Protocol concerning cooperation in combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE): Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, signed on 18 March 1992, ratified 05. 01.1994.




Civil protection planning

Coordination and cooperation between civil protection and disaster prevention           
The basis of coordination is the building of working relationships and the open sharing of information and communication. Because of the demands of civil emergency situations and the rapid information flow involved, those stakeholders are soon able to realize the necessity to adapt and adjust their efforts to match changing needs as well as each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the natural self-interest of specialist stakeholders to restore the service or conditions they are responsible for, is drawn into a bigger picture of sequencing priorities, avoiding wasted efforts and using available resources more efficiently.

Therefore, in civil emergency situations, the authority charged with coordination may have few, if any, resources to actually require or demand coordination- There is a strong voluntary aspect built from those working relationships and information sharing. Concerned agencies and individuals within them must see the added value from participating in the coordination process, and the benefits must be greater than the investment needed in coordination. 

Coordination does require investment of all stakeholders, and no more so than when there are huge stresses on that agency and individual.  Coordination requires time and energy, at a time where these are precious resources anyway.- However, investing in the coordination meeting may reveal aspects of the bigger civil emergency situation that immediately changes the priorities of one or more stakeholder agencies, reducing otherwise potentially wasted efforts. 

Civil protection tasks and objectives
The monitoring, information and response structures concerned with civil emergency issues, operate for 24 hours per day or can be activated at any time.

With the first notification, processed information and prompt response to activate their respective system, these structures enable other structures to assess the situation and intervene in due time for its normalization.

These services provide essential inputs during early warning, as well for timely response through their readily available means and capacities they have for the response phase.

The National Centre for Civil Emergencies (NOCCE) is one of these structures, which is surrounded by a number of other organizations. In it is concentrated and processed all information coming from other similar 24 hours in duty centres and available organizations.

The centralized processing of information to the NOCCE does not mean avoidance of communication between interdepended structures in line ministries and other organizations.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Civil Emergency Readiness Structures are as follows:

The National Operational Centre for Civil Emergencies (NOCCE)

The NOCCE is the central structure of preparedness in Albania.  It monitors situations (or potential situations) of civil emergencies in the entire territory of the country, and serves as a contact point for the collection and processing of all information relating to that situation.  This includes emergencies, accidents and incidents affecting or endangering the life of the community, private and public property, and cultural heritage.  The NCCE maintains contact with all other civil emergency structures in readiness for a civil emergency event, and inform regularly relevant organizations and media on the civil emergency situation. The NOCCE regularly updates the contact points and notification system for these structures for readiness, while also maintaining regular contacts with them.

National System for Civil Emergency Planning and Response personnel, as well as designated personnel from the Police, Fire-Fighting and Rescue are designated as available personnel at any time. They maintain permanent contacts with the civil emergency readiness structures, and advise decision makers in different levels on the measures to be taken.  

The National Operational Centre of Civil Emergency(NOCCE) at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at the Ministry of Defence.
These two structures constitute the two principal cooperating centres in providing information, and especially response, to overcome a situation of civil emergency.  As the Police structures and those of the Armed Forces have a large geographic distribution and availability to receive and transmit information in a fast and accurate manner, they also use this capacity to collect information and respond in a prompt way to civil emergencies.  It is required that these two structures submit information on actual or potential civil emergency situations, on every occasion, to the NOCCE. 

With receipt of information from the NOCCE they consider it for action, and follow their inner guidelines and rules to deal with the information and activate, if needed, the appropriate operational structures. These structures are then duty bound to inform and account to the National Centre for Civil Emergencies about their subsequent actions.

Armed Forces (AF), State Police Structures, Ambulances, Police of Fire-Fighting and Rescue (PFFR) and other operational forces.

In compliance with the nature of their missions in their duty locations, once these structures receive information about an event that has brought about a civil emergency, they are placed in readiness.  Depending of the status of the emergency, they may initiate actions on the request of the respective Prefect of the Region and orders by their supervising bodies.  The information sent by the NOCCE or the Regional Operations Centres (ROC) and received by these structures, should be considered as the basis on which to take further action.

Once these structures are involved in overcoming a situation of civil emergency, they establish and maintain contacts and exchange information with their own command as well as with the NOCCE, which, on its part, also coordinates actions with other structures and bodies of local governance.

The monitoring and warning structures, such as the Institute of Geoscience (IG), the Institute of Energy, Water and Environment (IEWE), the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INPh), and other relevant institutes, inspectorates and organizations.

These structures receive and provide information to the NOCCE, through their networks, on eventual dangers or threats, and in the case of an emergency, coordinate activities to assess the situation and estimate the needs.  In addition, they provide continuous information to, and cooperate with, the other structures of civil emergencies in analysing and monitoring the situation, and providing regular information.

Networks in readiness, such as transport, potable water supply, communication and electro-energy services
Through their permanent and temporary structures operating on a 24 hour basis, besides contacts with their own supervising body they have, maintain contacts with the NOCCE and the Regional Operational Centres (ROC) for Civil Emergencies, and furnish them with information about events that have already happened or are likely to cause an emergency.  They also request from them, assistance to involve other structures in handling and responding to civil emergency situations. These structures cooperate with other regional relevant structures, which operate in the same region.

Civil protection organisational structure
The National System of Management of Civil Emergencies is comprised of permanent and provisional structures on a central, regional and local level.  Through these structures, each concerned Ministry, Directorate or Institution currently shoulders specific roles and responsibilities essential through all the stages of the disaster management cycle.  Such roles and responsibilities are often divided among two or more institutions, dealing, for instance, with such matters as water supply, canal digging, supporting walls, dams and dikes, as well as other issues.
In certain cases, these roles and responsibilities have already been incorporated into existing specific plans developed by those institutions, to deal with civil emergency matters. When these institutions carry a response role, they will almost certainly have to play a corresponding role in the other phases of the disaster management cycle, including prevention and mitigation.

Operational Forces
The principal operational forces, or active structures in Albania are comprised of:

  • Armed Forces
  • Directorate of Fire Protection and Rescue (PMNZZH)
  • The Ambulance Service
  • The State Police and other Police units
  • General Directorate of State Reserves
  • Units specialized in mines and technical response
  • Monitoring and operational supportive structures.

These structures have specific roles, tasks and responsibilities for all the phases of the civil emergency management cycle, and it is essential that they cooperate closely with each other to provide the most effective response possible. 

Civil-military cooperation
Effective coordination, notably with general staff of armed forces, is again the key about fulfilment of all phases of civil emergency and  to preparing communities to withstand the effects of a hazard and protecting them from the risks that they pose.  In this way, the impact of an unavoidable civil emergency situation can be reduced and recovery made more quickly, with minimised losses.

Planning philosophy
The National Civil Emergency Plan is the most important Albanian State document regarding Civil Emergencies. It is necessary to improve the civil emergency structure of Albania, clarifying the division of responsibilities, and planning the best use of limited state resources to identify gaps and avoid duplication, in accordance with the established legal base.  These aims can be made into reality through the National Civil Emergency Plan. This plan offers real possibilities for more effective management of civil emergencies for both the state structures, and the Albanian population.

It is essential that the National Civil Emergency Plan be a practical useable resource for all stages of the disaster cycle, from preparedness to response and through recovery to the eventual mitigation of the effects of disaster on the population.  With this aim, Section 6 of the plan, covering response, has been designed to be removed and to temporarily stand alone during the brief period of actual emergency, as a practical tool for coordination and for field response.  Nonetheless, all the sections are mutually supporting, and make reference to the important annexes of guidelines, standards, checklists and information. Therefore even Section 6 Response should not usually be separated, except for the short-term emergency phase.

This National Civil Emergency Plan is jointly owned by all Government Ministries and Directorates, by Qark, Commune and Municipal Authorities, by all concerned state, private and voluntary organisations and institutions, and by every member of the Albanian Public.

The National Civil Emergency Plan is not merely a document, but a practical resource, that has been developed through a long process of consultation and shared planning with a wide range of stakeholders. Because this National Civil Emergency Plan has been developed by its own stakeholders, it has become a unique resource reflecting experience of the specific hazards, capacities and constraints of the Albanian civil emergency context.  What this National Civil Emergency Plan may lack as a theoretical example, it more than makes up for through genuine ownership and direct applicability to the realities that Albania faces today. It is the duty of those stakeholders to keep the National Civil Emergency Plan constantly informed, revised and updated, and therefore relevant to the rapidly changing environment of Albania, whose public and property it aims to protect from risk. 

The National Civil Emergency Plan is a living resource, a handbook, checklist and record of essential contacts and their roles, as well as a guide for all stakeholders to reach for in any phase of disaster management.  The National Civil Emergency Plan will never be completely finished, but constantly updated, revised and improved, reflecting shared ownership and the changing needs and resources of Albania.  The strength of the National Civil Emergency Plan rests in this shared ownership, and shared resolve to work together in a coordinated way, to reduce risks, to save lives and to minimise damage from civil emergency situations in Albania.              

Albania is exposed to a considerable number of natural and man-made disasters. The biggest risk of natural disasters comes from earthquakes, but in recent times, floods, landslides and winter emergencies, even though at lower impact, were more evident. Factors such as the economic situation, damaged infrastructure and communication means, mass migration, building boom and other factors related to misuse of forests, natural sources of water and environmental pollution, increases vulnerability of the population and the economy in general. 

Albania and its people have suffered the consequences of a series of natural disasters throughout history. For the first time, in October 2003, a national assessment of the potential hazards and the risks that they represent was published in Tirana by the Ministry of Local Government and Decentralization.  Entitled “Disaster Risk Assessment in Albania”, this study integrates the results and findings from extensive data collection, compilation and analysis performed over one year. The Disaster Risk Assessment includes sections concentrating on the specific risks presented by the following hazards:  seismic events, floods, dam bursts, high snowfall, landslides, forest fires, infectious diseases and technological hazards. The Disaster Risk Assessment represents a major step in the process of developing the subsequent National Civil Emergency Plan, and provides the informed basis on which to build the most effective planning possible.

Aim, Objectives and Principles
The Aim and Objective of the National Disaster Plan is to be an instrument which supports the Albanian Law 8756 of 26 March 2001 on Civil Emergency Services, and the other laws directly or indirectly related to civil emergency issues.  The plan aims to:

  • Prevent, mitigate and remedy any damage inflicted upon people, animals, cultural heritage and the environment, by emergencies.
  • Provide conditions for public administrations, economic entities, and the population, for the transfer from ordinary living and working conditions to an emergency situation with the smallest possible losses, for the keeping of order, preservation of human lives, animals, property, cultural heritage, and the environment, against the effects of an emergency.
  • To guarantee the use of available state resources in order to ensure public security, maintain the continuation of the national economy, localize the emergency areas and alleviate the threats thereof.

The National Civil Emergency Plan therefore draws together and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, State or otherwise.  This aims to channel the flow of relevant information, to strengthen decision making, and through coordination, to reinforce the capacity to respond through all phases of the disaster cycle. The National Plan is essentially a coordination tool, which if used correctly will:

  • save lives and property;
  • maximize the impact of the existing resources;
  • provide the means to solicit additional resources and support.

In the long term, the eventual Disaster Management aim has to be that of prevention and mitigation, and the National Plan is the necessary route to take in reaching that aim.  In non-emergency times, the bringing together of all stakeholders with the overview of their interactions, allows a clearer picture to be drawn at a national level. It allows priority issues to be addressed in sequence and in time, and for a coordinated coherent approach to be taken in soliciting additional support.

The planning process has been lead by the same guiding principles that are also relevant in the implementation process.  These are:

  1. The Plan will focus on the agreed clear Overall Objectives.
  2. All Specific Objectives in the Plan must be coherent with the Overall Objectives.
  3. The Plan will reflect existing law and decrees, which will in turn reinforce the Plan.
  4. The Plan will be developed through the inclusion, participation and input of all relevant actors.
  5. The plan will remain true to its objectives and not be negotiated into mediocrity at any point to avoid existing or perceived challenges.
  6. Basic framework of the Plan should be agreed, and the sections gradually developed and interlinked within that framework.
  7. Coordination and cooperation must be the basis, spirit and the crosscutting elements of the Plan, to maximise the impact of all available resources.
  8. Integrity.  Transparency and clarity of responsibility, roles and tasks are essential, as responsibility and pre event decision-making will be assumed in this plan. 
  9. The Plan should encourage initiative and not become an instrument to stop people doing things.
  10. The Plan will remain work in progress, but robust enough to maintain relevance and to be able overcome changes in the external environment.



Civil protection exercises

Several regional and local exercises with structures of line ministries, local power structures, foreign agencies and volunteers.

Table top exercises

  • Main planning conference, (CMEP), Tirana, 2006
  • Table top exercise, (CMEP), Durrës, 2006,
  • Intergovernmental table top exercise, (with support US Army), Tirana, 2009.



Legal basis concerning Civil Protection

At National level - Legal Basis
In general, Civil Protection / Structure of civil emergency planning is established under Albanian Law 8756 of 26th March 2001 and governed by the Albanian National Civil Emergency Plan of December 2004.

The development of the National Civil Emergency Plan for Albania has been undertaken on an established legal base referring to Law 8756 on Civil Emergency Services of 26 March 2001.

The format of the National Civil Emergency Plan reflects the provisions of this legal base for Civil Emergency Services in Albania and in doing so includes four separate sections that represent the four main phases of the disaster cycle.  The legal base for this plan, gives government and non-government structures the possibility to work more effectively and to abide by legal responsibilities in relation to civil emergencies. Attention is drawn to correct implementation of this plan and also the capacities and resources of the structures involved. In some areas and special sectors, additional legislation is necessary, for the structures involved in the prevention of civil emergencies, and effective civil emergency management. 

The National Plan has been developed with considerable stakeholder consultation and input, and therefore complements the thinking and procedures behind specific preparedness plans, linking them, often for the first time, with the planned responses of other closely related entities.  Particularly in Response phase, the coordination and decision-making procedures and the information flows required at a national level are clearly illustrated for the stakeholder. In this way, it is intended that specific stakeholder response or preparedness plans will complement the national overview, feeding into decision-making processes, which in turn will strengthen the specific stakeholder and sector responses.

However, by definition the National Civil Emergency Plan has to reach further than specific plans. It does this in two ways. Firstly, the National Plan represents the direct functional link between the State and International support, through the United Nations Inter Agency Contingency Plan. This is an important aspect of the National Civil Emergency Plan, in that international support is negotiated on the basis of coordinated, consolidated, information regarding needs, response and available resources. Secondly, the National Plan reflects the wider responsibilities not only of response, but also of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, protection and recovery. 

At Ministerial level    
Links to Other Key Plans
The National Civil Emergency Plan is an overarching initiative bringing together all Albanian and International stakeholders. Many ministries, directorates, and institutions have developed and maintain their own specific disaster preparedness plans.

At regional level
It is the responsibility of authorities at Qark, Commune and Municipal levels to develop contingency plans of their own, which all feed into the National Civil Emergency Plan, and the procedures, roles and responsibilities which it describes.

At local level
Municipalities, Commune

Law on civil emergency, national plan and local plan.
Municipalities and communes have responsibility for preparedness, planning and undertaking civil emergency response for situations developing in their territories.

Every municipality and commune, establish and maintain a system of:

  • Early warning and notification of key structures,
  • Alarm and evacuation of population,
  • Squads and other active structures prepared to prevent, mitigate and respond to civil emergency situations,
  • Undertaking and administering rehabilitation activities for affected area.

Regional agreements
Institutional Framework on Disaster Prevention Preparedness Initiative of SEE.




Available human and material resources

Albania benefits from the capacities of several state agencies that may be made available in the event of a civil emergency situation.  These capacities include those detailed material resources, and may be supplemented by additional state and private sector capacities, potentially available at national and local level.  Local level contingency plans record these in much greater and regularly updated detail. 

Organization chains of command during disaster relief operations.
The activation of the NCESS ensures that an appropriate informed response is made to all types of potential civil emergency situations, whether or not a warning stage has occurred. In the case of a sudden onset event, the NCESS begins directly at “Stage 3 Active”. If there is early warning information, all four stages will be pursued in the following order, to ensure optimum preparedness, maximum effectiveness of resources and the best possible coordinated national and international response.

Stage 1: Alert
Stage 2:  Standby
Stage 3:  Activate
Stage 4:  Stand Down

Training centres.
Albania has a National Fire-fighting Centre. Its current training priorities are:

  • Institutionalising the Civil Emergency Training Curriculum through a Ministerial order, and setting clear guidelines for staff training requirements. 
  • The curriculum is continually tested and improved through feedback using different methodology tools at national, regional and local levels.
  • The Civil Emergency Training Strategy is subsequently further developed by the Ministry of Interior, and an Annual Training Plan is designed and periodically updated, on the basis of: policy priorities, needs of the target groups and regional developments.
  • All personnel involved in civil emergency management activities (planning and operational roles), including civil society representatives and volunteers, receive civil emergency training. Training promotes the application of standardized criteria in field operations, and ultimately, compliance with EU and other International standards.
  • Planning and operational personnel are trained to the respective international standards to improve their skills, knowledge and experience of international response mechanisms and risk reduction methods.
  • Joint training activities with all relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders at all levels are organized, and include activities with counterparts from other countries in South East and Central Europe.  Bilateral and multilateral agreements facilitating training and exercise activities should be promoted.
  • Ensuring inclusion and coordination of other stakeholders in civil emergency training and simulation exercises arranged by other organizations

Persons trained include GDCE personnel, regional and counties fire-fighting forces, private companies personnel; responsible personnel of line ministries and central and regional civil emergency structures.