Joint Statement by International Partners for Territorial Reform.
The governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States are pleased to be supporting directly the Albanian government’s administrative territorial reform effort.
For over ten years, Albania and the international community have agreed that the current system of multiple local government units (LGUs) is unsustainable. With many LGUs too small to provide adequate numbers of trained staff and unable to mobilize the sufficient resources, the people of Albania have paid the price in sub-standard public services.
If successful, the administrative territorial reform effort under way will consolidate LGUs (from the current number of 385). Such consolidation– well coordinated with parallel reforms—will improve and streamline public sector service delivery. It will and must ease the way to greater regulatory and fiscal decentralization and will strengthen local autonomy. The results will be felt daily by the citizens of Albania in cities and villages alike.
We embrace government’s commitment to making the territorial reform process follow international standards for analytical objectivity, transparency and inclusiveness. To that end, we have provided our support to the Government of Albania through the United Nations Development Program which will bring the international and national expertise for the government to deliver on these commitments--in close coordination with other important international actors.
We encourage the government to ensure that the voices of all citizens are heard through their elected representatives in this process, and we encourage all parties to participate actively in the process. An inclusive, participatory solution will be the best product for the country.
The timeline for implementing the process is tight, as the government seeks to finalize the consolidation in time for the 2015 local elections. We have expedited our assistance so that the government and Parliament can act quickly, and we are confident of success.
The above statement was delivered by the Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. Alexander Arvizu on behalf of the international partners.