Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development

What is the programme about?

Folk Group from South AlbaniaFolk Group from South Albania,Photo Credit UNDP Albania

Albania has been described as the last secret of Europe. Almost unknown internationally, its rich and diverse cultural heritage could constitute the core of a new development paradigm.

Three World Heritage Sites are complemented by extremely valuable intangible cultural heritage, such as iso-polyphonic singing traditions, distinctive textile designs, and exemplary inter-faith cultural relations. Mosques, Muslim quarters, Christian churches and monasteries, Bektashi Teke, Byzantine walls, and antique vestiges all testify to the meeting of different peoples and civilizations, evolved over nearly three millennia.

 The Culture and Heritage for Social and Economic Development (CHSED) Programme has been set up to support the efforts of the Government of Albania in harnessing the potential of Albania’s cultural heritage in order to strengthen the country’s national identity, create economic opportunities for poor and rural communities, enhance investment, and position the country positively in Europe and the rest of the world. Albania’s rich and unique culture offers many opportunities to positively transform the country by weaving culture into the fabric of society – from economic development to diplomacy, to education and into the every day life of its citizens.

 The programme, implemented by the United Nations in close cooperation with the Government of Albania, has been funded by the MDG Achievement Fund, established with a generous contribution from the Spanish Government. It has been implemented jointly by UNESCO and UNDP, in close partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports (MoTCYS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

 The programme has worked to develop effective national policies on culture, while ensuring that people’s access to cultural heritage is improved. This requires increased capacities to manage, preserve and present cultural heritage across the board. The programme has aimed to support capacity development activities in the public and private sectors in various regions. As a result, awareness of Albania’s cultural heritage internationally has been increased as a means to promote cultural understanding and religious tolerance.

 Realizing that culture is an essential part of a nation’s development process, but also an increasingly important economic sector, the overall goal of the Programme has been to boost Albania’s development potential by linking culture and heritage to social and economic development.

What have we accomplished so far?

Apollonia Archeological Park Apollonia Archeological Park,Photo Credit UNDP Albania
  • A new governance and management structure for NHM was developed and recommended to the MoTCYS by the International Advisory Board of the National History Museum. Together with the studies on the structural stability of the National History Museum,  it forms the basis of future restructuring of the National Museum
  • A new Ethnographic Pavilion is being established at the NHM, showcasing Albania's rich heritage in a new approach that links the museum with the city and its visitors
  • A comprehensive study on the fiscal management and governance structure of the Archaeological Park system in Albania was developed  along with an overall study on Albania’s fiscal mechanisms in support of culture and heritage
  • The archeological museum of Apollonia has been refurbished and re-opened for the visitors following a long period of being closed
  • In Berat and Gjirokastra, new Tourism Information Offices have been set up and cultural heritage signage has been developed and installed. Visitor information maps have been produced and distributed for the cities and for Antigonea archeological park
  • The National Film Archive has been provided with a powerful film storage server and a 35 mm film projector to better conserve the Albanian filmic heritage and upgrade the public access to it.
  • An MA Program on Cultural Resource Management was set up at the University of Tirana, Faculty of History and Geography, while an academic programme on Tour Guide education and training has been successfully developed
  • The Government’s National Strategy on Culture has been revised
  • An artisans’ product development and selling point has been set up in Gjirokastra enabling artisans to have increased access to national and international tourists and markets
  • Albania’s Culture Marketing Strategy has been developed along with a Cultural Diplomacy Concept with the aim of boosting the role of Albania internationally.

Who finances it?

Year Donor Amount Contributed
2008 MDG Spain  USD 1,236,640
2010 MDG Spain USD 630,390
2011 UN Coherence Fund USD 48,000
2012 Core Funds USD 140,000


Year Delivery
2008 USD 38,311.59
2009 USD 561,189.35
2010 USD 564,976.05
2011 USD 586,698
2012 USD 201,196

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