Tirana Smart City Conference: 112 projects presented to make Tirana a smarter cityJan 20, 2016
The Tirana Smart City Conference brought together representatives of the Municipality of Tirana, international organizations, the private sector, domestic and foreign investors, donors, civil society organizations and Tirana residents.
During the event, the Mayor of Tirana introduced the vision of the municipality for the next decade through the presentation of 112 tangible projects across five priority areas Mobility, Society, Living, Economy and Rural Life. In support of the new vision, the projects aim to transform Tirana from a city that struggles every day to provide basic services to its citizens into a friendly and easily accessible city for the citizens or tourists alike.
The Prime Minister of Albania, Mr Edi Rama, the Head of EU Delegation to Albania Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, the World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe, Mrs Ellen Goldstein, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Mr. Brian Williams greeted the Conference.
Mayor Veliaj emphasised that the aim of 112 projects is to build a city for all ages. "Beyond our ambitions, the 112 projects are also a call for assistance, and partnership” - highlighted the Mayor.
During the Conference Public private partnerships were considered to be key in addressing issues related to mobility, education and public spaces. In addition, innovative financing mechanisms such as crowdfunding, municipal bonds and transferable development bonds were discussed in an expert panel as means to funding selected projects. Beyond financing mechanisms, the conference emphasized that citizen engagement and open data represent effective ways to tap into the vast human resources that Tirana possesses.
The recent Administrative Territorial Reform in Albania, which increased the size of the Municipality of Tirana by 25 fold, calls for added attention to rural development. As such many of the projects presented, address issues such as produce collection points and agricultural development.
Emphasis was also placed on the sensitive issue of decent Roma housing. As such, the Mayor called for partner support towards achieving tangible results for these communities. Arts, Culture and Youth were also among topics discussed.
Key speakers discussed solutions which are cost-effective, reduce the use of limited or exhaustible resources and involve all the stakeholders in the development of society.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Mr Brian Williams said: “The UN works in developing cities around the world to identify sustainable solutions to urban challenges. We work to make cities child friendly and safe, especially for women.” Highlighting UN’s areas of expertise such as energy efficiency, effective local governance, social inclusion, and climate and disaster risk resilience, Mr. Williams pointed at how all these interventions can put cities on the right path to a sustainable future. He further pointed at the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals, where a specific SD Goal has been dedicated to cities – Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Mr. Williams concluded by thanking the Mayor of Tirana for his vision and energy, and invited development partners to take a look at the project ideas brought forth by the Municipality and identify ways to bring them to fruition.
The Tirana Smart City Conference 2016 – 2026 was organized by the Municipality of Tirana with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.