Component 3

In this component RDPA will focus on improving the socio-economic conditions for Albanian citizens through the implementation of Regional Development projects, reflecting regional needs and priorities.

A pilot grant scheme under the Regional Development Programme Albania (abbreviated as RDPA) financed by the Swiss and Austrian Governments was designed by building on the strategic, institutional and operational framework for regional development that is being further developed in parallel by the Albanian authorities with the Programme’s assistance.

This grant scheme contributes to the EU integration process of Albania since its design and rules are in line with the relevant EU Regulations and guidance both in relation to EU pre-accession assistance and European Structural and Investment Funds. The above two sets of Regulations and procedures are based on the EU Financial Regulation that designs the framework for sound financial management and control of EU funds spending in both EU Member States and accession countries. The key underlying principles are transparency, sound financial management and accountability. .

The grant fund mechanism envisages that the four Regional Development Agencies of Albania perform a key role to channel the grants to the beneficiaries and this way the Agencies shall also consolidate their function and capacities. The pilot grant scheme has a funding allocation of 845,000 Swiss Francs and shall be implemented through a competitive Call for Proposals.

Grants under this Call for Proposal shall support in all territory of Albania small-scale local infrastructure projects, improve regional and local capacities, and enhance partnership for regional devel­opment between local and regional stakeholders so that financed projects respond to priority needs of the local communities.

The pilot grants also aim at further de­veloping the administrative capacity of Albanian Municipalities to manage public funds, which builds on the previous sup­port by Swiss and Austria to these Beneficiaries in view of their role in delivery of the EU competitiveness and cohesion policy in the Albanian regions upon accession.

Assistance by Swiss and Austria shall also ensure that all entities involved gain capacity and expertise on grant management, from identification and selection of projects, to supervision and financing of the implementation of the grant scheme.