Awareness Campaign in the Framework of Regional Development and Cohesion Reform in Albania
Discussions on Regional Development in Albania have started since 2007 but only in 2018 the Regional Development policy began to take a completely new direction which is manifested by the approval of the first law regarding regional development in Albania. Law no. 102/2020 ‘On Regional Development and Cohesion’. This law reflects the complexity and dimensions of regional development and cohesion policy, which divides sectors, promotes a multidisciplinary approach and encompasses many levels of decision-making and jurisdiction, with a focus on a territorial approach.
In this context, the adoption of the Law has brought the discussion of regional development in Albania to a relatively new stage, more dynamic and certainly more demanding in terms of coordination between all actors involved.
Based on the latter, the Albanian Development Fund, a key partner in the implementation of RD reform in Albania, with the support of RDPA, since December 2020 took the initiative to hold a series of meetings in 12 regions of the country as part of the awareness raising campaign for RD with institutional and non-institutional actors. This campaign is essentially guided by the “Inform – Communicate – Listen – Reflect” approach to address the needs of sustainable and balanced development through a system that enables the implementation of the Regional Development and Cohesion Policy.
This awareness campaign started meeting with the actors in the Kukes Qark, on December 17, 2020, which was followed by meetings (almost) week after week also with other Qarks of the country. So far, the discussion with the actors in 7 qarks of the country has ended, where a total of 15 meetings have been organized in Kukës, Lezhë, Shkodër, Dibër, Berat, Korçë and Gjirokastër. With special attention to the current situation caused by the COV-19 pandemic, and in compliance with the guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, meetings are organized in 2 or more sessions per qark, dividing the actors into 2 significant interest groups between institutional actors (representatives of municipalities, de-concentrated institutions, and qark representatives) and non-institutional actors (business representatives, civil society, NGOs and academia).
Participants in these meetings, have assessed this initiative as a first step of recognition and further cooperation between actors for regional development and cohesion and an important step for discussion regarding Regional Monitoring Boards of RD in the future. During the meetings, a special place in the discussion was given to re-discuss local issues and suggestions for the creation of synergies in the region, as a positive approach taken by investments within the cohesion policy.
Following this campaign, meetings are expected to take place with actors in the other 5 qarks (Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan, Fier and Vlora). This process is just the beginning of a series of consultations, where in the future even more concretely will be discussed the membership and decision-making in the Monitoring Boards of Regional Development, Regional Plans and measures and concrete projects that will be presented in the Operational Programme for Regional Development.
This activity comes as an Initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the Albanian Development Fund (ADF)
With the support of the Regional Development and Cohesion Programme (RDPA), a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA)