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Dear reader,

This newsletter of the Association of Municipalities of Albania reflects the main activities during the period May - December 2020. The COVID 19 pandemic made 2020 a very challenging year for Albania the whole society, as in the rest of the globe. Most efforts and energy were put into relieving the consequences and preventing further losses. Most activities reported in this newsletter were carried out under conditions of social distancing. For the rest of the period, efforts have been made to implement projects with the involvement of municipalities at the local level. The association has closely followed developments in law enforcement and legal changes regarding local autonomy.
 
 
We wish 2021 will mark the end of the pandemic!
We also wish for a fast recovery of local economies and local life!

Happy holidays from AAM staff!
 
 
As with previous numbers, the bulletin is prepared in English in a simplified version.
 
AAM organizes the Competition for support for Mediterranean products - MD.net, Interreg MED
 
December 2020 - As part of the MD.net project - When the brand meets people, supported by Interreg MED, the Association of Municipalities organized a competition to select five products/services related to the Mediterranean Diet that will receive support from this project.
The competition was held with the participation of businesses in the area and vocational training centers with the support of the municipality of Lezha. The products presented were as a result of previous meetings and seminars organized by the project. The project will initially support five products, with the possibility to include 3 more products.

The winners of this competition are:
 
  • Mrizi i Zanave with the promotion of the porridge duck recipe;
  • Rapsodia promoting the use of chicory flower
  • Embroidery Artisans Vau i Dejës with support for silkworm breeding
  • Vocational Training Center, Lezha with the promotion of the fisherman soup recipe
  • Creativity Zone with kitchen utensils with traditional motifs.

The project will potentially support and:
 
  • Vajra Malesie with support for the distillation of medicinal plants
  • Log Bar with cocktail of dried fruits and pomegranate
  • Hoteli i Gjuetise with pheasant growth.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
EC-NET Kick-Off Meeting - “Solidarity and Intercultural Dialogue for active citizenship”
 
December - AAM is a partner in this project, together with associations from Italy, France, Bulgaria, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Poland and Croatia. AAM participated at the online Kick-off meeting of EC-NET project by making a presentation of the objectives, activities and projects of the Albanian Association of Municipalities
.
The aim of this meeting was that the Local Working Groups (LWG) in 9 countries, to evaluate the benefits that NT brought to each community in terms of Solidarity and Intercultural Dialogue for active citizenship.

For more info click here 
 
 

 
Regional Training for Civil Emergencies - FLAT, IPA Cross Border IT-AL-MNE
 
November - 60 participants from the municipalities of the two countries (Montenegro and Albania) working in the emergency sector joined forces to receive and share knowledge on Civil Protection.
 
The Association of Albanian Municipalities organized today together with its partner the Municipality of Danilovgrad, the online seminar "Protection and rescue in case of floods and landslides" within the FLAT project.

The experts focused on the following topics:
 
  • Rescue and protection systems
  • Rescue and protection mechanisms in Montenegro
  • Civil protection mechanism and EU Floods Directive
  • Flood rescue
  • Flood rescue techniques and procedures
  • First aid
  • Rescue in case of landslide
  • Safety of movement through slip areas
  • Evacuation of injured from landslide areas
 
For more info click here
 
 

 
Training "Analysis of Capital Infrastructure Investment Projects" RCDN
 
ovember - The training took place within the RCDN: The project "Regional Capacity Development Network for Water and Sewerage Services (RCDN)". Beneficiaries of this training were specialists from sh.a. Water supply, from municipalities and other institutions working in this sector.

The training provided participants with the necessary staff, general knowledge and skills to:
 
  1. Better knowledge of the stages of preparation of a funded project;
  2. Understand the key elements and stages of project cycle management;
  3. Understand the possibilities for financing infrastructure projects from programs with internal and external financing;
  4. Familiar with the structure, role and responsibilities of PIU;
  5. Understand the purpose of Monitoring, Evaluation and Audit in Project Management;
 
Best Practice Competition 2020
November 2020 - The Best Practice Competition is an instrument that enables the exchange of information by municipalities on practices and their initiatives in various areas of administration and management of functions local self-government in the framework of the implementation of the National Strategy for Development and Integration, National Cross-cutting Strategy for Decentralization and Local Government (NSDC) and sectoral policies.
 
BPC 2020 is the second event led by the Ministry of Interior and Local Self-Government Support Agency and supported by “Strong Municipalities” (BtF) - a project funded by SDC and implemented by Helvetas. BPC 2020 was implemented during June - December 2020.

In the 2020 event, 38 municipalities participated with 64 applications in four categories of activity: (i) administration of preschool education (kindergartens), (ii) administration of urban waste management, (iii) administration and management of civil protection, (iv) local democracy - activity and role supervisor of the representative body of the LGU (Municipal Council). AAM participated in evaluation of the applications received by the municipalities during this last edition.

Objectives of Competition are:
 
  • Recognize and evaluate the best practice of the municipality at the executive and legislative level in selected categories of 2020 edition;
  • To promote innovation in various fields;
  • Encourage interaction at local, regional and national level with various institutions, actors and stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector;
  • Exchange of practical information and data useful in the implementation of the efforts of decentralization reform and good governance at the local level through an approach by bottom-up.
 
Applications fell into the following categories:

Category 1: Administration and Management of Preschool Education;
Category 2: Urban Waste Management and Management;
Category 3: Civil Protection Administration and Management;
Category 4: Representative and Supervisory Activity of the Municipal Council.

The Competition awarded 13 best practices, 4 of which were voted by the citizens through online voting. The rest of best practices were identified by professionals composing the jury of the competition.

For more info click here
 
 

 
Consultative Council on the progress of the implementation of the Decentralization Strategy
 
October - The Consultative Council between the central and local governments discussed the progress of the Administrative-Territorial Reform and the Decentralization Strategy.

The Association of Municipalities raised some issues that continue to accompany the local government. First is the need for an asymmetric decentralization, based on the features and elements of municipalities. Another concern relates to the lack of support from the central government of municipalities with financial means during the quarantine period by COVID 19.

The Association also requested from the Ministry of Finance to disburse the municipalities for the missing revenues that come from the legal changes of the government such as the abolition of the tax on small business as provided by law 68/2017.
 
 
 
 
 

 
Manual “Administrative practices for local services
 
October - The Association of Albanian Municipalities prepared this guide for administrative practices in the provision of local services that provides detailed information on office practices to be followed in administrative units by employees of all categories including the administrator. The guide was published with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The guide is divided into three parts:
 
  1. The general part related to the development of the capacities of the employees of the administration to perform better, to better manage the office, documents and communication;
  2. The second part, which describes the legal principles, types of administrative acts and procedures followed for the drafting and administration of documentation in the municipality;
  3. The third most specific part related to the implementation of legal procedures in the provision of services to citizens for those categories of responsibilities that have administrative units and their staff, as well as lines of administrative action from the unit to the center municipality.
 
 

 
AAM participates at the Summer 2020 Global Affiliate Hubs (GAH) Program Virtual Retreat!
 
September 2020 - Open Gov Hub is the world's first meeting place (co-working space and innovation hub) dedicated to opening up governments and empowering citizens around the world. Our community includes nearly 50 organizations and 300 people. AAM participates in its activity for the last years.

Open Gov Hub aims at assisting CSOs working on issues related to opengov that are often overextended and under-resourced, moreover, they are increasingly facing civic space restrictions.

Global Affiliate Hubs Program had three main goals:
 
  1. Strengthen the financial sustainability of hubs.
  2. Strengthen the staffing sustainability and morale of individual hub leaders through supportive relationships/network.
  3. Promote cross-country collaborations and peer learning about common open government-related challenges and opportunities.
     
The Open Gov Hub team has organized this year’s retreat (now virtual) for all 13 hubs across 12 countries and 5 continents who are members of the current Global Affiliate Hubs program.
 
The Retreat had 2 main goals:
 
  1. Provide a comprehensive “crash course” practical education and training in all key aspects of how to run an effective civic engagement hub as a social enterprise, with a particular focus on financial sustainability, staff sustainability, and new needed adaptations for the COVID-19 era;
  2. Support individual and organizational networking, relationship building, collaboration and peer learning across the network of 13 hubs
 
 
 
For more info click here
 
 

 
4PLUS Project
 
September - Association of Albanian Municipalities has conducted field visits in the Municipality of Kolonjë, following the plan of activities for "Risk Assessment Report in the Municipality of Kolonjë", component of #project4plus IPA CBC 4PLUS project.

The field inspectors visited the Municipality of Kolonjë and collected data to identify current needs and capacities for local risk assessment for persons with disabilities and elderly persons with representatives of the municipality, officers of administrative units, civil emergency specialists, social services, fire taskforce, etc.

This assessment aims to identify the capacity and needs of the Municipality of Kolonja on regard of ‘’Disaster Risk Reduction and Management ‘’ for persons with disabilities and elderly persons.
 
 

 
National Courses on Mediterranean Diet
 
July - The Association of Albanian Municipalities within the project "Mediterranean Diet" organized the first of national courses on the Mediterranean Diet - an opportunity for local development. The first meeting was held on 17 July 2020 in the pilot area of Zadrima, Lezhe.

The aim was to provide participants with knowledge on the "Mediterranean Diet", as well as the promotion of tradition, gastronomy, natural landscape, cultural heritage, tourism; where sustainable agricultural, livestock, fisheries and gastronomy patterns are linked to regional development, which increases socio-economic opportunities, especially in rural areas. Participants came from local public authorities (Lezha Municipality), academia (professional schools), tourism organizations and business operators.

The Mediterranean Diet is an integral part of the Mediterranean identity. The Mediterranean Diet is part of the list "Representatives of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity". It includes a range of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions related to cultural identity, natural landscape, heritage and lifestyle and ways of promoting to characterize a strong economy.

But many rural Mediterranean regions seem to underestimate these values and suffer the natural and demographic handicaps caused by a lack of awareness of the economic potential of the Mediterranean Diet.

The main goal of the project is to explore the Mediterranean Diet according to the UNESCO Mediterranean Diet Convention, by preserving the unique tradition and promoting innovations in the Mediterranean diet. The project promotes two measures: traditional and creative, to start the quadruple stakeholder cooperation of Mediterranean collaborators to raise the Mediterranean diet economy to new quality levels.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Increased capacities in development of sustainable mobility solutions in 5 Albanian Municipalitie
 
une 2020 - The project implemented by the Association of Albanian Municipalities, with the support of GIZ Albania, assisted 5 pilot municipalities in increasing internal capacities to be ready to draft sustainable mobility plans to improve conditions in the transport and urban mobility sector and enhance knowledge of the public about the benefits of such sustainable urban mobility solutions with activities on European Week of Mobility. The overall goal of this project was to contribute to better transport and mobility at the local level in Albania. The project was be implemented through a co-constructive approach by using local expertise on sustainable urban mobility planning to equip the designated municipalities with capacities to be ready to draft sustainable urban mobility plans.

Municipalities of Shkoder, Peqin, Cerrik, Klos and Mat have now prepared the Plans for Local Sustainable Mobility, plans that provided for sustainable solutions for problems identified mainly related to the increase of needs for sustainable transport within municipalities. Population, economic activities, social and cultural interactions, as well as environmental and human impacts, are more and more focused on cities and this is a major challenge for sustainability, among others, in about housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, jobs, security and natural resources. Most importantly, municipalities have within their internal staff, the capacities to move forward with actual actions in improving urban mobility in their territories.

AAM engaged in one pilot action with the Municipality of Shkodra that consisted in building bicycle stand throughout the city in the most populated areas. The action was chosen in line with the local tradition on the use of bicycles. Also, the Municipal Police of Shkodra was equipped with 5 bicycles to be used during summer season, but not only. The use of bicycles by local officials is a good and concrete demonstration to increase awareness on sustainable mobility.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thanks for your attention!

_______________________________
 

Coming activities:
 
Next phase of RCDN project
Second Phase of SORI Project
Partners meeting SUStown
Partners meeting MD.net
 
 
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