20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND PROCESSES • USAID provided the 1992-1996 Parliament with an electronic voting system, a sound system, computers, two printing presses and associated technical assistance. A USAID-sponsored 1995 workshop series led to the first public hearing of a parliamentary commission. A USAID financed grantee has focused on strengthening political organizations since 1994. • Throughout the 1990’s, USAID advisors carried out political party-building sessions in Tirana and in cities with the political parties, plus separate leadership training sessions with politically active women and their organizations and support groups. The program assisted 33 NGOs with 45 grants and provided training and technical assistance to over 600 NGO representatives on building policy analysis, formulation, implementation, and advocacy skills and establishing partnerships between government and NGOs.
BUILDING MORE EFFECTIVE, RESPONSIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS • USAID has provided support to local government since 1992, with assistance on municipal services focused on utilities management, land use planning, and infrastructure development, emphasizing the role of publicprivate partnerships. • USAID helped create the first intergovernmental working group among the city and district of Tirana, the Ministry of Construction, and the National Planning Institute, which planned development of a 70-hectare area, identifying sites and related infrastructure needs, and addressing legal/policy issues of residential upgrading. • USAID played an integral role in establishing the legal and institutional mechanisms for private sector delivery and management of municipal services, resulting in passage of the Concession Law for Public Services, Law on Privatization of the water sector, and complementary laws enabling privatization and contracting for water, wastewater, and sanitation. • USAID assistance enabled an informed dialogue about decentralization between local governments and central ministries, strengthening local governments’ ability to advocate and ensure implementation of reforms, particularly through the recently-formed Association of Albanian Mayors, and ensuring that essential authorities are incorporated in revised legislation. • In the area of urban services, USAID assisted the Ministry of Construction and three cities to privatize solid waste collection, and to develop a strategy to implement water privatization in Tirana and other cities.
SUPPORT FOR ELECTORAL PROCESS: • USAID supported large domestic elections monitoring efforts in all local and national elections during this period. In 2007, USAID led a domestic monitoring effort which recruited and trained around 3,000 monitors stationed at polling places throughout the country. • USAID funded the first-ever pre-election public opinion poll in May 2005. The poll utilized a large national sample and was the single best predictor of the election result. Poll data was also used to help parties shape their electoral platforms in advance of the elections. • USAID sponsored a historically unprecedented series of parliamentary debates throughout Albania that were televised on a national network created through USAID funding. • A media monitoring effort that used a computerized system to track bias in broadcast/print coverage during the 2007 election campaigns produced an interactive reporting system that compelled media to provide balance in covering election events and issues.
ENGAGED CITIZENS FOR BETTER GOVERNANCE
Since 2000, USAID has provided more than $16 million to assist in Albania’s decentralization efforts. To support this process, in 2008 USAID started an $8 million, four year local governance program (LGPA), to stimulate local economic growth, improve local governance, and strengthen civic and private sector engagement in local development.
• Policy and legal reform: USAID will help improve consultation among the central and local governments on laws and policy decisions that affect local finance and delivery of services. • Local management: USAID will help increase the capacity of local governments to be effective, transparent, accountable, and financially healthy. • Planning and managing urban growth: USAID will help expand the capacity of local governments to comply with a new urban planning law and to ensure orderly economic development.
• USAID helped establish Local Economic Growth Committees in ten municipalities, providing a forum for discussion and promoting more effective communication among different sectors in the municipality. • USAID provided technical assistance on local tax collection, administration, and enforcement. Computerization of the tax system in ten target municipalities brought about a more efficient and effective administration of their tax collections and services. • USAID provided guidance to target municipalities during the asset transfer process from the Central Government, and then assisted several municipalities to record and register ownership of their properties, including Gramsh, Korce, Lezha, Librazhd and Pogradec. • At the Central Government level, USAID has worked with the Ministry of Interior to develop guidance for the registration, management and use of municipal assets. • At the national level, USAID assisted the National Territorial Planning Agency to develop regulations to guide implementation of the new National Territorial Planning Law.
PROJECTS 2011 AND BEYOND
• Housing Assessment (1992) Joint World Bank -USAID Mission
• Civil Society Development (2000-2005) National Democratic Institute • Assistance to Voter Registration (Technical Elections Assistance) (2002-2005) • Political Party Building & Citizen Participation (2002-2004) with National Democratic Institute (NDI) • Political Party Building & Citizen Participation (2004-2007) with National Democratic Institute (NDI) • Parliamentary Assistance and Youth Program (2002-2005) International Republican Institute (IRI) • Conflict Management and NGO Support (2001-2004) Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) • Local Government Assistance & Decentralization (LGAD) (2000-2003) • Democracy and Governance in Albania (2004-2007) with National Democratic Institute (NDI) • Local Government and Decentralization in Albania project (LGDA) (2004-2007) • Election Administration (2002-2006) • Resource Cities Partnerships (2001-2003) • City Links Program: Tirana-Catawba Resource Cities Partnership International (2005-2007) • Hope Fellowship Program (2006-2009) with the National Albania American Council • Support for Persons with Disabilities (2004-2009) • Peace Corps Small Projects Assistance Program (2003-2011) Peace Corps • Local Governance Program in Albania (2007-2011)
• Urban Infrastructure Investment and Development Privatization Pilot Program for Water Enterprises • Public Administration (1995-2000) Urban Institute • Housing and Urban Development (1992-2001) urban water and solid waste with World Bank • Housing Sector Reform Program (1996) with World Bank • Housing and Urban Development Assistance (1998-1999) RTI International, Short-Term Investment Plans for Service Improvements in Tirana and Durres • Independent Media in Albania (Professional Media Program) (1999-2004) International Research & Exchange Board (IREX)
Sustainable Wheelchair Service for People with Disabilities in Albania (2009-2012) • Economic Empowerment of People with Disabilities (2010-2012) • Development Credit Authority (DCA) Guarantee for Municipal Lending (2008-2020) Raiffeissen Bank in Albania / National Commercial Bank of Albania
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN ECONOMIC GROWTH BUILDING A FOUNDATION FOR GROWTH
SUPPORTING THE GROWTH AND COMPETITVENESS OF PRIVATE ENTERPRISES •
• In 1995, the United States Government provided the Albanian American Enterprise Fund’s (AAEF) initial capital of $30 million to enhance the development of the Albanian private sector. Since its establishment, AAEF has invested nearly $62 million in various sectors of the Albanian economy, including the creation of the American Bank of Albania and the modernization of the Mother Teresa International Airport. In 2009, AAEF established the Albanian-American Development Foundation, with initial assets worth over $100 million, to support investments in private enterprise, leadership capacity-building, cultural tourism and ecotourism. • In 1992, USAID established Albania’s first accredited Masters of Business Administration Programs at the University of Tirana. USAID’s program provided over 100,000 university textbooks, and the first MBA class graduated in 1998. In 2001, the university partnership expanded to develop an accredited Masters in Public Administration (MPA) Program.
Between 2003-2008, USAID’s Enterprise Development and Export Market project worked with over 150 businesses in tourism; fresh and processed fruits and vegetables; meat processing; olive oil; and herbs and spices sectors. Between 2006-2008, USAID played a direct role in generating export revenues exceeding $28 million, spurred by client companies’ investments of over $12 million to improve their production capacity, sales and marketing expertise, and overall product quality. In partnership with the American Land O’ Lakes company, USAID helped improve Albania’s dairy industry. USAID supported a network of 12,000 Albanian farmers and dairy processors trained in product development, milk collection, business management, hygiene and sanitation to improve the safety and quality of Albanian milk products. In 2003, the industry adopted a “Seal of Quality” certification for its members aimed to increase the saftey and sales of domestic dairy and meat products. From 2002 to 2007, USAID’s Small Business and Credit Assistance project provided direct business financing and one-on-one advice and technical assistance to more than 4,000 businesses throughout Albania.
Developing a More ROBUST FINANCIAL SECTOR • USAID’s new Financial Sector Assistance Program will continue to strengthen Albania’s banking sector through work with the Bank of Albania and Albania’s Financial Supervisory Authority to build the capacity to better manage risk. • A USAID-supported loan guarantee for SME Lending (20052019) support lending to enterprises. USAID established a $12 million loan portfolio agreement with Raiffeisen Bank that reduces the risk to loan to businesses, supports enterprise development and growth, and facilitates market opening.
Increasing PRIVATE SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS •
AGRICULTURE RESTRUCTURING •
Between March & June 1992, USAID sent two 10,000ton shiploads of emergency fertilizer materials from the United States that was distributed to 125 private dealers. Assistance continued to build the capactity of private dealers, and by the end of 1994, private dealers had imported 36,000 mt of nitrogenous fertilizer, bearing all costs with the assistance of commercial credit from Albanian banks. These imports represented 64% of all fertilizer used in Albania in 1994. In 1993, USAID helped establish the Albanian Fertilizer and Input Dealers Association (AFADA) as a Trade Associaiton that included the major importers and dealers of agriculture inputs in Albania. USAID’s support to the development of a sustainable restructured fertilizer subsector in Albania (1992-98), established an effective institutional foundation to improve the competitiveness of Albanian agribusiness enterprises. Between 1994-1999, USAID’s SARA program supported the development of Albania’s agriculture policies based on agriculture statistics and supported the agrarian economics faculty at the Agriculture University of Tirana. The project validated the new methodology of agriculture statistics in Albania.
STRENGTHENING ALBANIA’S PRIVATE FINANCIAL SECTOR
USAID joined other donors in supporting the winding down of the pyramid schemes, with the intent of liquidating assets and distributing proceeds to depositors. Beneficiaries included foreign investors wishing to do business in Albania and all depositors, borrowers and entrepreneurs who rely on the banking system. In 2002, USAID in partnership with BKT established the loan guarantee to stimulate lending to businesses working in the agricultural and small manufacturing sector of Albania. Through USAID’s five-year, $750,000 loan guarantee program, BKT leveraged almost 184 loans disbursing a total $5.3 million to SMEs throughout Albania. These small business loans had a very low rate of default. With USAID support, “Partneri Shqiptar ne Mikrokredi (PSHM), became the first private financial non-banking institution offering financial services in northeast Albania, and to businesses that were unable to borrow from the traditional banking system. Over 10% of PSHM’s lending reached the minority Roma community. In 2008, PSHM registered as the microlending institution, Opportunity Albania. Since 1999, USAID and the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC) helped strengthen the supervisory function of the Bank of Albania, the Albanian Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA), and the capacity of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) to regulate and supervise Albania’s non-bank financial sector including insurance, pensions and securities markets.
In the textile and recycling industries, USAID provides counseling on ways to reduce costs of production or invest in new technologies or utilize marketing materials. To strengthen the use of modern information technology, USAID is supporting a Business Innovation Center that will increase the use of IT in Albanian businesses. USAID is raising awareness of Albania as a tourist destination and strengthening the marketing capacity of the tourist industry and the delivery of quality customer service.
To improve productivity of farms, USAID supports training of farmers by agronomists and extension services on disease resistant varieties of crops or the adoption of new technologies to prolong the growing season. USAID facilitates sales through trade missions/contacts with domestic, regional, and international buyers. USAID developed a multi-media market information program (Albanian: SITA) that provides timely and reliable market information to farmers, traders, policy makers and researchers on market trends, and over time will help farmers and traders make better decisions on what to grow and where to sell their products.
PROJECTS 2011 AND BEYOND
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• Albanian Agriculture Competitiveness Program (AAC) (2007-2012) • Competitive Enterprise Development Program (Rritje Albania) (2009-2014) • Albania-Hawaii Higher Education and Economic Development Program (AHEED) (20082011) • Albanian Cyber-Security Program (2011-2012) • Development Credit Assistance (DCA) for SME Lending (2005-2019) with Raiffesen Bank.
Emergency Fertilizer Import Program (April 1992-July 1992) Agriculture Development Program (1992-1998) Agro-Business and Trade Association Development (1999-2004) Support for Agriculture Restructuring in Albania (SARA) (1994-1998) Volunteeers in Overseas Assistance (VOCA) (1992-2000) Albania Private Forestry Development (APFDP) (1995-2001) Integrated Pest Management/Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM/CRSP) (1998-2002) Masters of Business Administration and Public Administration (MBA) Program (1992-2002) Albania Customs Program (1999-2002) Albanian Securities Commission and Tirana Stock Exchange (1998-2001) Banking Supervision (1999-2002) Pyramid Scheme Resolution (1999-2001) Albanian American Enterprise Fund (1995-2010) Removal Impediments to Trade Expansion (1992-1994) Treasury Program (1991-1998, resumed in 2000) COCHRAN program (1992-2011)
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Albania Livestock Service Centers (2000-2006) Dairy Land O’Lakes Dairy Marketing (2000-2005) Small Business Credit and Assistance (SBCA) (2002-2007) Enterprise Development and Export Market Services (EDEM) (2003-2008) Support for the Law on Secured Transactions (2001) Ministry of Economy Restructuring (2002) Central Bank Assistance (2001-2011) Servicing Micro-Entrepreneurs in Albania (1998-2007) with Opportunity International Albanian Center for International Trade (ACIT) (2003-2006) with the Institute for Contemporary Studies Albanian Watershed Assessment Project (AWAP) (1999-2003) Community College Program (2002-2005) with the Harry T. Fultz Foundation Junior Achievement (2001-2004) Junior Achievement Enterprise Education Program (2006-2008) Voskopoja Sustainable Development Program (2006-2007)
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN HEALTH
EMERGENCY FOOD AND MEDICAL AID
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE REFORM
USAID’s initial interventions were aimed at helping Albania overcome its economic collapse and instability, with a significant focus on humanitarian assistance in the form of food aid and medicines and other emergency responses.
• Beginning in 2004, USAID developed a comprehensive health information system that allowed primary health care facilities to collect and analyze patient data. The Clinical Service Information System was adopted by the government in 2008 and rolled out nationwide. • To improve the quality of healthcare in Albania, USAID established continuing medical education boards in five regions. Through this program, USAID trained over 1,200 general practitioners and more that 2,000 nurses since 2004. • USAID helped the Ministry of Health standardize the primary health care services in Albania’s health clinics. Since 2008, the Health Insurance Institute has integrated these services into health insurance coverage for all Albanians. • Beginning in 2005, USAID worked with the Health Insurance Institute to develop a “pay for performance” system which has improved the performance of primary health care clinics and patient care in Albania. • In 2009, USAID sponsored Albania’s first Demographic Health Survey (DHS) that collected up-to-date information on characteristics of Albanian households. This survey has been integral in identifying the needs of Albania’s changing demographics and will be an important tool for health institutions to design and allocate adequate resources for public health policies and programs.
• $93 million in food donations were provided from 1992-1995. • Between 1993-1994, USAID shipped $2.6 million of food for nutritionally at-risk mothers and children. • In the spring 1993, $2 million in medicines and medical supplies were delivered to all district hospitals.
HEALTH CARE PARTNERSHIPS
Women’s Reproductive Health • Building on USAID’s early work in family planning in the 1990’s, USAID continued to provide counseling and training to health care workers on reproductive health and family planning issues. Between 2002 and 2005, USAID trained more than 650 health care professionals in 244 service delivery sites in 20 districts. Today, more Albanian citizens have access to family planning services, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STI) care, and prenatal care and breastfeeding as a result of USAID’s programs. • In 2003, USAID provided training and equipment to introduce cervical cancer screening at the Women’s Wellness Center in Tirana, which serves as a nation-wide training facility. • In 2009, USAID’s ACCESS-FP program introduced innovative ways to improve the quality of pre- and post-partum family planning services and made possible Albania’s first national family planning protocols to standardize the delivery of family planning services. • In 2010, USAID provided medical equipment to Albania’s first national training center for obstetrics and gynecology at the Queen Geraldina Maternity Hospital in Tirana. The training center allows medical students to practice safe and effective clinical procedures for delivering babies and caring for mothers in Albania.
• Starting in 1996, USAID funded a hospital partnership with the Jacobi Hospital (Bronx, New York) and the Ministry of Health, the University Hospital Center, the Maternity Hospital and the Trauma Hospital to improve emergency medical services, women’s health care, and health administration and management, all key areas of need in Albania. As a result of this and other partnerships, in 2000 USAID helped open the Women’s Wellness Center at the Tirana Maternity Hospital. • Through USAID’s program, a partnership between New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the University of Tirana’s Medical School introduced a health management program. The program also piloted strategic planning, financial management and cost accounting, medical records and pharmaceutical group purchasing in two hospitals. • To support health education, USAID initiated a partnership between the University of Tirana and New York University to develop a graduate program in health management and policy. • Other key partnerships include the Butterworth Hospital in Michigan; the Women and Infants Hospital of Providence, Rhode Island with the Tirana University Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology; The Magee Women’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with the Health Directorate of Lezha; and the Institute of Public Health in Bucharest, Romania with the Albanian Institute of Public Health.
PROJECTS 1991-1999 • Emergency Food Aid (1991-1993) $30 million Albanian Red Cross, International Red Cross • Health Care Partnerships and Health Management Education (1993-2004) • Women’s Reproductive Health Service Expansion & Technical Support (SEATS II) (19962000) • Family Planning Logistics Management-DELIVER (1996) • Promotion of Health Markets (1994-2002)
• The program will improve how health policies are formulated and implemented in Albania. • The program will introduce a Leadership Development Program to support the roles of health sector officials and practitioners in contributing to new and existing health reforms. • The program will also work with the Ministry of Health to identify relevant studies and analyses needed to support future policy development and resource planning.
Access to primary health facilities declined dramatically in the 1990’s due to the closure of many rural health and maternity clinics. USAID’s health program in the 1990’s focused efforts on the areas of health management and administration.
EQUITABLE HEALTH REFORM
• USAID has established a National Telemedicine Center at the Mother Teresa University Hospital in Tirana, and five Regional Telemedicine Centers in Kukes, Shkoder, Durres, Korce, and Vlore. • The Office of Defense Cooperation/Tirana will reconstruct health facilities, so that USAID can expand its program and provide equipment and training at all 14 regional hospitals in Albania. • The centers will help provide better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and injuries. To date, the National Telemedicine Center has established eight partnerships for teleconsultations with US and European hospitals and institutes, including the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Virginia. • These centers will allow regional hospitals to connect virtually with the main teaching hospital in Tirana. All the centers will be able to access a global virtual network of doctors and health facilities. • All health-related academic and professional associations will use the telemedicine network for continuing education.
PROJECTS 2011 AND BEYOND
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• Enabling Equitable Health Reforms in Albania (EEHR) (2010-2015) • Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program in Albania (2009-2012)
Health Care Financing (2002) short-term consultancies Reproductive Health Survey (2002-2003) Albanian Women’s Reproductive Health (1999-2003) Maternal and Child Health Technical Assistance and Support Contract (TASC) (2002-2006) Albania Child Survival Project (2003-2008) Primary Health Care Initiative (2000-2004) Rationalization of Pharmaceuticals (2000- 2005) HIV/AIDS Sentinel Surveillance System (2002-2005) Improving Primary Health Care in Albania: Pro Shëndetit (2003-2009) Albania Family Planning Activity (2004-2007) Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza Program (2006-2009) Primary Health Care Initiative in the Vlora Region of Albania (2006-2008) ACCESS-Family Planning (2007-2010) C-Change Albania (Communication for Behavior Change) (2007-2010) Demographic Health Survey (2007-2009)
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN RULE OF LAW
DEVELOPING A LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
Between 1992-1996, USAID supported Albania’s initial consitutional drafting efforts, and other important legislation such as the Criminal and Civil Codes, and Criminal and Civil Procedure Codes. In 1998, USAID’s efforts were vital to re-draft Albania’s Consitition and garner public support for its passage through an extensive voter awareness campaign. An important early achievement was the distribution of Albanian legal codes to judges, prosecutors, and attorneys to correct the lack of access to the body of Albanian law. From 1995-97, more than 10,000 copies of civil and criminal codes were disseminated. In 1997, USAID also helped establish a law library at the Supreme Court, open to all members of the legal community.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO JUSTICE •
In the mid-1990’s, USAID worked with four legal clinics that provide free or low-cost legal advice. The first clinic, the Women’s Advocacy Center, opened in 1996 to represent victims of domestic violence. Another clinic, the Tirana Legal Advice Service, served thousands of needy clients by helping them obtain pensions and protecting their property rights. In 1998, USAID provided support to the newly created institution of the People’s Advocate (the Ombudsman) who is responsible for monitoring the government’s respect for human rights, and compliance with human rights legislation. In the late 1990’s, USAID supported the creation of Albania’s National Day of Justice to raise awareness on the part of Albania’s citizens about their legal rights.
SUPPORTING CITIZEN EFFORTS TO FIGHT CORRUPTION •
CONTRIBUTING TO JUDICIAL REFORM • • •
In 1996, USAID helped create the Albanian Magistrate’s School (AMS). USAID and other donors trained teachers and provided the necessary equipment to make the AMS functional in 1997. Since 1999, USAID has helped the AMS to train Albania’s sitting judges on a variety of commercial law topics, including on commercial transactions, basic accounting, international private law, and intellectual property. Over 140 judges were trained in these programs. USAID has also supported the judiciary’s independent governing bodies. The National Judicial Conference (NJC), held its first meeting in December 1999. USAID support helped to organize NJC committees, including those on legislature, ethics, and court budgets. With USAID support, the independent court budget law was enacted in 1999 which provided the judiciary with the authority to control its own resources.
In 2004-2007, USAID supported the Ombudsman and provided training to officials, civic watchdogs, and the media on the Freedom of Information law. In 2004, USAID drafted the Law on the Conflict of Interest. In the first year after the passage of the law in 2005, more than 135 conflict of interest cases were resolved. The High Inspectorate for the Declaration and Audit of Assets (HIDAA) was created in 2003 with USAID support. USAID’s assistance to HIDAA resulted in the strengthening of that institution’s role as enforcer of the asset disclosure and conflict of interest laws. In 2007, USAID began a three-year program that introduced accountability measures in 10 pilot courts in order to help courts meet standards for good judicial practice. Such measures included publication of court decisions, audio records of court hearings, computerized case management. USAID, in cooperation with OSCE, also supported the opening of Public Information Offices in the Gjirokastra and Tirana Appellate Courts and the Mat District Court.
In 2001, USAID helped establish an almost 300 member Albanian Coalition Against Corruption (ACAC) to mobilize civil opposition to corrupt practices. The Citizen’s Advocacy Office (CAO) was created in 2001 with support of USAID as an office to provide free legal services to citizens otherwise without access to legal assistance. CAO became one of the leading voices in public debates regarding governance, justice, transparency, and corruption. In 2006, CAO was designated as Albania’s chapter of Transparency International. USAID funded six Corruption in Albania Surveys (2004-2010) which served as focal points for policy debates and a civic monitoring effort on government performance, and further strengthened Albania’s domestic survey research capacity. In order to provide the public with information about the Albanian legal system and encourage the discussion about the problems facing the judicial system, USAID supported a number of media programs since 2003. Among them USAID has supported a“60 Minutes” style TV program (“Hapur”) that has carried out more than 200 investigations since 2002 denouncing corruption and abuse of public office at the local and national level, Heroes (2002-2004), and Justice Matters (2008) programs. USAID also trained hundreds of journalists through an investigative journalism training programs.
MODERNIZING ALBANIA’S COURT SYSTEM •
USAID will provide direct support to all Albanian courts to take advantage of digital audio recording technology for producing and making available verbatim records of legal proceedings. USAID will offer assistance to improve case management practices and promote greater use of public courtrooms. USAID will introduce and expand the use of mediation for resolving commercial and family law disputes in three pilot courts.
STRENGTHENING THE CIVIL SOCIETY’S WATCHDOG ROLE •
USAID will work to strengthen the capacity of civil society and judicial organizations to monitor and advocate for justice system reform, anti-corruption, and good governance in Albania through specialized training and a grants program.
USAID will provide technical assistance to promote investigative reporting by Albanian journalists.
USAID will establish a clinical legal education program at the University of Tirana Law Faculty.
SUPPORT FOR LEGAL EDUCATION
USAID will implement Albania’s first continuing legal education program for lawyers in two pilot regional Chambers of Advocates in Durres and Vlora, in cooperation with the Albanian National Chamber of Advocates.
USAID will support the publication of a Bar Journal for the Albanian legal profession.
USAID will establish a clinical legal education program at the University of Tirana Law Faculty.
PROJECTS 2011 AND BEYOND
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• Corruption Reduction in Albania (2000-2004) • NGO Legal Reform for Central and Eastern Europe (2001-2004) International Center for Non-Profit Law • Criminal Law Training (2001) • Strengthening the Rule of Law (2000-2005) • Judicial Reform (2001-2002) • Albania Pilot Court Administration Reform Project (2003-2005) • Albania Rule of Law Project (2004-2007) • Women’s Legal Rights Initiative (WLRI) (2003-2006) • Judicial Reform Index (2006-2009) • Rule of Law Program in Albania (2007-2010)
• Albanian Justice Sector Strengthening Project (JuST) (2010-2015)
Technical Assistance ondrafting Albania’s constitution (1993-1994) Albania Judicial Training Program (JTP) (1998-2000) Commercial Law Training Collateral Law Reform (1998-2001) with the University of Maryland/IRIS Center
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP IN SPECIAL INITIATIVES PROPERTY REGISTRATION AND LAND ADMINISTRATION
HELPING STOP TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS USAID works with Albanian government and non-governmental counterparts to help the country bring itself into compliance with the standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
In the 1990’s, USAID helped the Government of Albania develop its legal framework for land rights and land administration. • Through the help of USAID’s property registration programs (1993-2004), Albania registered over 2 million rural and urban apartment properties in 62 economic priority rural zones, 16 urban zones, and 58 rural zones. • In 1995, USAID suppored the development of communitybased forest management that increased rural household incomes and reduced forest degradation. The program helped communities establish forest user groups and prepare forest management plans.
The directors of the four NGO shelters in Albania sign a memorandum of understanding that formalizes cooperation to assist victims of trafficking.
fragmentation of agricultural lands impeded the development of Albania’s agricultural sector.
• The Municipal Infrastructure Support Program and the Social Services Rehabilitation Program helped improve roads, libraries, schools, and health clinics in 18 communities that accepted refugees. • A Weapons in Exchange for Development Program, in collaboration with UNDP, supported community improvement projects in the Elbasan District. • USAID provided $12 million of budget support for the Government’s work to rehabilitate schools and support neighborhood development.
USAID is helping Albania utilize information and communication technology (ICT) to improve government transparency, modernize healthcare, and build opportunities for farmers and businesses.
• In cooperation with local municipalities, USAID’s child anti-trafficking program formed Child Protection Units and a Child Protection Safety Net program that has been integral to Albania’s overall anti-trafficking strategy. • USAID was active in increasing advocacy and awareness around the “Olympic Games Emergency” in 2004. USAID and Terre des hommes assisted the GOA’s Working Group Against Child Trafficking to draft a Memorandum of Understanding that was officially signed with Greece in 2006. • In 2007, USAID helped establish the National Coalition of Anti-trafficking Shelters. USAID helped NGO shelters provide services to assist and reintegrate victims of trafficking. • USAID’s women’s anti-trafficking program helped over 740 victims of trafficking received assistance and re-integration services, more than 2,800 vulnerable women and children received prevention services, and over 59,000 citizens participated in awareness raising activities. The program also trained over 2,100 government and 210 civil society actors in anti-trafficking management.
Albania’s National Agency for the Information Society (NAIS) was inaugurated in May 2008, in a ceremony held in the Agency’s modern new offices, refurbished by the US Government. The agency coordinates all the e-government services developed by the Millennium Challenge Albania project, such as e-registration of businesses, e-procurement and tax e-filing.
RESTRUCTURING THE ENERGY SECTOR
The Albania Transition Initiative helped local citizens rebuild the Kucova Community Health Care Center.
Since 2000, USAID has helped bring affordable energy to Albania by improving energy legislation and strengthening the performance of such institutions as the Albanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ERE), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy, and Albania’s power utility company, KESH. Activities have included:
(c) 1999, The Washington Post. Refugee camp in Kukes, Albania- 3 May, 1999
• USAID helped draft Albania’s National Power Sector Policy in 2002 that laid the foundation for the privatization of Albania’s state-owned power corporation, KESH. USAID played an integral role throughout the privatization, which was successfully completed in 2008. • With USAID support, the Government developed a National Energy Strategy in 2003 that defined in the long-term how Albania will address energy security, efficiency, and affordability for citizens. • USAID helped draft both the Power Sector Law (2003) that established the independence of the ERE and the Energy Efficiency Law (2005) that established the institutional framework on energy efficiency. USAID is currently helping revise the law to ensure that Albania meet EU standards and helps ensure a sustainable supply of affordable energy for all citizens.
RESPONSE TO KOSOVO REFUGEES The Kosovo refugee crisis was one in a series of human and political catastrophes to affect Albania in 1990s. USAID’s Albania Transition Initiative was designed to alleviate the impact of the Kosovo refugee crisis on Albanian host communities.
INTEGRATING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES ACROSS SECTORS
IMPROVE OPPORTUNITIES IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
• USAID, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, is building Albania’s ability to defend against cyber-security incidents that could harm the country’s banks, businesses, and government institutions. • In 2010, USAID played a key role in establishing tax administration offices that enable businesses to file and pay taxes electronically – thus improving government transparency and services to citizens. • In the health sector, USAID is helping Albania use ICT to improve the performance of medical institutions and Albania’s health insurance system, strengthen the quality of medical education, and speed up doctors’ access to medical information from around the world. • In agriculture, USAID has helped farmers and agricultural industries utilize the latest computer and telephone technologies to grow businesses through, for example, obtaining information on commodity prices and improving access to foreign markets.
USAID is implementing a Clean Energy Program to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through the program, USAID is playing a key role to: • Help the national Natural Resource Agency upgrade Albania’s national energy database, establish regional offices, and develop pilot projects on energy efficiency. • Expand municipalities’ access to local bank financing -to fund clean energy solutions for street lighting, municipal water supplies, schools, elderly housing, and municipal buildings. • Albania is also part of USAID’s regional clean energy program that will develop a policy analysis to guide the region’s investments in wind and hydro projects through 2030.
US Federal and Albanian Regulators met in March 2010 to discuss oversight and management of the natural gas sector.
Albania has enormous potential to utilize renewable energy. It is ideally suited for developing wind, hydro, and solar power, and there is potential as well to make use of geothermal and biomass energy.
PROJECTS 2011 AND BEYOND
• First Registration of Immovable Property (1993-2001) • Albania Refugee Community Relief Program (1999-2002) • Center for Street Children in Tirana (1993-1995) • Participant Training Project in Europe (PTPE/PIET) (1992-1996) • TRANSIT (Global Training for Development (GTD) (1996-2001) • Entreprenerial Management and Executive Development (EMED) program (1996-2001)
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Property Restitution and Compensation Law (2004 – 2006) Registration Organizational Improvement (2002-2004) Protection, Shelter, and Reintegration for Abused and Trafficked Women (2002-2004) Transnational Action Against Child Trafficking (TACT) (2003 - 2009) with Terre des Hommes The Albanian Initiative: Coordinated Action Against Human Trafficking (CAAHT) (2003 2009) Communities Engaged in Social & Economic Development (CESEDA) (2003-2005) Fostering Religious Harmony in Albania (2004 - 2006) Regional Energy Restoration (2000-2003) Energy Restoration and Restructuring Program (ERRP) (2000 - 2007) Regional Infrastructure Support Project (2000-2002) Participant Training Program (START) (2001-2005) East Central Europe Scholarship Program (ECESP) (2006-2008) Wildfires Assistance (July-August 2007) Gerdec Explosion Disaster Relief (March-May 2008) Emergency support for Flood Victims in Northern Albania (January 2009, and December 2010)
Clean Energy in Albania Program (2010-2013) Support for Albania’s National Shelter Coalition (2009 – 2012) Albania Distribution Privatization Program (2007-2011) Forecast Program (2005- 2011)
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP Millennium Challenge Albania Threshold Program I (2006-2008) The Millennium Challenge Corporation Albania Threshold Program Stage I (MCCATA) was a two-year, $13.7 million program administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), that was designed to support Albania’s strategy to reduce corruption by reforming public procurement, tax administration, and business registration, using an “e-governance” approach to improve the transparency and efficiency of these services. Today, government operations that were cumbersome and opaque have become measurably more transparent and efficient, and less corrupt. Thousands of Albanian citizens and businesses have benefited from a transformative change in their daily interactions with government, made possible by institutional reform coupled with an array of e-governance solutions.
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT REFORM
The program introduced electronic services and administrative reforms in Albania’s tax administration system to change a corrupt tax administration and transform the relationship between taxpayers and government. Reflecting international best practices, the program worked to change how adminsitrative procedures function. Today, Albanian inspectors no longer have such broad authority. Responsibilities for case processing are now divided among administrative units along functional lines, such as returns processing, audits, collections, and taxpayer services.
Before the MCC Threshold Program, public procurement in Albania was notoriously opaque. Businesses were forced to pay for tender documents and participate in rigged bids with no recourse for complaints. Today, central government agencies and municipalities post tender notices on a public website from which firms can download bidding documents free of charge and submit bids via an e-procurement system that meets European Union (EU) standards. In the first nine months of 2008, government agencies procured more than $29 million worth of goods, works, and services through more than 70 separate electronic procurement actions. In 2010, Albania’s Public Procurement Agency received special recognition from the United Nations due to the MCC program-supported reforms.
Prior to the program, business registration in Albania was an expensive, time consuming process that involved multiple court petitions and trips to government offices. Today, registration requires only one application, processed within 24 hours at a cost of about one U.S. dollar. From its main office in Tirana, the National Registration Center (NRC) and networked service windows in municipalities throughout Albania processed thousands of applications and registrations. The public can access all business registration data electronically through the NRC website.
Project staff members interact with businesses at the new GDT Headquarters’ Taxpayers Service Center. The project’s IT subcontractor developed new customer relation management software to support processing and departmental management functions and subsequently improve taxpayer service at the center.
IT staff members update the National Registration Center’s website, created to provide free public access to business registration data. The GDT and PPA are linked electronically to the NRC and exchange business data on a daily basis, thereby increasing transparency in operations and reducing the “shadow” economy. Introduction of easily accessible data through counterpart websites improves the business climate, attracts investment, and stimulates demand for further improvements in public administration.
Staff from the Albania MCC Threshold Project work with IT staff at the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) to test the e-procurement system in the PPA server room. Once the system received final approval, the project team and PPA staff collaborated to train more than 800 procurement officers to use it.
• New modern, comprehensive tax legislation in effect and fully compliant with international best practices • Taxpayer rights defined and strengthened • Authority for functional reorganization of the entire tax administration and for electronic filing established • Enforcement powers consistent with international best practices provided to GDT, and role of tax police reduced • Self-assessment principles reinforced • Complete overhaul of the penalties regime • Authority for risk-based selective audits established, replacing time consuming verification of books and records supporting monthly VAT returns • Two-tier tax appeals system created
• Complete package of standard bidding documents and regulations implementing the new PPL approved • All procurement notices and tender documents downloadable from website • All ministries using e-procurement system • 73 electronic tender awards totaling $29 million in value during the first 9 months of 2008 • Procurement advocate processed more than 200 complaints between 2006 and 2008 • More than 1,000 contract officers and economic operators trained to use EPS • Two Procurement Technical Assistance Centers established • Average of more than 6 bidders per tender
• Nearly 93,000 applications processed in the first 12 months of operation of NRC • More than 19,000 new businesses registered • One-day turnaround achieved at all 12 registration locations • Fully electronic commercial registry online and publicly accessible • 95 percent awareness of NRC in the business community • 90 percent user satisfaction
Malesi E Madhe
Kurbin Mat Kruje
Kavaje Peqin Elbasan
Fier Berat Korce Devoll
The project team administers a training of GDT trainers on tax audit procedures, pursuant to the new tax procedures law enacted in May 2008. The team also developed skill-based courses for tax collections, tax appeals, and taxpayer services. A training of trainers approach was used for all the skills training, in keeping with the sustainability objectives of the project.
A billboard encourages Albanian businesses to take advantage of the government’s Internet portal for tax filing. As of June 2008, some 1,500 businesses were already using the online system.
In April 2008, Albania opened two project bids utilizing a fully electronic procurement system developed through the MCC program. The e-procurement system (EPS) provides a web-based platform for online public procurement procedures in Albania. The system was built based on EU requirements and meets high international standards in ease of use and security.
Legend National Registration Centers NRC Headquarters NRC Service Window Tax Centers GDT
Project staff members interact with businesses at the new GDT Headquarters’ Taxpayers Service Center. The project’s IT subcontractor developed new customer relation management software to support processing and departmental management functions and subsequently improve taxpayer service at the center.
Regional Tax Office Cumulative NRC Services Rendered 0 1 - 579 580 - 2,349 2,350 - 3,700 3,701 - 5,039 40,865+
project impact on increased business registration
20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP Millennium Challenge Albania Threshold Program II (2009-2011) The Millennium Challenge Corporation Albania Threshold Program Stage II (MCCA2) was a two-year, $15.7 million program administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), that was designed to strengthen the rule of law, reduce corruption, and increase public oversight in Albania through an e-government program of information technology (IT) solutions and technical and legal assistance. The program’s e-government approach transformed key government operations and made them more transparent and efficient and less corrupt. The Government of Albania saves time and cost in provision of services, the business enabling environment is stronger and more open to investment, and citizens throughout Albania are benefitting from the innovative reforms.
Today, this e-government approach has transformed key government operations and made them more transparent and efficient and less corrupt. The Government of Albania saves time and cost in provision of services, the business enabling environment is stronger and more open to investment, and citizens throughout Albania can benefit from the innovative reforms.
The National Licensing Center is headquartered in Tirana and has offices in nine other cities, making the benefits of licensing reform easily available to all businesses. Between 2009 and 2011, the NLC processed more than 7,000 license applications since it opened, and more than 93 percent of NLC users were very satisfied or satisfied with their experience at the NLC.
The state-of-the-art Taxpayer Service Center in Tirana opened on December 1, 2010. The project redesigned the Tax Administration’s taxpayer service model so routine contacts between taxpayers and tax officials take place in this transparent and controlled environment (direct contacts between taxpayers and their processing inspectors are still allowed for collections, audit, enforcement, and appeals). Traffic approaches 1,000 visitors daily during peak filing periods, and the center served nearly 50,000 customers during its first three months.
Expanding Albania’s e-government solutions will require building the capacities of local IT professionals to implement and support the new systems. In the photo here, IT Director Edmond Pelushaj of the National Licensing Center explains the functionality of the NLC’s new system to a colleague.
KEY RESULTS • Directorates for key tax administration functions established • New service center in Tirana established; taxpayer services in regions strengthened and expanded • Criminal and internal investigation directorates and hotline established • Taxpayer Advocate and Tax Consultative Council established • Automated collections system deployed, e-filing expanded, and dashboard for GDT management developed • New collections call center established • 80 percent of tax declarations are e-filed • 25,000 regular e-filers • 40,000 users of e-tax services • Payment processing time reduced from three months to one day, saving $1 million per year
• NLC headquarters established, along with remote service windows in nine municipalities • More than 7,000 applications processed in first 18 months of operation • Average processing time for most applications reduced from 42 to two days • Awareness of NLC amongst likely applicants at 75 percent by project close • 93 percent satisfaction with NLC among license applicants • Most license categories moved from ministries to NLC for processing • Online register of licenses created • More than 14,000 visits to the NLC web site
NATIONAL TERRITORIAL PLANNING
CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT
JOINT INVESTIGATIVE UNITS
Albania sought to create an administrative court system to provide an efficient venue in which citizens and business could resolve disputes with the government. MCCA2’s administrative courts component was designed to help establish these courts.
Two years ago, property developers or average citizens had limited means to learn about planned or in-process construction or development. Now, a state-of-the-art, web-based portal contains more than 50 categories of planning information from seven of the largest Albanian municipalities, encompassing 50 percent of the population. The new National Territorial Planning Agency (NTPA) was also established to manage the portal and serve as a resource for municipalities and citizens alike.
To institutionalize the Government of Albania’s efforts to improve the transparency and efficiency of its operations, MCCA2 worked closely with 30 Albanian Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to help them build relevant watchdog and advocacy skills. The program also enlisted CSOs to monitor Stage I and Stage II reforms, thereby helping these organizations build new capacities and helping support the sustainability of the reforms by holding government accountable.
In May 2007, a Joint Investigative Unit to Fight Economic Crime and Corruption (JIU) was created within the Tirana District Prosecution Office. The JIU has had significant success in prosecuting high-level public officials on corruption charges. To expand these results to the rest of the country, OPDAT implemented one component of a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program to establish, equip and train six additional JIUs modeled after the Tirana JIU. All of the JIUs are composed of prosecutors, judicial police officers, customs officials, tax investigators, and liaisons from three other agencies, who work together in a team structure to concentrate capacity, enhance skills, and foster communication necessary for successful investigations and prosecutions. MCC selected OPDAT for to implement this component viewing OPDAT’s support and assistance as crucial to the Tirana JIU’s success.
At a regional roundtable organized by the Coalition in Support of the Administrative Courts, business representatives signed a petition calling on Parliament to enact the Administrative Courts Law. More than 1,000 businesses had signed the petition by the end of the project.
KEY RESULTS • Nine training courses developed for administrative judges and court staff • State-of-the-art, web-based case management system developed • Manuals for the judiciary on budget planning and document management written • Staffing assessment conducted • Recommendations made for IT architecture and court facilities • Secondary legislation drafted to increase judicial efficiency and effectiveness
Malesi E Madhe
GRAPH 1.1 E-filed Tax Declarations Per Month
3,743 3,871 0
4,333 4,560 4,288
Source: Ministry of Finance, Republic of Albania
Taxpayers / E-Filers
KEY RESULTS • Territorial Planning Register established as a webbased repository for planning and building codes, guidelines, and decisions • Secondary legislation to establish the register and uniform spatial data standards drafted in five pilot municipalities, and approved by the Council of Ministers • Register software designed, unified online construction permitting forms developed, and a GIS database of territorial plans created • National Territorial Planning Agency operational and technical staff trained in use and maintenance of the register • More than 100 specialists from the central government and 38 municipalities trained in posting plans and decisions on the register • Available territorial planning information for seven municipalities converted to GML format and uploaded to the register for public viewing
• Advocacy capacity of Albanian CSOs increased through training and technical assistance • Six monitoring studies on the progress of MCC program reforms produced • 770 CSO members involved in monitoring or advocacy activities
Legend National Registration Center Service Window National Licensing Center Service Window GDT Taxpayer Service Center Territorial Planning Pilot Municipality
impact of mcc threshold program reforms across albania MCC reforms have benefited businesses throughout Albania by establishing networked facilities in nearly every province where they can register, secure a license, pay taxes, or easily access urban planning requirements.
Judges, court staff, experts from the Ministry of Justice, and judgesin-training from the Magistrate School helped the project tailor the case management system to the needs of Albania’s courts. For one of 15 interactive test sessions, the project organized a mock courthouse complete with judges’ chambers, secretaries’ offices, and a courtroom. In these settings, counterparts role-played various profiles in administrative court cases.
The project created the Territorial Planning Register, a state-of-the-art public portal through which municipalities and citizens can view and upload construction applications and permits. The images above use some of the fifty data layers that can be applied over satellite images from throughout Albania. In the top image, individual parcels are outlined in red; in the bottom image, planning zones are highlighted in green (representing high-density residential areas), red (medium-density residential), and blue (an educational institution).
Signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation to establish six regional JIUs in Durres, Shkoder, Vlore, Fier, Korce, Gjirokaster, May 2009.
A group of prosecutors are certified as trainers of Trial Advocacy Skills, november 2010.
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MCCA2 helped establish the Tax Consultative Council, composed of government and private-sector representatives, to consider initiatives for clarifying and streamlining tax administration procedures, making taxpayer compliance easier.
Urban planning specialists from Albanian municipalities receive handson training on the Territorial Planning Register software. The project trained more than 100 planning officials from 38 municipalities.
MCCA2 delivered tailored classroom training and on-the-job mentoring to Albanian civil society organizations to increase their advocacy capacities, such as this training on using information technology tools for advocacy.
MCCA2 used press conferences and public events to highlight significant reforms or report launches, including the release of the monitoring report for the electronic procurement system.
MCC Technology Training Inspires a New Human Rights Web site and Blog The MCC Stage II Program’s advocacy assessment and “Technology Tools” training inspired the KRIIK-Albania Association to consider creative new ways to mobilize its existing professional resources for innovative advocacy. Shortly after the training, which KRIIK leadership said “opened the door” for new projects, KRIIK established a new web site and blog on human rights issues in Albania. The association plans to develop its web site into “the main portal” on human rights issues in Albania, linking it with all public and nongovernmental institutions dealing with human rights issues.
• Improved Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between agencies to reflect lessons learned after the Tirana JIU’s two years of operation • Inclusion of the High State Audit and the High Inspectorate for the Declaration and Audit of Assets as additions to the MoC to provide liaisons to the JIUs • Selected and vetted members are assigned to the regional JIUs • JIUs are furnished with office equipment according to their needs • OPDAT’s Anti-Corruption Resident Legal Advisor (U.S. federal prosecutor), two Intermittent Legal Advisors (U.S. federal prosecutors), two Albanian Legal Specialists and one Administrative Assistant dedicate their full-time to support and advise the JIUs • A Guideline for the Investigation of Corruption and Financial Crime is drafted, and JIU members are trained on its use in their daily work • All JIU members are intensively trained on a number of topics, including investigation of corruption, financial investigations, money laundering, cybercrime, trial advocacy, etc. • A series of mock trials with law students, roundtable events, and a regional anti-corruption conference in Tirana were used to raise public awareness of corruption and its effects on everyday life in Albania
Published on Oct 30, 2013
In 2012, USAID celebrated 20 years of partnership with the Albanian people to support their country's transition from a communist dictatorsh...