A new programme to boost social inclusion in Albania

Nov 11, 2013

Swiss Ambassador to Albania Mr. Alexander Wittwer; Minister of Urban Planning and Tourism Ms. Eglantina Gjermeni; Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Mr. Erion Veliaj; United Nations Resident Coordinator in Albania Ms. Zineb Toumi Benjelloun and Deputy minister of Social Welfare and Youth at the launch of the new Programme

The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, in cooperation with United Nations Agencies in Albania and with the support of Swiss Cooperation Office, launched today a new programme: “UN Support to Social Inclusion”.

The programme aims at improving the social inclusion policy framework and governance at all levels in Albania complementing the ongoing integrated social care reform in Albania. The programme will support the elaboration and implementation of the Government of Albania's Strategic Framework for Social Inclusion and Social Protection.

Amongst others, the programme will target several line Ministries to make their policies responsive to the needs of various vulnerable groups as well as to plan, prioritize, budget and finance specific programmes that benefit a broad range of citizens. The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth will continue to play the lead coordination role with other line ministries concerning the social inclusion agenda.

The Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Mr. Erion Veliaj amongst others highlighted: “The program aims to increase the policy making capacities of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth in the area of social inclusion and strengthen its leading coordination role thus paving the way to a greater engagement in social inclusion domain, as increasingly requested by European Union integration processes”.

During his speech, the Swiss Ambassador to Albania Mr. Alexander Wittwer  noted: “There has been positive developments in the country’s economic and social spheres in the last few years, however, there are groups and sections of the society that are not yet entirely benefiting from this progress. Inclusion of these groups can only be achieved through clear policies, through enabled governing structures at all levels of government, and through rigorous implementation of these policies”. The Ambassador further noted that social inclusion takes a special emphasis under the Swiss development strategy for Albania. “The new programme aims at improving exactly these three factors: informed policies, enabled institutions and effective implementation of social inclusion”, added the Swiss Ambassador.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Albania Ms. Zineb Toumi Benjelloun highlighted: “The intervention we are launching today is part of the Government of Albania-UN programme of Cooperation 2012-2016. We will work with our main partner-the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and other concerned ministries to ensure that social inclusion policies are well coordinated and involve all levels of government and relevant actors including people experiencing poverty and exclusion”.

The Minister of Urban Planning and Tourism Ms. Eglantina Gjermeni, present at the event, noted: ”To implement European values, Rama Government intends to apply integrated and cross-sectoral approaches between central government, local authorities, civil society, academia, the excluded groups and those who find it difficult to take advantage of the positive developments without extra efforts. My presence here today as Minister of Urban Planning and Tourism illustrates the integrated approach followed by the government while paying respect to the role of the "national coordinator" of the line ministry.  The technical and financial support provided by the generous donors and international organizations is essential to the realization of the goals of Albania at a reasonable time frame”.

The programme will partner with disadvantaged communities to ensure their voices are heard and integrated in local and national policies and practices. For those groups, the programme will work to ensure that they receive better, equitable, inclusive services from regional and local governments.

The proposed interventions will utilize existing and new data to further the social inclusion agenda by providing analysis for exclusion dynamics.

One feature of the new programme is the utilization of Delivering as One approach which synergizes and integrates various expertise by the UN agencies in Albania to make the programme more effective. Switzerland has actively supported this approach since it was first introduced in 2007 when Albania volunteered to test the “Delivering as One” initiative and develop new ways in the area of partnership and development.

The Programme further contributes to the EU integration agenda by adhering to the fundamental principle of social inclusion in line with the Europe 2020 strategy as the country progresses towards its EU candidate status and beyond.

The programme, funded by the Swiss Cooperation Office will last four years and will be implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth in partnership with line ministries and United Nations Agencies in Albania.

Contact information

Nora Kushti,
UNDP Communications Manager
E-mail: nora.kushti@undp.org

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