Promoting decentralisation and local governance in Albania

In Albania, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation aims at improving local government services at the municipal level, to make the use of public resources transparent, effective and appropriate, and to increase civic participation. The Government of Albania has embarked on a decentralisation reform and is transferring more functions from the central to the municipal level. The programme strengthens the municipalities’ capacities to manage their functions in order to improve the services for citizens. The programme acts as facilitator, providing mainly planning, technical and advisory, facilitation/coordination and co-financing support.
During the first phase of the project, municipal strategic plans were formulated with councilors’ and citizens’ participation. The second phase emphasized on the use of these plans for decision-making, budgeting and concrete actions. It has been very successful in capacity building and strengthening cooperation between local governments using highly inclusive bottom-up approaches. Building on the experiences working at local level and using its competences in advocacy and lobbying, in the third phase of the program, the project will also increase its efforts to reach out to the national government in order to put local governance issues on the national agenda. Additionally, the project will focus on anchoring its good practices and developed tools/modules with national actors to assure wider outreach and sustainability.

The project made a significant effort to strengthen municipal capacities for financial management, administration, the collection of taxes and the provision of public services. Improved waste management systems were introduced, as well as one-stop-shops that allow citizens to get information and administrative services quickly and without bribes. The solutions and approaches developed jointly with the municipalities are constantly adapted to the context (e.g. territorial reform in 2015) and anchored with national actors for use beyond the project.

This is a project mandate implemented on behalf of SDC.