Tirana, Albania, – On January 18, 2023, key stakeholders in the water sector gathered for the NIPS project seminar to discuss the progress of Albania’s water sector and the next steps required to ensure compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) and the Drinking Water Directive (DWD). This gathering of key stakeholders highlights the commitment to sustainability in Albania’s water sector and sets the stage for future progress. The opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Klevis Jahaj, the General Director of the National Agency of Water Supply, Sewerage, and Waste Infrastructure (AKUM) as the beneficiary of the NIPS project, and Mr. Johan Willert, First Secretary, Programme Officer of Development Cooperation Natural Resources and Environment, Sida representative, Swedish Embassy, the financing, partner of the project. Mr. Jahaj highlighted the significance of the central government’s role and collaboration with international financing partners in ensuring the road toward a sustainable water sector in Albania. Meanwhile, Mr. Willert expressed his belief that the work carried out under this project will aid Albania’s EU negotiations and secure continued support from the Swedish government in the future.” The seminar focused on the presentation of the consolidated drafts of the DWD and its implementation process by the NIPS leading team. Discussions centered on the results of the DWD preparation and the next steps required. Topics related to the DWD, including the importance of transposing the Directives, water quality standards, sanitary protection zones (SPZ), the differences between the DSIP DWD and the National Masterplan, and more, were covered. The institutional assessment of AKUM’s role in prioritization and investment planning was also discussed. Representatives of the key stakeholders emphasized the importance of including water safety plans (WSPs) in capacity-building measures for water supply and sewage companies (WSSCs) and agreed on the need for regular training for public administration to develop and implement the directives. The seminar addressed various topics, including the request for a transition period and specific deadlines for the UWWTD and DWD, intermediate targets and articles, water quality, and capacities, cost estimates and capital investments related to the Directives. The NIPS team emphasized that the UWWTD is an effluent-based Directive and that the DSIP defines a reasonable transition period for UWWTD compliance and a fair budget estimation. They noted that the DSIP for the UWWTD determines the key investment prioritization criteria and that its framework and data can contribute to various plans. The participants agreed that the next steps in the implementation of the DWD and UWWTD will include infrastructure rehabilitation, increasing AKUM’s capacities, and developing a legal framework that reflects the current situation. This gathering provided a platform for key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities in the water sector and will inform future steps in ensuring compliance with the UWWTD and DWD and improving overall water quality in Albania. The attendees established a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead and a shared commitment to working towards a safer and more sustainable water future for Albania. Approximately 50 representatives from 20 entities attended the seminar held in Maritim Hotel Plaza. These entities included government bodies, public and international financing organizations, and donors, as well as international implementing entities: National Agency of Water Supply, Sewerage, and Waste Infrastructure (AKUM), the Swedish Embassy – SIDA, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, the German Development Bank (KfW), European Union Delegation, World Bank in Albania, the Swiss Embassy, Water Supply Sector Regulator Authority (ERRU), the Agency for the Management of Water Resources (AMBU), the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the National Institute of Public Health (NIPS), The National Environment Agency (AKM), the Albanian Association of Water Supply and Sewerage (SHUKALB), Austrian Development Agency, SECO , SANE27 and SETEC-SWECO team.