Tirana, October 9, 2019 – The Second ReLOaD Western Balkans Conference held in Tirana presented the experiences of cooperation between the local authorities and the civil society related to transparency of procedures and clarity for funding civil society organizations (CSOs) across the Western Balkans. Specific focus was given to legislative differences and similarities across the region as well as existing practices and experiences from the European Union.
The two-day conference was opened by Ms. Romina Kuko, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Albania, Ms. Liselotte Isaksson, Head of Sector – Civil Society and Social Inclusion, Western Balkans Regional Cooperation and Programmes, DG NEAR, European Commission and Ms. Limya Eltayeb, Resident Representative, UNDP Albania.
The conference brought together more than 120 practitioners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia for in-depth, targeted discussions on emerging issues, challenges, innovations and practices related to the transparent local funding of CSOs, enabling good practices and lessons learned.
Ms. Romina Kuko, in her opening speech, pointed out “Promoting civil dialogue and strengthening coordination between civil society organizations and Local Governments for influencing public policies in Albania is a priority for addressing citizens’ needs”
UNDP Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb said “Municipalities deal with important challenges, especially those small and rural ones that lack financial resources while the needs of citizens are emerging. On the other hand, the civil society organizations have lots of energy and enthusiasm, however they still remain weak and their capacities need to be enforced. Transparency and inclusiveness are core principles of ReLOaD and together with our partners, especially European Union Delegation and central government, we are working hard to make these principles core values in this partnership.“
Ms. Majlinda Bufi, Mayor, Municipality of Roskovec, Albania noted that ReLOaD has introduced standards of transparency and accountability in partner municipalities, especially in our relationship with civil society organisations. “We are very happy to be one of the 12 municipalities in Albania to implement this model of financing, which also helps civil society organizations to be more sustainable.”
The conference was hosted by the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD) and co-organized by UNDP in Albania. Supported and financed by the European Union it seeks to strengthen partnerships between the local governments and CSOs in the Western Balkans with a focus on transparent funding for CSOs across the region.
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