woman in training
A training session on domestic violence

Successes, challenges and policy responses

Albania has achieved its e-governance target 9.2 ahead of schedule.This is due to a number of factors such as establishment of integrated and sound ICT policy and legal frameworks;supporting institutional reforms, including the setting up and initial capacity development of key supporting agencies, e.g. National Agency for Information Society (NAIS); commitment of adequate financial and human resources and strong political and executive vision and leadership. The ‘Digital Albania Program’ was launched in line with the i2010 EU initiative and is likely to lead to further over-achievement by 2015.On the other hand, achievement of good governance remains a major challenge, especially, as noted, in those areas dealing with rule of law, anti-corruption and governance effectiveness.

Government recognizes that reforms in these areas are essential for European Integration (EI) and national development, but also that such reforms are highly complex and transformational in nature. Recent measures taken by the government include strengthening the central anticorruption unit within the Council of Ministers, developing an anti-corruption action plan for 2010, strengthening institutional coordination mechanisms at the political and technical levels, and launching a project to carry out corruption surveys, and risk analyses with supporting information systems with assistance of the EU and Council of Europe. On other fronts, and not directly factored into MDG 9 indicators, is a range of recent government actions such as introduction of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for business registration and licensing, electronic procurement,  expansion of point-of-sale for more and more businesses, tax reforms, and so on—all seen to contribute to anti-corruption.On the broader front and looking to long-term sustainability, government recognizes that more attention must be given to a wider reform of public administration and associated development of system-wide capacities. Increased efforts are to be applied to strengthening coordination mechanisms at both the political and technical levels, to developing systems for targeting support to the most disadvantaged groups such as discussed under MDG 1, to developing the needed monitoring and reporting systems (e.g. IPSIS, anti-corruption monitoring systems, etc.), to more focused training and skills development, and to instituting clearer accountability structures and incentive systems that focus on performance and results. All of this will require substantial resources and EU/donor support, as well as on-going political and executive leadership.

The government’s ICT for Development (ICTD) agenda will help increase public sector transparency and accountability, strengthen the engagement and participation of citizens in national and local decision-making processes, improve delivery of public services and strengthen partnerships as discussed under MDG 8.

Finally, and as noted, the government has developed a large number of sector and cross-cutting strategies, most of which incorporate elements of governance reforms. At some point, and depending on implementation progress, governance and public administration reforms may be consolidated into a singular integrated governance or public administration reform strategy.