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ISSUE No. 61, Monthly Newsletter - Summer 2012 A Joint Effort of the Department of Strategy and Donor Coordination and the Donor Technical Secretariat

P   hoto: Chair of UNDG Helen Clark, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Minister of Innovation and ICT, Genc Pollo, at the opening session of DaO5 Conference, Tirana, Albania

Stakeholders around the globe discuss United Nations reform


he Government of Albania, United Nations representatives, experts, multilateral and bilateral cooperation authorities from more than 40 countries across the world were present at the 5th High Level Intergovernmental Conference on Delivering as One, held in Tirana from 27 to 29 June 2012. Over 200 participants discussed the lessons learned throughout the implementation of the UN reform process in several parts of the world, its impact at country level, regional and UN system-wide level, and the future of this initiative. In 2007, the Government of Albania, along with the governments of seven other countries – Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Viet Nam, volunteered to pilot the “Delivering as One” initiative to respond to the challenges of a changing world and

test how the UN family can provide development assistance in a more coordinated manner. Since then, this initiative has been voluntarily adopted by 21 other countries and a growing number of countries are asking to be included in the reforming process. Present at the opening session on the first day, Prime Minister Sali Berisha noted that the Government is fully engaged and committed with great devotion to match the Millennium Development Goals with the integration objectives. “I assure you that my Government remains committed to further consolidate the One UN approach”, said Berisha. A video message from the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon was aired. In his video message the Secretary General amongst others underlined: “The UN can foster progress that cuts across differ-

ent areas, from human rights to economy, from social justice to the environment. I applaud the Delivering as One countries for their vision, leadership and determination. Now that the pilot phase is coming to an end, we have to carry the reform to the next level. That will require all the leadership and determined action. I count on all of you to be part of this important drive for progress. Where we Deliver as One we can deliver better for all.” The Chair of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), Helen Clark, was present during the three days of the event. At the opening session she highlighted:”Indeed, in the context of multi-dimensional challenges the world is currently facing, fragmented approaches and solutions are simply no longer acceptable...One of the Evaluation’s most significant findings is that through the Deliver-

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Stakeholders around the globe discuss United Nations reform Conference on Regional Development Albania towards UN Conference on Sustainable Development, RIO+20 UNODC Executive Director pays first visit to Albania Drug awareness program World Bank supports modernization of social assistance Italy supports equipment of polyclinics of Tirana, Korça, Gjirokaster and Peshkopia Ministry of Health launches the 2012 – 2016 National Strategy for Contraceptive Security Italy launches project Social enterprise: instrument of self-administration for the Albanian population – phase I Swiss Cooperation Ensures Further Close Collaboration to Minister of Health National Geographic promote Albania and the Western Balkans Region New Multicultural Centre and Tourist Information Office in Përmet Solar water heating and photovoltaic systems installed in the remote village of Theth as a sustainable model for fighting poverty OSCE/ODIHR highlights importance of women’s leadership in political parties UN Women launches manual on Community Based Scorecards Donors presented with concrete results to advance gender equality in the Albanian State Police Conference co-organized by OSCE Presence highlights need for parliamentary ethics in Albania New Waste Management Solutions for Regional and Local Government EU and UNDP expand their support for the Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania Activities on International Children’s Day A field visit in Elbasan: An insight into a local child protection mechanism Fair of Ideas organized to empower civil society in rural and remote areas USAID-supported organization to strengthen justice sector in Albania A better protection system for witnesses in Albania USAID Supports Law School for Journalists USAID Supports Continuing Legal Education Program in Albania Sida International Training Programme OSCE Presence in Albania donates computers, trains staff of Justice Ministry’s prison service EU funds bring the Bank of Albania closer to the National Banks of EU Member States Coaching for Employment creates New Opportunities for Disadvantaged Groups Launching of Nutrition Communication Activities Partnering with local governments and communities to establish baby friendly communities Success Story: Albanian organic products closer to niche EU market

 Photo: UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, Head of Division for UN, Simon Koppers, Chair of the UNDG, Helen Clark and Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, Edmond Haxhinasto at the closing session of Delivering as One Tirana Conference.

ing as One approach the UN development system has been better positioned to apply the kind of integrated policy solutions and responses needed to address the multi-dimensional and interlinked challenges of our time”. In his opening speech the Albanian Minister of Innovation and ICT, Genc Pollo said: “The Albanian Government appreciates especially the new vision that the One UN initiative has brought the coherence and cooperation among UN agencies and national and international partners, thus guaranteeing full leadership of the government in the implementation of this initiative.” Throughout the conference, government representatives from more than 40 countries, representatives from donor governments and senior UN officials expressed their strong commitment to take Delivering as One beyond the current stage and to bring about a more coherent, efficient and effective UN development system. The final Outcome Document approved by all participants at the closing session of the fifth high level conference on Delivering as One in Tirana amongst others states: “We reaffirm that Delivering as One (DaO) constitutes an important and unique reform initiative for achieving a more coherent, efficient and effective UN, as the most legitimate, universal and representative forum to address the global development agenda. Through sharing best practices and lessons learned, we have highlighted the benefits of the DaO process, have identified the challeng-

es encountered in its implementation and have built a process upon the experience gained, aiming at the same time to mobilize wide-spread support to those efforts in helping to reinforce delivering of better development results at country level.” Pilot countries and self-starters have also expressed their determination to strongly advocate what DaO has achieved at the country level and its further potential to deliver transformational development change and constitute a catalyst for UN reform if properly pursued and expanded. Deputy Prime Minister Edmond Haxhinasto, during his speech amongst others noted: “Today, with the outcome document that we have just adopted, we are developing a blueprint on how the operational activities of the UN could be delivered with higher efficiency in the benefit not only for a part of the member countries but for the wider membership.” The Chair of the United Nations Development Group, Helen Clark, addressed the participants at the closing ceremony highlighting the importance of the concrete recommendations adopted at the Tirana Conference while urging to resolutely mobilize support among the broad UN membership to take the ambition forward in the upcoming discussions in the General Assembly on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of UN system operational activities. For more information on Tirana Conference please visit:

Summer | 3  Conference on Regional Development brings practical lessons and presents 40 regional projects On 12 June 2012, the Conference titled: “Bringing Policy and Practice Together” highlighted the role of regions in driving development. Attending the conference was the Head of the EU Delegation, Ettore Sequi, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, Minister of Integration, Majlinda Bregu, representatives from Department for Strategy and Donor Coordination, representatives of the local and regional authority, representatives from the relevant government ministries involved in regional development, the international organizations and those of the civil society. They came together to discuss the practical and policy aspects of regional development. Discussions focused on the importance of practical change as a way by which regions can progress and prosper. Speaking to the conference, PM Berisha said that Albania has great potentials to make use in Albania regions. “Government and you are determined to deepen further the fiscal decentralization and we are prepared for a new package of fiscal decentralization that would increase all your activity”, said the prime minister. UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb TouimiBenjelloun, amongst others highlighted: “The regional communities need to take ownership and initiative of their own destiny. Empowerment of regions has to come from within. It has to come through practice.” The event was organized by the Albanian Ministry of European Integration, the Department for Strategies and Donor Coordination, and United Nations Development Programme in the framework of “The Integrated Support for Decentralization” Project, financed jointly by the European Union and UNDP. Under this project, four regions of Albania: Elbasan, Diber, Kukes and Berat have participated in strategic planning processes and regional projects development. Representatives of these regions, shared benefits and challenges faced throughout this process. The Project has also has worked at national and regional levels,

  Photo: UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Head of Delegation of the EU, Ambassador Ettore Sequi,  and Minister of Integration, Majlinda Bregu at the Regional Development conference.

promoting a national response to regional development and supporting preparations for the Strategic Coherence Framework and IPA III (Regional Development). It has also provided financial support to specific infrastructure projects in the regions concerned. Over 40 regional projects are presented to the government and donor community in Albania, with clear messages from the regions: “we can do regional development, what we need is your partnership and immediate support”.

 Albania towards United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, RIO+20 A National Consultation Workshop was organized on 14 June 2012 to launch the stocktaking report for Albania to UN Conference on Sustainable Development,

known as RIO+20. The event was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration (MEFWA) and UNDP Albania in cooperation with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The Albanian Stocktaking Report to RIO+20 presented reviews of strategic documents such as national strategies, action plans, laws and multilateral agreements, etc. and outcomes of consultations/ interviews with national stakeholders in line ministries and other central and local government institutions, civil society, international organizations operating in Albania, etc. The report provides an assessment of the level of achievement of sustainable development objectives in Albania. Moreover reflections are provided regarding Albania prospect to green economy, the main challenges of Albania related to sustainable development

 Photo: UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, Minister of Environment, Forests and Water Administration, Fatmir Mediu and Deputy Minister of Environment, Forests and Water Administration, Taulant Bino at the National Consultation Workshop organized on 14 June 2012

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   Photo: UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, during his first official visit to Albania in June 2012

such as ensuring better living conditions and addressing environmental pressures. Amongst others it is highlighted that the solution to these challenges should come without compromising growth, but rather generating sustainable economic opportunities for the business community and individuals alike. This approach constitutes in establishment of the proper regulatory framework, creation of strong incentives for markets and innovation, leveraging financial resources, and promoting entrepreneurship and greater public private partnership. UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, amongst others highlighted: “As a middle-income country, Albania faces many development challenges requiring the incorporation of social and environmental sustainability in national planning processes, ensuring effective synergies between specific sector policies and creating a unique and integrated development approach. Such development is guided by the Government`s vision and policies, which will ensure integrated development in both rural and urban areas while also supporting environmental protection.”

in Tirana. Within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015), UNODC in cooperation with the World Customs Organization is launching the Container Control Programme in the Albanian port of Durres to improve inspection of sea containers which could be used to smuggle drugs and illicit goods. Albania and Montenegro are the first countries from this region to join the CCP. “We hope that we can connect all countries along the route within the next 2 years”, said Mr. Fedotov.

 Drug Awareness Program On 21 June 2012, the US Ambassador Arvizu hosted a special ceremony to launch the ACT Now! Initiative. The ceremony was a call on Albanian leaders, civil society organizations, and citizens to become more active in addressing key issues facing Albanians today. Part of this event was the end of the awareness-raising program against use of drugs and other dangerous substances, implemented through-

  Photo: The US Ambassador Arvizu hosted a special ceremony to launch the ACT Now! Initiative

 UNODC Executive Director pays first visit to Albania On 10 and 11 June 2012, on his first official visit to Albania, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov met with the country’s top-level officials to discuss measures against organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and cooperation with UNODC. Albania is a transit country for Afghan heroin smuggled to Western Europe. Mr. Fedotov recognized the efforts that Albania had made to curb illicit trafficking and organized crime, such as the notable increase in drug seizures, arrests, and the setting up in March of a new drug dependence treatment centre

   Photo: Vehicle donated by the US Embassy in Tirana to the Albanian State Police. This vehicle will be used in awareness raising campaigns throughout schools.

Summer | 5 out 9-year obligatory education schools in Tirana. On this occasion, a thematic exhibition of art works made by sixth-grade students, beneficiary of this program was held at the National Gallery of Arts. Part of these activities was also the donation of a vehicle by the US Embassy in Tirana to the Albanian State Police. This vehicle will be used in awareness raising campaigns throughout schools. In his remarks, the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Peka, appreciated the implementation of this type of program in our country and considered it a direct display of the community policing philosophy as well as a very positive instrument in the protection of children, the family and our society from negative phenomena such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug abuse, etc. The US Ambassador Arvizu put a special emphasis on the importance of this program in raising the awareness of youth and in teaching them to say no to drugs, alcohol and smoking. He expressed his conviction that the successful experience witnessed in 40 schools around Tirana will expand throughout the country. Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Shamata considered the program an example of the cooperation between schools and police in the preparation of children to say no to drugs and the negative phenomena.

 World Bank Supports Modernization of Social Assistance in Albania

Loan Agreement for Social Assistance Modernization Project Signed Today On 6 June 2012 the Government of Albania and the World Bank signed the agreement for the loan of Social Assistance Modernization Project, totalling 38 million Euro.  The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, and the World Bank Country Manager Kseniya Lvovsky.    The objective of Social Assistance Modernization Project for Albania is to support the Government’s reform agenda to improve the equity, efficiency, and transparency of social assistance programs.  It will focus mainly on the poverty-targeted Ndihma Ekonomike (NE) program and the disability assistance. The project aims at improved equity by improving targeting,

   Photo: Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, and the World Bank by Country Manager Kseniya Lvovsky signing the agreement for the loan of Social Assistance Modernization Project on 6 June 2012 

eligibility and coverage for both Ndihma Ekonomike and Disability Assistance Programs to ensure that resources are channeled to the most needy people. The current system of social assistance needs to be modernized and automated in order to improve the efficiency of both programs. This would help the current benefits administration to strengthen detection and remedying of fraud and errors and would allow the Government to make timely and informed policy changes. The project activities consist of two interrelated components:  (i)Strengthening the Implementation and Performance of Social Assistance Programs; and (ii)Technical Assistance to Strengthen Implementation Capacity for Social Assistance Programs. It would also support improvements in transparency which cuts across the key reform areas through proactive communications, modernized information systems, and increased clarity on “rules, roles and controls.”“The Social Assistance Modernization Project would contribute to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability through more effective social assistance services and to

help Albania mitigate the impacts of the continued eurozone crisis” said  Kseniya Lvovsky, Country Manager for the World Bank Office in Albania.  The project support would be provided according to a results-based financing approach which implies the partnership and engagement between the World Bank and the Government of Albania for co-financing of major social assistance program and disbursing against measured improvements in implementation.

 Signature of Memorandum of Understanding for equipment of polyclinics of Tirana, Korça, Gjirokaster and Peshkopia On 12 June 2012, the Health Minister of Albania, Petrit Vasili, the Ambassador of Italy in Albania, Massimo Gaiani, and the Italian Regional Authority of Molise, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the equipment of 2 polyclinics in Tiranë and 3 others in Korçë, Gjirokaster and Peshkopi with medical devices. The

    Photo: Health Minister of Albania, Petrit Vasili, and the Ambassador of Italy, Massimo Gaiani signing a Memorandum of Understanding on 12 June 2012

Summer | 6 signature paves the way to the launch of tenders to procure equipments for the subject polyclinics, providing the needed technical assistance, including for supervision and testing. The technical assistance will be delivered by the Italian Regional Authority of Molise, which builds on a solid experience of international health cooperation. All Parties expressed appreciation for what is considered to be a further tangible Italian contribution to the improvement of national healthcare services, in terms of access, quality and efficiency, for the benefit of a wide range of users. The Memorandum marks an additional step forward for the long-lasting ItalianAlbanian cooperation and falls within the broader programme “The reconstruction and furnishing of 5 health clinic (Tirana 2, Tirana 3, Korca, Gjirokaster, Peshkopi), funded by the Italian Cooperation with a soft loan of 5 million Euro.

 Launching of project of NGO COL’OR “Social enterprise: instrument of selfadministration for the Albanian population – phase I” On 20 June 2012, the Italian NGO COL’OR launched the new project “Social enterprise – development for the Albanian population – Phase I” with the participation of the Ambassador of Italy, Massimo Gaiani, and of the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Spiro Ksera. The project, co-funded by the Italian Development Cooperation, offers a two-

   Photo: Ambassador of Italy, Massimo Gaiani, and of the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Spiro Ksera during the launching of the project “Social enterprise – development for the Albanian population – Phase I”

fold contribution to the development of social entrepreneurship in Albania. On one side, it foresees the start-up of four social enterprises working in the mechatronic (Tirane), catering (Shkodër), floriculture (Elbasan) and laundry (Vlore) sectors. These entrepreneurial projects will provide job opportunities for long term unemployed people and women victim of violence or trafficking, identified by the local partner associations namely COL’OR Albania, Hapa të Lehtë, Tjetër Vizion, and Vatra. On the other side, the project will carry out advocacy activities, including an ad hoc working table, aimed at promoting an effective Social Enterprises legal framework facilitating the start up of new social entrepreneurial projects all over the Country. “Social enterprise: development tool for the Albanian popula-

   Photo: Launching of the 2012 – 2016 National Contraceptive Security Strategy on 24 July 2012

tion – phase I”, is therefore a combination of several initiatives. It aims at creating better life condition and job opportunity, encouraging the endogenous local development processes, as well as supporting the access to the labour market for weak categories. In the opening session, participating Authorities underlined how these alternative forms of entrepreneurship can be significant for the development of the private sector and for the social inclusion, bringing positive spillover for the entire national economy.

 Ministry of Health launches the 2012 – 2016 National Strategy for Contraceptive Security On 24 July 2012, the Ministry of Health launched the 2012 – 2016 National Contraceptive Security Strategy, a result of joint efforts by Albanian and international experts with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Albania. This event was attended by Regional Directors of Public Health, specialists of the Institute of Public Health and officials of the Ministry of Health. The Minister of Health, Dr. Vangjel Tavo and the UN Resident Coordinator and UNFPA Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun welcomed the strategy and recognized in their respective speeches the progress done in the area of family planning in Albania over the past 10 years. They also emphasised that there is

Summer | 7 room for growth in increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate and in enhancing the status of reproductive health and family planning in Albania. The main purpose of the new Albanian National Contraceptive Security Strategy is to ensure that men and women in Albania can choose, obtain and use modern methods of contraception and high quality family planning services. The strategy aims to increase the demand and access to quality reproductive health and family planning services – through increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate, to reduce the number of abortions and to improve maternal and child health in Albania. The Reproductive Health Strategy developed for the period 2009 – 2015 prioritises family planning and provides a framework also for contraceptive security and it sets the strategic goal to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate by 30% more than the 2008 levels (11%) by 2015. The United Nations through the 2012 – 2016 Programme of Cooperation is committed to provide continuous support to the Albanian Ministry of Health in strengthening Reproductive Health and Family Planning services.

 National Geographic promote Albania and the Western Balkans Region Thanks to the support of USAID, Albania is one of six countries featured in the Western Balkans Geotourism Mapguide – Land of Discovery, an interactive web-

portal hosted by the National Geographic and available on . The portal, publicly launched on 18-22 June 2012 at the headquarters of the National Geographic in Washington D.C., presents the traditions, heritage, culture and exciting geotourism opportunities in the Western Balkans. Residents, visitors, tourism organizations, and local businesses in each country nominated the featured sites for travellers in search of unique destinations and authentic experiences.  Through this partnership, USAID is helping the region benefit from the National Geographic’s considerable expertise in promoting the Western Balkans as a world-class destination, while contributing to its economic health and encouraging sustainable tourism development according to the well-known principles of geotourism stewardship. 

    Photo: Inauguration of the Multicultural Centre and the Tourists Information Office of Përmet on 9 June 2012

Rritje Albania, USAID’s Competitive Enterprise Development project, promotes sustained, broad-based economic growth in Albania by expanding trade and investment, increasing enterprise productivity, and improving Albania’s workforce. The project assists non-agricultural enterprises in becoming more competitive, increasing sales, and creating additional jobs.

 Inauguration of Multicultural Centre and Tourist Information Office in Përmet, funded by Italian Cooperation The Multicultural Centre and the Tourists Information Office of Përmet were inaugurated on June 9th at the presence of the Ambassador of Italy to Albania, Massimo Gaiani, the Mayor of Përmet, Mr. Gilberto Jaçe, and the Director of the Italian Cooperation in Tirana, Mr Andrea Senatori. The Centre was established in the framework of the project “Support to the Tourism and Environment development of the area of Përmet and of its typical products” promoted by the Italian NGO CESVI and co-funded by the Italian Cooperation with a contribution of 840.000 Euro. The District of Përmet is a rural area with impressive natural and touristic potential not fully developed, also due to the severe migration flows of the last decades. CESVI project intends to contribute to the assessment and valorization of local natural heritage and products, raising the awareness of local institutions and civil society organizations on environment related issues. Through the promotion of the tourism industry in the area of Përmet, the project aims to

Summer | 8 tackle the high unemployment rates and to enhance the human and natural resources of the District.

 Meeting Between Minister of Health and Swiss Cooperation’s Deputy Director Ensures Further Close Collaboration On 17 July 2012, Swiss Cooperation’s Deputy Country Director, Anne Savary, met with the newly-appointed Minister of Health, Vangjel Tavo, to ensure further collaboration and understanding between the two institutions. During this courtesy meeting both parties exchanged information and ideas about strengthening common working projects, in particular, the Professional Development System, which is now on its second phase. From her side, Ms. Savary, gave a summary of Swiss Cooperation’s health portfolio including programmes and projects that have been funded and implemented by this office in the last 15 years of work in Albania. She mentioned the continuing education programme and the summer school for health management and public health which currently are essential interventions of the Swiss Cooperation in the health sector. Minister Tavo ensured that all necessary measures will be taken for the purpose of establishing units at regional hospitals that will follow up and monitor the process of accrediting training programmes. At the meeting both parties also talked about creating further opportunities for collaboration in the future.

   Photo: One of the guesthouses in Theth village equiped with solar water heaters

able model for fighting poverty in low-income communities in the Northern Albania. In 2012 GEF/SGP and UNDP Solar Water Heating project have provided 11 guesthouses with Solar Water Heaters that provide hot water for showers and other domestic use. 12 guesthouses and the local infirmary have been equipped with scalable photovoltaic systems that provide electricity supply for lighting purposes. The beneficiaries have co financed the cost of installation. These interventions aim to improve the lives of people in Thethi by invigorating the local economy through establishment of sustainable eco tourism. A significant investment to turn the area in a mountainous tourism destination by promotion of guesthouse tourism is done by GIZ and GEF/SGP for several years.

In 2011, 23 guesthouses were operational and 12,000 tourists visited Theth compared to 300 in 2006. Convincing real-life examples of the “green economy” have been promoted through this activity that demonstrate in quantifiable human terms that environmentally-friendly approaches can create growth, decent jobs and reduce inequality.

 OSCE/ODIHR highlights importance of women’s leadership in political parties in Albania Enhancing gender equality within political parties was the focus of a roundtable discussion held in Tirana by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and

 Solar water heating and photovoltaic systems installed in the remote village of Theth as a sustainable model for fighting poverty On 20 July 2012, to promote the technology of solar systems, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy, with the support of UNDP Climate Change Programme, Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) and in collaboration with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and Procredit Bank inaugurated the instalment of solar water heating and photovoltaic systems in the remote village of Thethi as a sustain-

   Photo: ODIHR presented its ‘Gender Equality in Elected Office: A Six-Step Action Plan’ at a roundtable discussion in Tirana on ways of enhancing gender equality in Albania’s political parties, 18 June 2012. (OSCE/Joana Karapataqi)

Summer | 9 Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Presence in Albania on 18 June 2012. The meeting brought together more than 40 representatives of Albanian political parties, parliament, local government and women’s advocacy groups to discuss voluntary measures political parties can adopt to promote women as party decision-makers, leaders and candidates for public office. “As crucial gatekeepers of democracy, political parties have a responsibility to introduce all necessary changes for increasing women’s participation in politics,” said Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania. “Creating equal opportunities for women to be full and active participants in politics is a key parameter of a modern democratic society.” Sonja Lokar, Executive Director of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues, noted that the internal functioning of political parties directly impacts on women’s opportunities to stand as party candidates. “It is important for women members to understand party procedures for recruitment, candidate selection and the allocation of resources, in order to better plan their political careers,” Lokar said. During the discussion, ODIHR Gender Adviser Kristin van der Leest presented Gender Equality in Elected Office: A Six-Step Action Plan, a study which highlights different measures parties can adopt to promote women as decision-makers and candidates. “Political parties can introduce voluntary quotas or targets for women’s candidatures, develop gender action plans, or establish initiatives to support the campaigns of women candidates,” van der Leest said. The roundtable discussion was to be followed by a two-day intensive training seminar attended by 35 women participants. The training is designed to enhance the leadership skills of women candidates from political parties, ahead of parliamentary elections in 2013.

 UN Women launches manual on “Community Based Scorecards” Making Women’s Voices Heard On 29 June 2012, UN Women in cooperation with the Municipality of Tirana launched “The Community Based Scorecards Manual”, a “how to do CBS” based on the Albanian experience. “The main

    Photo: UN Women in cooperation with the Municipality of Tirana launched “The Community Based Scorecards Manual” on 29 June 2012

purpose of this manual is to support the institutionalization of constructive and open dialogue between the elected and the voters to strengthen the accountability of public institutions to women’s needs,” said UN Women Representative in Albania, Semia Guermas,. The launching event was attended by local government authorities, civil society organizations, beneficiaries, as well as UN Agencies and International Organizations. On behalf of the Municipality of Tirana, the Deputy Mayor Jorida Tabaku, stressed that “the Community Based Scorecards process facilitates the building of such dialogue and that is why we encourage the implementation of this methodology, as an extra contribution to our work”. For the Director of the Coalition for Enhancing the Participation of Women and Youth in Politics, Altin Hazizaj “CBS is an effective mechanism that gives voice to citizens’ needs and encourages their participation in decision-making, especially regarding under-represented groups such as women and girls”.“The Manual supports further the professional growth of civil society as it allows a more accurate reflection of the voice of the community” said the Head of Gender Alliance for Development, Mirela Arqimandriti. “In this regard, civil society is the connecting bridge between the community and the local government and CBS provides for the professional facilitation of this process”. Whereas Klotilda Ferhati, Gender Expert, Association for the Integration of Informal Zones, saw CBS as an effective tool to reach participatory democracy: “Citizens know what they want,” she stressed, “they are very clear on defining their needs. Local government structures are the ones that

should take into consideration their voice, by choosing among two needs, the one that is prioritized by the citizens themselves, when these two services cannot be carried out due to financial constraints.” The Manual is made of two parts: the first part presents the complete basic CBS methodology in accordance to the World Bank practice, while the second part treats extensively the CBS model applied in Albania. The Manual is available at the NPOs that were part of the process, at the UN Women office in Tirana, and online at the following links: In 2011, the Community Based Scorecards was introduced for the first time in Albania in 7 regions of the country, with the support of UN Women and UNDP. Fourteen civil society associations used CBS as a means to enhance the dialogue on gender equality issues and to mobilize communities to assess and score the services provided by local governments, in accordance with national and international legal obligations for gender equality. The results of the Community Based Scorecards process were published in the media, while during the local elections in 2011, the implementing organizations lobbied with political parties and their candidates, in an effort to include the identified needs and priorities in the electoral platforms. Community Based Scorecards (CBS) also known as “the voice of the community” provide citizens the opportunity to share their opinion with the local authorities on the availability, quality, sustainability and efficiency of public services (health, education, public transport, water supply, waste management and shelters).

Summer | 10  Donors presented with concrete results to advance gender equality in Albanian State Police Representatives from the governments of Norway, Finland, Belgium, Australia and Sweden visited the Academy of Police on the last day of the “Delivering as One UN” conference that was held in Tirana from 27-29 June 2012. The aim of the visit was to show some tangible and vivid cases of changes brought to women’s lives that were made possible by the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality (2008-2011). During the visit, the General Director of the State Police, Hysen Burgaj exposed the situation since the launching of the “Only-Women” recruitment campaign at the Academy of the Police. He highlighted that a number record of 1650 applications was registered for the academic year 20122013 while for the first time, out of 200 students, half are female. The Vice Director of the State Police is a woman as well. The objective is that by the end of 2013, the number of women at State Police reaches 30% from 9.6 percent actually. Another component of the Diversity and Gender Equality Action Plan implemented by the State Police is strengthening capacities on domestic violence (DV). With the help of UN, a number of 800 officers have been trained on DV, while some pilot programs have been established in cooperation with other institutions and communities for a coordinated response to this negative phenomenon. “The role of women and girls is indispensable in the police force” said Burgaj, who assured the guests that the policies for achieving gender quality in the police structures will continue. Finally, some students and police officers shared their experiences in the police force. It is important to note that in the framework of the 2012-2016 GoA and UN Programme of Cooperation UN agencies will continue supporting the Albanian State Police to (i) ensure measures are taken to increase retention rate for women (ii) enhance leadership skills for women in decision-making levels (iii) adopt a policy on safe working environment (iv) strengthen the police academy curriculum on GEL and nondiscrimination (v) increase the capacities of the police forces in responding to DV; and (vi) start awareness and knowledge

   Photo: Representatives from the governments of Norway, Finland, Belgium, Australia and Sweden presented with concrete results to advance gender equality in the Albanian State Police

on the UN SCR1325 on Women, Peace and Security, among others.

 Conference co-organized by OSCE Presence highlights need for parliamentary ethics in Albania Standards and regulations to ensure parliamentary ethics, as well as their implications for the wider legislative, anticorruption and integrity framework, are the focus of a two-day conference that started on 16 July 2012 in Tirana. The event was organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Albanian Assembly, with support by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and funds from Germany. The conference aimed to facilitate a discussion about parliamentary ethical standards and codes, a fundamental issue at the core of Albania’s reform efforts and of the OSCE Presence’s mandate to promote democratization and consolidation

of democratic institutions in the country. Participants in the conference included Members of Parliament, parliamentary staff, experts in the field of ethics, and representatives from other state institutions and the international community. Addressing the participants, the Head of the OSCE Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, said: “Albanian citizens rightly expect that their elected representatives abide by high ethical standards when acting in the public interest. Politics is also about moral integrity.” “The hard work and dedication shown by the Albanian Assembly’s leadership from all political sides has contributed to progress in revising rules and procedures. It must now lead to the next step: the development of standards of parliamentary ethics and codes. I would thus like to encourage Members of Parliament to begin discussions towards a Code of Parliamentary Ethics,” he added. Assembly Speaker Jozefina Topalli and German Ambassador Carola Müller-Holtkemper also addressed the event.

KorrikSummer - Gusht | 11  New Waste Management Solutions for Regional and Local Government Presented at National Conference Introduction of modern and effective waste management solutions was the topic of a conference organised on 3 July 2012 under the care of the Swiss Cooperation Office and the Ministry of Interior. Representatives from central government, regional and local governments, public and private institutions, and international donors were present at the event where examples of successful and effective waste management practices from the regions were shared and discussed. “Waste management is a key aspect that calls for more action and initiative from elected authorities at regional and local levels”, said the Swiss Ambassador, Yvana Enzler. She emphasized that the Swiss program for decentralization in Albania is in full harmony with the Government’s priorities as set out in strategies and plans, including the issue of waste management. “Local government units must be able to administer their territories themselves”, said Deputy Minister of Interior, Ferdinand Poni. “This requires commitment from both citizens and the authorities”. Thematic sessions during this conference were led by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, and focused on planning and implementing waste management at local level (municipalities and communes), as well as on the organisation of waste collection and transport at regional level (Qarks and Prefectures). Cost reduction was a particularly interesting topic for partic-

      Photo: Conference discussing new Waste Management Solutions for Regional and Local Government, held on 3 July 2012

ipants with examples presented by Swiss and Albanian experts. During the event, a new publication on “Manual on Waste Management Planning” was presented, which is expected to help local and regional authorities in carrying out practical steps towards improving waste management and territorial cleaning. In addition, several examples from within Albania and other countries were discussed as models that can be used by local and regional government elsewhere in the country.

 EU and UNDP expand their support for the Roma and Egyptian Communities in Albania On July 2012, the European Union Delegation in Albania, the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities launched in Korca, a Joint Project which will support the Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyp-

       Photo: The artisan fair organized in the Korça traditional market.

tian Communities of Albania (SSIREC). The event hosted by Municipality of Korça , was attended by representatives of regional and local authorities, in particular from the three project regions, representatives of line ministries, international donors, NGOs involved in social inclusion, business associations, academia and the media. The new project aims at contributing towards social, economic and political empowerment of Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania. Implemented in the regions of Berat, Korça and Vlora over the course of two years, the project main components include infrastructure development, capacity building for civil society organizations and entrepreneurial support. SSIREC project will also assist the MoLSAEO`s Technical Secretariat for Roma to strengthen its capacities for implementing and monitoring social inclusion policies. Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Filloreta Kodra, highlighted: “This project will help to improve the life of Roma and Egyptian communities and will also assist in expanding and consolidating the monitoring system of the Action Plan for the Roma Decade”. UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, amongst others highlighted: ”We should work with a multi-dimensional approach to address issues related to social exclusion. This project will enable the implementation of national policies and strategies for the benefit of Roma and Egyptian communities. In this regard, the cooperation between local and central authorities is of essential”. Mr. Francois Begeot, Head of Economic Reform and Infrastructure department, EU Delegation in Albania, during his re-

Summer | 12 marks at the launching ceremony noted: ”The European Union attaches particular importance to human rights protection, including protection of minorities and anti-discrimination, which represent one of the 12 key priorities of the European Commission`s opinion on Albania`s application for EU membership”. An intercultural artisan fair was organized to mark the beginning of the project. Roma and Egyptian artisans from the Korça region displayed their crafts at the city`s traditional market place. The products prepared by the Roma/Egyptian women and men artisans included a variety of craft pieces, made of diverse materials such as pottery, paper, wood, glass, metal, and cotton. In a separate corner of the fair, some artisans were crafting their works and training other young talented Roma in craft-making. Young Roma/ Egyptian activists were also present at the fair with a variety of presentations and artistic performances, under the Roma traditional rhythms thus bringing “the flavour of Roma” throughout the market place of Korça. The project has a total budget of around 1.7 million Euro, with the contribution of the EU, UNDP and the Government of Albania.

 International Children’s Day on 1 June 2012 On 1 June 2012 – the International Children’s Day - the State Agency for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SAPRC) supported by UNICEF organized the national conference “Children’s rights – a key priority towards EU integration”. Participants from central and local government institutions, non-government organizations as well as donor agencies participated. “The Government has adopted a new Strategy and Action Plan for children. A wider reform of social services is being discussed and underway. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will review the Albania report on the implementation of Children’s Convention in a few weeks, and make its recommendations, hopefully after more progress has been reported. However, there is room for improvement until all children can enjoy their rights as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Albania has taken the presidency of the Council of Europe,

      Photo: Representatives from the Austrian Development Agency, UNICEF, Swiss Development Cooperation, EU Delegation in Albania and MoLSAEO, joined the Delegate of Terre des hommes in Albania for a project field visit in Elbasan

and declared the human rights of children as one of its priorities. The eyes of the world will be on Albania to see how such noble goals are turned into reality. But the window is short - until the end of the year - and it requires extra effort, speed and determination. If we keep the energies focused, at central and at local level I am confident that much significant and tangible progress can be made” said Detlef Palm, UNICEF Representative, in his address.

 A Field Visit in Elbasan: An insight into a local child protection mechanism Representatives from the Austrian Development Agency, UNICEF, the Swiss Development Cooperation, Heks, the State Agency for Child Rights and Protection at MoLSAEO, and the EU Delegation in Albania, joined the Delegate of Terre des hommes (Tdh) in Albania for a project field visit in Elbasan, to gain deeper insight into the functioning of a local mechanism for the protection of children. This field visit, in one of the regions where Tdh is implementing its “Developing a Child Protection Safety Net” project, was a unique opportunity for participants. They were able to further learn of the role and action of the Child Protection Unit and its Worker. They heard and discussed on some of the daily challenges faced by this Unit and its key collaborating actors -like the multi-disciplinary group for man-

aging cases- in identifying, supporting and responding to cases of children at risk or victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and trafficking. Participants also joined the CPU Worker in a family visit in Beqir Dardha neighbourhood, where they met with local beneficiaries of child protective services, in particular vulnerable children and Roma communities, and were able to examine local needs and difficulties faced by these families, in relation also with the reform of social services in Albania. At last, they exchanged ideas with local service providers offering direct services with an aim to reinforce the protection of human rights notable for children and Roma populations. In particular during this field visit, participants learned from Ms. Nadire Kreka on the process of case management of identified cases of children in need or at risk of abuse, violence, exploitation or neglect. The Child Protection Unit in Elbasan was established in October 2006 within the framework of its TACT III project. At operational level, the Child Protection Unit has been able to identify and follow-up 214 children mainly with social problems, victims of abuse, exploitation, neglect and trafficking, and out of these 214 identified case, the CPU Worker has referred 167 of them to benefit from services provided by other local actors such as legal support, school integration, kindergarten integration, daily centre, vocational training, orphanage registration, etc. The Unit has also conducted 407 fam-

Summer | 13 ily visits for social counselling and followup aiming to assess the situation of children in need and their families and has provided support with various types of assistance to 57 families and 100 children. At advocacy level, the Child Protection Unit of Elbasan has actively contributed to present the voice of children in the Social Area Plan aiming to establish integrated child friendly services for them; has ensured the payment of the kindergarten fee for 15 children from the municipal budget for the year 2011-2012; and has been able to help re-establish in close collaboration with the Regional Directorate of Education and A2B NGO, the Second Chance Program, an educational program providing support to students with an aim to improve their school performance and education.

 Fair of Ideas organized to empower civil society in rural and remote areas On 13 July 2012, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from rural and remote areas from the regions of Lezha, Elbasan, Berat and Gjirokastra presented their ideas and initiatives empowering civil society in rural and remote areas at the Fair of Ideas “Good Governance and active citizenry”. The event was organized under ECSRA Project (Empowering Civil Society in Rural & Remote Areas) that is implemented by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) with the support of UNDP Albania. The Fair of Ideas aims to encourage concrete initiatives that will be jointly implemented under ECSRA

   Photo: Minister of Justice, Eduard Halimi and Andrew Maybrook from the USAID/Albania delivered the opening addresses at the first meeting of licensed mediators.

Project with local CSOs in the target regions. It also strives to present to a broader audience – Albanian CSOs, state actors, donor community, media and private sector representatives etc. – an inclusive approach and possible practice that would be taken further by civic and other actors to address “fragmentarisation” of Albanian civil society’s inputs and thematic / geographical coverage. During her speech UNDP Country Director, Yesim Oruc highlighted: “Experience from other countries suggests that local partnerships between civil society and authorities for local decision making and service delivery, must start as early as possible to prepare for EU accession. ECSRA initiative has naturally followed the impact of another successful project carried out by IDM with UNDP

      Photo: Civil Society Organizations from rural and remote areas of the country presenting their initiatives at the Fair of Ideas

support two years ago –the Civil Society Index (CSI) for Albania – offering in addition a wide body of knowledge and relevant evidence for civil society stakeholders. The missing civic contribution to the improvement of communities’ lives in Albania’s peripheral areas was identified by CSI as a major challenge that needs to be addressed jointly by civil society, state actors and the donors’ community.

 USAID-Supported Organization to Strengthen Justice Sector in Albania The first meeting of the licensed mediators in Albania, organized on 19 June 2012 by USAID in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, marked the beginning of a concerted effort to establish the National Chamber of Mediators in Albania. At the event Albania’s Minister of Justice, Eduard Halimi, recognized the role mediation is now playing to reduce lengthy and costly court proceedings and reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to support the expansion of mediation and the further development of this profession in Albania. Based on the law, the Mediators’ Licensing Commission has provided to date 51 mediation licenses, 50 for physical persons and one for a juridical person in the framework of which 21 mediators are approved to work. These licensed mediators come from Tirana, Durrësi, Kavaja, Kruja, Elbasani, Vlora, Korça, Bilishti, Përmeti, Gjirokastra, Kopliku and Shkodra.

Summer | 14 USAID, through the Albanian Justice Sector Strengthening Project (JuST), has supported family and commercial mediation services through expanding the court-connected Mediation Centre at the Durrës District Court and establishing another such centre at the Korça District Court. It has also conducted training of mediators and public outreach efforts to increase awareness about mediation and its advantages.

 A better protection system for witnesses in Albania On 18 June 2012, a conference was held to take stock of the achievements in framework of the 0.55 million Euro twinning project funded by the EU to enhance the operational and logistical capacities of the Directorate of Witness and Special Persons Protection. The EU funded project provided support to the country’s Criminal Justice Sector regarding the implementation of new law on witness protection and to build long-term capacity within the Albanian State Police Directorate for Witness Protection, the Office of the General Prosecutor, the Court and the Prison Service. During the conference, the Head of the Operations at the EU Delegation to Albania, Luigi Brusa underlined that “it is part of European Standards to consider as unacceptable for the criminal justice system to fail to bring defendants to trial and obtain a judgment because witnesses have been effectively discouraged from testifying freely and truthfully”. “The efficiency of the fight against Organised Crime cannot be considered as complete if the victims and witnesses of crime cannot feel safe to collaborate with state institutions. Advancing Witness Protection is therefore paramount in advancing the Rule of Law in Albania and further increase capacities to fight organized crime”, said Brusa. The twinning with the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau as junior partner started 16 months ago. The project complemented other EU assistance on the matter still ongoing: the provision of IT communication system for Witness Protection Directorate, a project of approximately 125,000 Euros, the provision of Vehicles 266,000 Euros,

      Photo: Albanian journalists at the ceremony after receiving the certificate for the successful completion of the “Law School for Journalists” funded by the USAID (Credit: AIIS).

and an EU Regional Project for Witness Protection in the Fight against Serious Crime and Terrorism (WINPRO), which gives support to the all Western Balkans countries in this field with 4 million Euros. This EU funded twinning project and the WINPRO Regional project provided also recommendations for the future functioning and the restructuring of the Witness Protection Unit and the Witness Protection Directorate hopefully to be soon implemented by the Albanian authorities.

ducted ten training sessions between May 4 and July 6, 2012.  It included subjects related to the justice system, from the basics, such as an introduction to the justice system, the principles of the Albanian procedural law, to more specific topics such as freedom of information and the right of privacy in trials, as well as case studies. The last session was a field trip to one of the courts in Tirana, where the participants were able to attend a court session and meet with lawyers and judges.

 USAID Supports Law School for Journalists

 USAID Supports Continuing Legal Education Program in Albania

On 9 July 2012, twenty-one journalists were recognized as the graduates of the “Law School for Journalists” supported through a grant from the USAID’s Albanian Justice Sector Strengthening Project (JuST) to the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS).     Progamme participants come from Tirana, Korça, Gjirokastra, Elbasan and Shkodra, and work in local and national media, print and broadcast, such as: Top-Channel, Vizion Plus, ABC News, News24, TVSH, +2Radio, Shqip Newspaper, Standard, Shekulli Newspaper, Mapo Newspaper, Panorama Newspaper, TV Ora Gjiorokastra, Gazeta Shqiptare, ATSH Shkodra, TiranaTimes, ATSH Korça, Albanian Screen, among others.  More than one-third of the graduates of the program are women. The Law School for Journalists  con-

On 3 July 2012, legal education in Albania celebrates the successful completion of year one of the first Continuing Legal Education program (CLE) for Lawyers and Assistant Lawyers. In a ceremony organized at the National Chamber of Advocates (NCA), the Chairman Maksim Haxhia and the USAID Albania Mission representative Marc Ellingstad, recognized the lawyers and assistant lawyers that were able to take full advantage of the CLE program.   Last year, on May 12, 2011, USAID and NCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish this program as an important step in training legal professionals and bringing Albania in line with virtually all other European countries in the field of legal education.  The first year of the CLE program piloted in the

Summer | 15 regional chambers of advocates in Vlora and Durrës has included over 160 training sessions for a total of 12 credits. Classes by well-known Albanian professors have covered 12 legal subjects including civil, criminal and commercial law, ethics, legal writing and reasoning. Over 320 lawyers and assistant lawyers have attended these classes, a number which constitutes over 70% of all the lawyers and assistants registered in the Vlora and Durrës chambers.

 Meeting with Albanian participants in the International Training Programme On 08 June 2012, Patrik Svensson, Chargé d’Affaires, and Britta Olofsson, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation, at the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana hosted a meeting with the participants in the International Training Programme of 2010 and 2011. The participants from Albania had participated in a three-four phase training programmes in different areas, such as EU Local Environmental Management in Urban Areas, EU Strategies for Chemicals Management, Integrated Water Resources Management, EU Environmental Governance and Management, which were held in Sweden and in other countries. The meeting was organized to exchange views with the participants, to have their feedback, their suggestions on the training programmes they had, as to better contribute to the future Training Programmes. Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Svensson, made a short presentation of the Swedish contribution to Albania focusing mainly on the International Training Programme offered by Sweden, saying that the training the Albanian participants had, had hopefully better qualified them to contribute to institutional strengthening and to run processes of change in Albania, which are really important for Albania, especially in relation to the EU integration process. The participants were provided with Training Feedback questionnaires, the results of which showed a very high appraisal of their respective training programmes, meeting their expectations and very useful to their work. Unfortunately not all of them had managed to implement the individual or group project, which is an important part of the training programme. Some suggestions were made, including

      Photo : USAID held a recognition ceremony for the completion of the first year of the Continuing Legal Education Program for Albanian lawyers and assistant lawyers (Credit: USAID JuST)

more hands-on training, longer study visits, more lab work. They also mentioned that these training programmes have enabled a good network with their counterparts in other countries. This meeting has initiated annual meetings with the International Training Programme participants.

 OSCE Presence in Albania donates computers, trains staff of Justice Ministry’s prison service On 20 July 2012, the OSCE Presence in Albania donated today several computers to the Albanian Justice Ministry’s Internal Control Service of Prisons (ICSP) as part of an OSCE project which also includes assistance with amending internal regulations, training staff and implementing an electronic monitoring project. The donation ceremony was attended by the Head of the OSCE Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, Albanian Justice Minister Eduard Halimi and ICSP Director Denion Meidani. “Through today’s donation and staff training that will follow, the OSCE Presence seeks to make a tangible contribution to the work of the Internal Control Service of Prisons,” Wollfarth said. “We pledge to continue our close co-operation and srong partnership with the Justice Ministry and support it in its key judicial and legal reform initiatives.” Following the ceremony, Wollfarth and Halimi visited the facilities of the ICSP and discussed current and future co-oper-

ation, based on the mandate of the Presence, on judicial and legal reform. The OSCE Presence’s assistance in these fields will be delivered in close co-operation with the Justice Ministry and international partners.

 Coaching for Employment Creates New Opportunities for Disadvantaged Groups Swiss Cooperation’s AlbVET programme organised a promotional event on 12 July 2012, to celebrate the closure of its successful Coaching for Employment project and to showcase its work towards improving the employment potential for vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of Albanian society. Important guests at the event included Swiss Ambassador, Yvana Enzler, the Deputy Mayor of Elbasan, as well as representatives from the Swiss Cooperation Office, the National Employment Service, University of Elbasan, local business representatives, etc. “I remain confident that the groups of coaches who received training designed and implemented with the technical support of the University of Lucerne, will be well equipped to better serve to special need groups concerning their insertion into the labor market”, said Swiss Ambassador, Yvana Enzler during her speech. Both the coaches trained and the beneficiaries who participated in the course shared their experience and told their success stories in finding new employment. More than 80 individuals from disadvantaged groups

Summer | 16 including Roma communities were coached for a period of nearly 20 months in improving their skills for entering the labour market. The event also marked the beginning of another phase of coaching for employment which will last for 2 years and target similar disadvantaged groups.

 Launching of Nutrition Communication Activities on 18 July 2012 On 18 July 2012, as part of the Programme “Reduction of Malnutrition in Albanian Children”, the Ministry of Health launched new interventions in support of the awareness campaign for new and better ways for infant and young child feeding in Albania. The programme is implemented by the Albanian Government, jointly supported by UNICEF, WHO and FAO and funded by the Spanish Fund for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The campaign aims to improve and sustain good practices for infant and young child feeding (IYCF) within communities, supported by better counselling skills of health personnel. In addition to new TV and radio spots on breastfeeding and complementary feeding, an innovative way to encourage mothers and other caregivers to get more information on good infant and young child nutrition was the launching of the competition “10 mothers of the year”. As part of the campaign, Mrs. Roza Anagnosti, a well-known artist, made herself available as a “super grandmother” and champion and advocate for improved infant and young child feeding practices.

 Partnering with local governments and communities to establish baby friendly communities From 6 to 11 August 2012, the Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health, the Regional Public Health department in Durres, the Albanian IBFAN, all with the support of the UNICEF Tirana, celebrated the annual Breastfeeding Week with the theme “Understanding the past, planning the future – Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Global Strategy of Infant and Young Child Feeding”. Notable

      Photo: Launching of Nutrition Communication Activities on 18 July 2012

achievements have been made in Albania. The rates of exclusive breastfeeding have increased from 6 per cent in 1999, to 39 per cent in 2009. However, challenges remain regarding the implementation and monitoring of the law on marketing of breast milk substitutes, increasing the number of maternity hospitals that implement the necessary steps to successful breastfeeding as part of their service standards, and further increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates. The activities in Durres focused on: Establishing a supportive environment for breastfeeding in health facilities; Encouraging communities to establish mother-tomother support groups for counsellingon breastfeeding; Ensuring engagement of

the local government in expansion of the Baby Friendly Initiative from the health facilities to the community – establishment of Baby Friendly Communities Increased community participation, especially through the mother-to-mother support groups and involvement of local authorities is considered important to change the political and social norms that will create more friendly communities to infants, ensuring optimal growth and development. At the end of week-ling activities, three communities were certified as Baby Friendly and agreements were signed between local governments, regional Public Health Department in Durres and UNICEF to further support improved infant and young childnutrition.

Summer | 17

Success Story Albanian organic products closer to niche EU market

      ‘Tomadhea’ employees collecting Monarda plants at harvest time

“The support we got from the Swiss Cooperation’s project was decisive for our business. It enabled us to develop our workforce, technology and marketing.” Agim Pudja

The Swiss Cooperation Office supports Albania in its efforts towards European integration by contributing to the improvement of governance and rule of law and to the competitiveness of economy. Strengthening rural economy has been an important contribution that has aimed at increasing employment, improving living conditions and introducing organic agriculture.

EU funds bring the Bank of Albania closer to the National Banks of EU Member States The 1 million Euro twinning between the Bank of Albania, and the national banks of Italy and France was completed on 17 July 2012. Over the past 20 months, the twinning has improved the working practices of the Bank of Albania in line with the practices of the European System of Central Banks. Concretely, ex-

Although Albania has a rich variety of wild plants, medicinal herbs and forest products due to the many mountains and hills, their use has been limited for commercial purposes. That is, only until recently, because companies such as ‘Tomadhea’ have succeeded in generating income and employment from production and trading of such products. Agim Pudja, the company’s owner, started this business in 1998 after noticing the value and potential of various plants and herbs he came to contact with during his work as agronomist. The company had 7 full-time employees and nearly 76 seasonal workers in 2011, most of them women living in poor remote areas of the country. In 2005 it was one of very first Albanian companies to be certified by Bio Suisse, the federation of Swiss organic farmers. In addition to collecting plants and herbs that grow naturally ‘Tomadhea’ started also the cultivation of several other products. One of the most interesting was Monarda, a highly valuable plant used in cosmetics and food industries. Previously other bigger exporters had tried to produce and market this plant but had failed. The odds seemed against Agim Pudja as Monarda poses unique technical cultivation and production difficulties while a market and buyers still had to be found. He did not back off: he was aware of the high potential this plant has due to its niche market. “I had no doubt in my mind that we would succeed”, states Agim looking back at that time. Starting in 2007, an initial surface area of 0.1 ha was cultivated as a pilot phase. He went to Switzerland to look at equipment and technology and realized that the key to success was to produce seedling locally as importing them would increase costs immensely. The breakthrough came when the Swiss Cooperation’s project on sustainable agriculture provided technical assistance and funding to ‘Tomadhea’. Out of a necessary 13,000 Euro investment, the project provided 5,700 Euro, plus procurement, capacity building and packaging assistance. This enabled the company to purchase a new drying machine, improve working conditions for women employees, expand its production, improve its packaging and become more reliable for foreign buyers. “Swiss support was a comprehensive package”, says Agim. “It included workforce training, technical know-how, packaging skills, and market exposure”. The investment also made possible expansion into other valuable organic products including Edelweiss and Sambucus. Further trust was built with foreign buyers and three new contracts were signed during the Biofach fair in 2011. As a result of increased production volumes and increased sales, the workforce benefited a 30% increase in their income levels and the number of seasonal employees grew to 100. On the marketing side, 8 additional buyers expressed interest in working with ‘Tomadhea’. There is also the ecological benefit: organically cultivated areas have increased and that is good news for the eco-system. For Agim Pudja the main future challenge lies in him being able to meet increased market demands without compromising the high quality that made him successful in the first place. He already has plans to introduce Saffron and expand wild mushroom supplies.

perts from Banca d’Italia and Banque de France have worked side by side with the Albanian counterparts, and members of staff of the Bank of Albania have received trainings to assist the country’s economic integration with the Union. During the launch ceremony, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi noted the importance of a reputation of trust and reliability of central banks for the economy. On the one hand, he said, that requires a commitment to independence and

on the other it requires “trust in the policies and actions of a central bank relies on the technical capacities of that bank, the skills of its workforce, the operational tools at its disposal”. He recalled that “Central banks try to do the best analysis they can and must be prepared to stand or fall by the quality of that analysis - that is what we have helped with through this twinning. We have enhanced the capacity of the Bank of Albania to deal with data, to analyse risks so that it may be better equipped to react effectively”.

Summer | 18

In-country Missions World Bank Programmatic Governance and Growth Development Policy Loan (PDPL), Pre-Appraisal Mission took place from 25 to 29 June 2012. The main purpose of the mission was to review the mid-year budget review. The mission will also take stock on progress in implementation of the GAC DPL policy matrix. Albania Education Excellence and Equity Project (Credit No. 4180-ALB), Implementation Support Mission, took place from 12 to 20 June 2012. The aim of the visit was to review the overall project implementation progress and bottlenecks. A focus of this review will be on the current and projected impact of the current debt ceiling in project implementation in 2012 and 2013. Our team is also planning on visiting schools throughout the country to have a sense of the Project’s impact at the school level, as well as to oversee compliance with environmental safeguards. Water Resources and Irrigation Project, Pre-appraisal Mission, took place from 13 to 29 June 2012. The proposed project aims to improve the quality of water services delivery through the rehabilitation of reservoirs and irrigation and drainage facilities (component 1); support for irrigation and drainage service provision in project areas (component 2); and strengthening of institutions responsible for Integrated Water Resources Management (component 3). The objective of the mission was to evaluate the financial, economic, institutional, technical, environmental, and social aspects of the proposed project to meet its stated objectives. The mission were focused in particular on the followings: (i) review the proposed investment sub-projects in dam and irrigation system rehabilitation; (ii) complete the economic and financial analysis and prepare detailed cost estimates; (iii) re-

view safeguard instruments including dam safety, environmental impact assessment and resettlement; (iv) finalize project implementation arrangements and finalize the magnitude and mechanism for stakeholder contributions; (v) finalize the results framework and arrangements for monitoring and evaluation; (vi) prepare the draft Operational Manual and agree on TORs for key assignments; (vii) finalize the needs for technical assistance for implementation of the project; and (viii) agree on the next steps and timeline required to complete appraisal and negotiations of the project. Albania Improved Natural Resources Management, Implementation Support Mission, took place from 11 to 15 June 2012 The overall objective of the mission is to assist the Project team and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration (MoEFWA) with the starting up the activities of the Swedish Grant on Improved Natural Resources Management Project and to monitor the completion carbon sequestration of activities, in preparation of the full periodic verification of the Assisted Natural Regeneration Project, planned for July 2012 and follow-up

on the implementation of the PROFOR Grant on Innovative Financing for Sustainable Natural Resources Management in Albania. Land Administration and Management Project (LAMP, Implementation Support Mission for Component A, Security of Tenure and Registration of Immovable Property Rights, took place from 11 to 15 June 2012. Following the previous mission in March 2012, there was concern that the activities relating to First Registration were behind schedule and that there was little chance of meeting the targets for this activity under the project. There are also ongoing activities relating to development of the information system, approving the strategy for the protection of property rights and developing a business plan for the Immovable Property Registration Office as they move towards a self-funding status. The team will be assessing the good progress of these activities, noted between the previous visit and the upcoming one, as well as the other activities being implemented under the project, to ensure that the project objectives and targets can still be realized during the remaining time frame of the project.

As of 1 January until 31 December 2012, the EU Delegation is the Chair of the Donor Technical Secretariat. All comments regarding Government-Donor Dialogue are warmly welcomed! Want to contribute? If you would like to contribute, send your text to the Donor Technical Secretariat (DTS) Office ( or the Department of Strategy and Donor Coordination (DSDC) ( by the 5th of every month. An ideal word count for submissions is around 100 words. Frequency Each edition will be sent to you on the 15th of every month. Who are the donors in Albania? To find out who are the donors operating in Albania please click here. To unsubscribe: Please send an e-mail to Nevila Çomo (

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