The event aligned with celebrating World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), emphasizing the need to free rivers from unnecessary dams. These structures pose risks to safety and the environment and threaten the survival of species such as the European eel, which is now critically endangered because of human-induced factors, including habitat fragmentation caused by dams. The conference highlighted the necessity of tackling the significant decrease in European eel populations. These populations, which now stand at less than one percent of their historical numbers, pose a significant problem in our rivers. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed this species as critically endangered, emphasizing the need for immediate action.

Pao Fernandez Garrido, a representative from the WFMF, who introduced the dam removal movement in Europe and the US delivered a presentation that illustrated the benefits of dam removal for ecosystems and communities by bringing real European case studies.

Representatives from various sectors attended the event, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Albanian Committee of Large Dams – AlbCOLD, the Dutch Embassy in Albania, the Ministry of the Interior, the Albanian Geological Service, and representatives from local prefectures and municipalities. In addition, representatives from national and international civil society organizations, academics from the Polytechnic University of Tirana, various private sector entities, and members of the national press were present to observe and document the dialogues.

Organized as part of the “Albanian Municipality Dam Removal – DARE” project, the conference represents an important moment for Albania’s commitment to sustainable development and ecological preservation. The collaborative effort demonstrated at the meeting is an encouraging indication that Albania is prepared to take decisive actions towards a future where rivers flow freely, supporting ecosystems and biodiversity, and benefiting all life forms that rely on these important waterways.