What is the Project about?
The Government of Albania since September 2013 started implementation of an administrative and territorial reform aiming the reorganization of local governments units. On July, 31 2014, the Parliament approved the law 115/2014 “On the territorial and administrative division of local government units in the Republic of Albania” reducing the number of LGUs from 384 to 61 municipalities. This law entered into force after local elections held in June 2015, and since then the local government in Albania operates through 61 municipalities, which have assumed the responsibilities and challenges of managing local public matters. This process has benefited from the support of the STAR project.
The consolidation of the newly established 61 municipalities resulting from the administrative and territorial reform is an immediate and pressing priority to be addressed for ensuring a well-functioning local government and increasing service delivery, service expansion to rural and suburban areas.
The present STAR2 project is developed in continuity of the results of its predecessor STAR as well as in complementarity with the assistance of various partners for strengthening the institutional and administrative capacities at local level. In full account of the considerations, STAR2 project has a national coverage and benefit all 61 Local Government Units(LGUs).
The development objective of STAR2 is to ensure functionality, recognized by men and women, of the newly established local governments, so that local administrative and service delivery outcomes are effective, qualitative, participatory, and inclusive, and correspond to evolving decentralized competencies and responsibilities.
STAR2 has three main objectives as highlighted below:
1. Strengthen institutional and administrative capacities of local administrations across the 61 municipalities of Albania.
2. Increase the efficiency of local service delivery including quality, coverage, accessibility and inclusiveness for men and women.
3. Enhance local democracy through fostering citizen-oriented governance and participatory decision-making, leveraging the role of women as actors of change.
STAR 2 builds on the national commitment to reform and strengthen local governance and public administration in general, enhance the efficiency and transparency of public institutions for an effective response to public expectations and fight against corruption, make citizens central to service delivery transformation and modernization, and create climate of trust, cooperation and democratic decision-making for a healthy and sustainable development.
The project will include all 61 local government units, attempting to provide or ensure all municipalities are in receipt of coherent and adequate assistance with regard to areas relevant to project objectives.
The project will rely on good practices and upscale them to all local governance units. The project will also strive to complement different national or international partner/s initiatives through working on adjacent assistance topics that need to be addressed for ensuring comprehensive body of capacity building or through inclusion of a larger number of beneficiaries benefiting from the available assistance in order to contribute to creating a critical mass of skills within local administrations.
The project will assist in strengthening institutional and administrative capacities of LGU’s, by organizing capacity building and leadership strengthening programs targeting mayors, local senior officials and local public administration.
STAR 2 will also support improvement of administrative and financial management of service delivery, including those deriving from the recent delegation of new competences to the local level. Key staff from the LGUs will undergo training to improve the way services are planned, managed and delivered.
Since the new administrative and territorial division in Albania has reduced the number of local governments leading to way larger administrative units, the development of One Stop Shop(OSSH) models is a necessity for more efficient services. STAR 2 assumes the challenge to support the scaling up of the OSSH approach in all the remaining administrative units.
STAR 2 will support the nationwide adoption of the digitalization of local government archives leading to increased transparency and data accuracy. This intervention relies on the piloting results achieved during the implementation of STAR1.
The project will pay particular attention to promote producing and usage of data disaggregated by gender and subpopulation groups as well as their systematic dissemination and use of evidence at local and national levels so as to ensure that services are addressing disparities experienced by vulnerable groups.
Attention will be devoted to the concerns of vulnerable groups in order to ensure that their voice is heard while shaping and modelling systems of public services or recommending participatory mechanisms. STAR 2 will promote gender mainstreaming in all its activities throughout the implementation.
Environmental and social concerns will be an integral part of design and implementation of capacity building, system development and scaling up activities, especially when they pertain to environmentally or socially interventions, such as in the case of review of public utility services, urban and territorial planning, waste management, irrigation and drainage, forest and pasture, and fire protection.
The project will be instrumental in promoting new technologies, e-government and e-services, that have the potential of making local governments more efficient, transparent and accessible by the public.
What have we accomplished so far?
- A mapping of local governance called “The evaluation of the situation of local governance” is being implemented in the 61 municipalities. This aim is to measure how people perceive local governance including service delivery, participation of citizens in local decision making and what are the gaps-as seen by both ends-local government administration and citizens.
- 376 local officials from 61 municipalities have participated in 15 training sessions on Code of Administrative Procedures.
- 50% of the Asset and Land management capacity building program has been completed.
- 162 finance, audit and procurement officials have benefited from the Local Government Compliance with High State Audit training, completed in 9 sessions. An instructive guide on High State Audit Compliance for Local Government has been published.
- One-Stop- Shop pilots in municipalities of Elbasan, Pogradec and Polican are ready to go live; 76 services are standardized, validated and ready to be replicated in 49 municipalities.
- 331 local archive and protocol offices across all municipalities and administrative units, are archiving documents; 334 archive specialists have strengthened their capacities and received Performance Certificates on local archives from the General directorate of Archives.
- 75 officials have received training on the new Model of Transparency Program for Local Governments in 48 municipalities; on line assistance on adoption and implementation is under process.
- All 61 municipalities now regularly publish their municipal councils’ decisions on-line on: www.vendime.al
Who finances it?
STAR 2 enjoys support by a number of international development partners through a pooled funding mechanism. International partners include: the European Union, the Government of Sweden through Swedish International Development Agency, the Government of Italy through Italian Development Cooperation, Swiss Government through Swiss Development Cooperation, the United States through the United States Agency for International Development and UNDP and the Government of Albania.