Stakeholders around the country discuss administrative territorial reform

07 Apr 2014

imageParticipants at the public consultations in Elbasan

More than a thousand stakeholders around the country have actively participated in consultations about the territorial reform- a key initiative of the Albanian Government.

A tour was organized under the leadership of the Minister for Local Issues in around nine regions of the country. Representatives of local government units, members of parliament, civil society, private sector and the local community were introduced with the proposed technical criteria for the new territorial and administrative division of the country.

The Minister of Local Issues, Bledi Çuçi informed the participants on the need and the benefits of the reform highlighting that the territorial consolidation is key in achieving sustainable economic development.

“The territorial reform will consolidate local government units will make tangible progress in public service delivery at local level, ensure more opportunities for local economic development and better access to services for the citizens. This will lead to greater regulatory and fiscal decentralization and will strengthen local autonomy.  The results will be felt daily by the citizens of Albania in rural and urban areas”.

During the consultation meetings, the Director of the Territorial and Administrative Reform, Mr. Enea Hoti introduced the proposed criteria for the new territorial division:

“The new local government units will be created based on the functional area concept. The new local unit will be a separate functional area. It will respect the principle of territorial continuity, will have a considerable number of inhabitants based on the geographic characteristics of the area and will have a historic traditional connection between the inhabitants of all constituent territories”.

Participants at the event expressed their support for the reform, highlighting the fact that the actual territorial division has not properly functioned when it comes to urban planning, waste management and local development. They further discussed the technical criteria of the new local government units and committed to support and contribute to a successful territorial reform throughout the country.

Opinions and recommendations coming out of the public consultation process are being documented and taken into account when the draft law on the Territorial and Administrative Reform and the draft map of the new territorial division will be prepared.

The consultation tour is undertaken in the framework of “Support to Territorial Administrative Reform project” (STAR) financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), UNDP, USAID, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), and implemented by Albanian Government and UNDP in Albania.

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.