Albania launches new EU-funded regional programe to foster local democracyMay 26, 2017
A new regional programme funded by the European Union - “The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD)” - was launched in Tirana today. Around 40,000 citizens in Albania and across Europe will be the direct beneficiaries of this intervention. Albania and five other countries from the Western Balkans will benefit Euro 10 million.
The programme aims to improve cooperation between local governments and civil society organizations. Programme interventions include development of mechanisms so that civil society organizations can benefit from public funds through their municipalities.
In Albania, the Programme will support 10 municipalities across the country through a grant of around Euro 1.2 million, with 80% of the contribution coming from the EU-funded programme and 20% from the budgets of the benefiting municipalities over a three-year period.
The beneficiaries of the grant scheme will be Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that will be encouraged to implement projects in line with local development strategies. This in turn, aims to reinforce the participatory democracy at local level as well as to improve the quality of life for citizens in Albania.
Mr. Jan Rudolph, Head of Political, Economic and Information Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Albania, addressing the event, underlined: ”The new programme is focused on two main pillars of democracy: local government and civil society. By improving municipal funding mechanisms for CSOs, we are contributing to the ultimate goal of better serving local needs, improving participatory decision-making in partner municipalities with a real, visible impact on peoples' lives."
Mr. Brian J. Williams, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Albania, amongst other highlighted:” Democracy is a key word nowadays, especially for the region where we live and it’s time to aim for democratic processes not only in central level but in local level as well. That’s what we aim through this programme at the very end: to further develop participatory democracies through a well established partnership between municipalities and civil society organizations in each of six beneficiary countries.
We believe that we can have strong institutions only if we encourage the participations of all partners, especially civil society organizations in the decision making processes and this become more important in local level, where the decisions directly impact the life of citizens.
ReLOaD will promote a consolidated partnership between municipalities and civil society with the aim of creating a higher quality of life in local communities, through an inclusive and more transparent decision making processes across Albania and Western Balkans
Mr. Andi Kananaj, Executive Director, Agency for Support of Civil Society said: ‘It’s necessary to set up a legal mechanism to regulate the relationship between local government and civil society organizations and I am sure that ReLOaD will be a great support in this direction” -
For more information contact: Nora Kushti
Communication Specialist, UNDP