RDPA introduces the ‘partnership approach’ with RDA-s
The four established working teams in each RDA ensure knowledge, expertise and gender balance. Such teams composed with members from different backgrounds help to better understand and draft the diagnosis/analysis for the Regional Development in the respective regions
While the term ‘region’ in itself can be used broadly to define different territorial, administrative or cultural units linked to different contexts, Regional Development Programme in Albania addresses the four Regional Management Areas (RMA-s), as defined by the Albanian Government in 2015.
As a result, the Government of Albania has committed to the EU integration, where a fundamental component of this process is carrying out a new major reform on Regional Development. Since 2013 the new Governmental Programme defined regionalization and regional reform as national priorities. To achieve this, 4 Regional Development Agencies were established two years ago, operating in the four regions; concretely the RDA1 in Shkodra; RDA2 in Tirana, RDA3 in Korca and RDA4 in Vlora. The organisational structure of the agencies is composed by two main departments; the first covers the preparation and execution of the projects while the second deals with the administration and support of the related projects and activities. The staff of these important established structures for the regional development, ensures expertise, knowledge and same importantly, the gender balance.
In this framework RDA-s play an crucial role in the implementation of the Regional Development Programme in Albania, and are defined as the direct beneficiaries of the Programme. The four RDA-s have initiated concrete key interventions, focusing in the consultation process and data gathering with local government units. In the same time RDA-s have also applied for project funding through the Regional Development Fund and also becoming part of EU – IPA cross border (CBC) projects.
Furthermore the RDA-s representing the four regions in Albania, have been also engaged in fulfilling important tasks delegated by central government (GoA) in terms of project assistance and taking a lead or a supporting role in international donor-funded projects in the respective regions.
While considering the current situation on regional development in Albania, where disparities manifest themselves in various ways and magnitudes, the lack of well-established regional structures and the capacity building within them, remains a necessity to be addressed.
Therefore, as well defined in the Programme, the RDPA will ensure support for RDA-s in several aspects. The support includes, among other things, strengthening the emerging institutional system of the agencies, elaborating Regional Development Programmes in a participatory way and what is also fundamental: ensuring a partnership approach by integrating local government, civil society, private sector into RD programming, monitoring and projects.
The support for RDA-s has been consolidated by undertaking daily meetings within the four agencies, each one assisted by a dedicated Local Expert on Regional Development. The four working teams (WT) in place, established in each of the RDAs composed with members from different backgrounds help to better understand and implement the Regional Development interventions in the respective regions, taking into consideration the local contexts and regional priorities.
In this framework a process of data gathering has already started in the four RDA-s by the Working Teams, which will help to understand more the regional contexts and also guarantee the integration of the civil society, private sector, local governments and other stakeholders, in the regional development policies and processes. Currently, the examination and analysis of all the actors is taking place. Next, RDA-s will be supported to draft a programming document for their respective regions, which will identify key issues to be addressed at regional level through the implementation of specific projects, with the aim of addressing key economic and social challenges in the specific regional contexts.
Additionally, the RDA-s will constitute the cornerstone for supporting the process of establishing a functional grant scheme, and thus play an active role in the coordination and management of the project selection and monitoring, in the upcoming year.