Newsletter May 2020

Newsletter Shoqata e Bashkive te Shqiperise

January - April 2020

Albanian Association of Municipalities

Dear reader,

 

This next newsletter of the Association of Municipalities of Albania reflects the main activities during the period January - April 2020. As in the rest of the globe, great attention was paid to dealing with the consequences of Covid 19 pandemic, which came to Albania at the beginning. of March with the confirmation of the first case of infection. The association has been constantly committed to being as close as possible to its citizens and local government, as well as to our international partners. Most activities during March and April have adapted to the new 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.

 

As with previous numbers, the bulletin is prepared in English in a simplified version.

 

Thanks for your attention!

 

News & Activities

Urgent measures to be taken by the Local Government to fight Covid 19

Different countries have different levels of spread of Covid-19, so different scenarios and different approaches should be used.

But in any case, the rules must be followed with strict attention and strictly enforced by the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health, and competent public institutions, given that the situation is evolving rapidly, bringing new announcements and measures every day.

With regard to local government, it is important to pay attention to the following measures:

1.     Urgent plans for the management of their human resources, health assessment starting from the administration.

2.     Active professional civil emergency structures should be set up to be on standby to facilitate the work of central structures.

3.     They must take urgent measures and prepare disinfectant and hygienic packages for the homes of the elderly.

4.     Special measures should be taken for families who are in tents, as a result of the earthquake.

5.     Urgently need to prepare disinfectant, hygienic and food packages for families in need, elderly living alone, and families with social support, and perform door-to-door delivery.

6.     Take the same care with families in rural / rural areas, where opportunities are more limited.

Read more 

Project “Enhancing local capacities to implement the 2030 Agenda” started

April 30 – The project is a regional cooperation led by NALAS and involving several countries of South East Europe.  It will address the lack of institutional capacities, expertise and experience of the local governments and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the social, economic and cultural human rights of their citizens, particularly of disadvantaged groups, in five target economies (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania).

The Overall Objective of the project is to support local governments to improve the economic, social and cultural human rights of their citizens in line with the overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda "Leave no one behind". The Specific Objectives are 1) to enhance the capacities of local governments, their Associations and other relevant stakeholders to apply successful approaches for strengthening the economic, social and cultural human rights of particularly disadvantaged groups and 2) to strengthen the capacities of local governments to integrate the overarching principle "Leave no one behind" of the 2030 Agenda in evidence-based planning and decision-making processes.

Read more 

Webinars on Mediterranean lifestyle’ benefits during the pandemic situation

April 23 - Mediterranean Diet – Where Brand meets people is an Interreg MED funded project, implemented by a consortium including Association of Albanian Municipalities.  It focuses on promoting values of food and physical activities cultivated in Mediterranean countries and the benefits on human health and nature preservation.

With the objective to disseminate MD.net and give support to professionals, companies and the public during this exceptional period, the project has undertaken the initiative to organize a series of webinars, aiming at bringing closer professors and doctors to the public.  The first Webinar was organized on Friday 3rd April, with the participation of Dr. Ramón Estruch, Scientific President of the Mediterranean Foundation about "How to maintain a healthy lifestyle in confined situation" through a live presentation followed by Q&A.

The 2nd webinar took place on Tuesday April 14th.  This webinar was be performed by Mr. Filipe Themudo Barata, Full Professor of the University of Évora (Portugal) and Chair Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Intangible Heritage and traditional know-how.

In recent years we allowed the destruction of our landscapes, never minding on climate change, erosion of our fields or sustainable development. The Mediterranean Diet could be an example of a tool to create a sustainable economy also based on our common heritage and culture, reinforcing social cohesion and putting into value our differences.

The event is already published in MD.net website. Click here

Meeting of Institutional Decentralization Group on measures against Covid 19

April 20 - The Meeting of the Thematic Group of Decentralization with Special Focus on the Local Governments’ Response to COVID-19 was held with the participation of state institutions, donors and local government associations.

Participants discussed on the potential role of the municipalities in serving citizens, especially the elderly and vulnerable groups and municipalities needs in overcoming the situation.  AAM presented its recommendations, starting with a proposal that a financial package should be established for 61 Municipalities & 12 regions to address the Covid 19 situation.  This package should include funds from central and local portfolio, adding funds from the donor community.

As regards to the role of the municipalities in social distancing, an efficient communication should by established between Mayors and Ministry of Health.  The mayors should be informed directly by the National Institute of Public Health about people infected with Covid 19 in details, as the press releases of the Ministry do not provide information on identification of people infected.

The emergency incentives in supporting business and citizens should be implemented as soon as possible because the needs are increasing after a long period of isolation.  Municipalities should obtain an increase in their emergency budgets to undertake required measures in combating the spread of CIVOD 19.

We urge the Ministry of Health and the Technical Committee to increase the number of tests for people suspected of having Covid 19 because this is the way to fight and to prevent the spread of Covid 19.

Index of Decentralization Indicators - Albania

March 2020 - This publication was drafted in cooperation with the UNDP STAR2 Program, where the Albanian Associations of Municipalities recommends the use of a tool widely used by European countries to measure the quality of local government through the Dimensions and Indicators of Decentralization Monitoring Index (IMD) for Local Self-Government Units.

In order to assist local and central government in this process, it is not easy to continuously improve the legal, institutional and operational system of central and local public administration as a whole, the Association of Municipalities of Albania (AAM) and the Association for Local Autonomy in Albania (ALA) in cooperation with the Network of Associations of Local Authorities in Southeast Europe (NALAS) bring the Catalog of Decentralization Indicators for Local Self-Government Units in Albania.

This catalog is an instrument for assessing and monitoring the situation, performance and trends of various dimensions and elements of decentralization and local government. As such, this index has as its main objective to help local self-government units in Albania better and in a coordinated manner understand what their strengths and weaknesses are and what the next steps should be. It helps local self-government units devise a structured and integrated action plan to improve their performance and service quality for citizens. The catalog is also a very valuable tool for central government, as applied nationally, it can help policymakers to better understand what the key achievements in the field of decentralization are, what is the current situation, what are the main challenges and difficulties of local government to provide better services to citizens and how to overcome these challenges through reforms.

Each municipality can numerically assess the stage of decentralization, autonomy, quality of services, civic participation and dialogue achieved to date, and thus easily draft an integrated action plan for local administration for further improvement.

The catalog is designed for local elected officials, mayors and councilors, municipal employees, representatives of central institutions and other actors involved in the field of decentralization and local democracy, and serves to better understand where we are, what we have done and above. all, to understand how we should further improve local and national efforts to improve services for citizens. This assessment will also enable the identification of weak points to further focus efforts and resources for improvement.

RECOV project introduces its final publication

February 21 - In the past two years, the RECOV project (Rethinking Collaborative Values for Public Services) implemented a large number of local activities and achieved significant results in the creation of local networks capable of working together on the improvement of local governance through dialogue and participation, thus contributing to a more inclusive and democratic society.

All the activities and results of the 2-year project are now gathered in the final publication: this summarizes the methodology of work, the results and recommendations and all the implemented activities, such as workshops, conferences, sessions and presentations.

During its two years of life, RECOV benefited from the key contributions of 10 partners across Europe, which recognized the importance of jointly addressing recently emerging challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities arise out of this cooperation. The project aimed at creating a network of towns that would be eager to work together on exchanging common problems, doing some collective brainstorming and introducing concrete measures regarding the project’s specific objectives - and we can say it succeeded.

Read more...

Recommendations of AAM to the Parliamentary Commission of Local Government

February 13 - The Parliamentary Commission organized a hearing with representatives of the Ministry of Interior and municipal associations regarding the current situation of decentralization in Albania.

The Association of Municipalities submitted the following recommendations:

1.         The budget of the municipalities from the unconditional transfer from 1% (ALL 25 billion) of GDP to increase to 2% of GDP (ALL 50 billion) in implementation and the principle of financial adequacy.

2.         The fund from the conditional transfer (RDF) should go directly to the municipalities and not be transferred by the line ministries. An acceptable option could be a division where 70% of the Fund goes to municipalities and up to 30% is managed by the government for regional strategic investments.

3.         The inherited debt of the municipalities today is in the amount of 6.4 billion ALL. We present two possibilities, at best it should have been liquidated by the government or the government to repay the part of the debt that belongs to the investments. While other debts remain with the municipality to be repaid.

4.         To find an agreement in the preparation of the calendar for changes in the legal and sub-legal framework for a local government as functional as possible, especially in the preparation of standards for the provision of public services.

5.         Reorganization and decentralization of the structures of the municipalities and administrative units.

6.         The central and local government consultation should pay attention to the Associations and be as institutional and effective as possible.

AAM starts implementation of SuSTowns Project under INTERREG MED

January 25 - The Albanian Association is part of consortium of 9 partners from different Euromed countries to implement for the coming three years the SuSTown project, enhancing SUStainable tourism attraction in small fascinating med TOWNS.

The project targets fascinating small towns which have increasingly become tourist destinations for large numbers of visitors, favoring both the development and growth of its territories. As identified by the project, Mediterranean fascinating small towns are subject to the decline in fashion and notoriety by tourists. In addition, these towns are at risk of intensive exploitation of their territories and may become over-equipped with infrastructures and services whenever their tourist attraction decreases.

The project aims to intervene at the peak of the growing curve of tourist flows, making sure that these towns maintain the highest tourist flows, averting any risk of alteration of their fragile ecosystems. The main expected outcomes are the planning documents to address tourism marketing to produce new methodologies and technological tools which contribute in the strategy focused on stabilizing tourism flows. Therefore, the outputs are addressed to preserve the heritage of such towns which otherwise would see their existence compromised by the effects of overtourism.

The challenge of the project is to associate small towns to jointly govern these processes, avoiding that the tourist flows cause collapse of the public services for excessive anthropization. In return, the preservation of local traditions and cultural heritage, has to be ensured.

Lead partner of the project is ANCI LAZIO, Lazio Region Association of Cities and Municipalities and the kick off meeting was organized in January 2020 in Rome.

The Network of European Towns Fostering Intercultural Dialogue is launching in Rijeka

On 22-24 January 2020 in Rijeka - this year’s European Capital of Culture, will host a group of international partners who are meeting to launch together a Network called: European Towns Fostering Intercultural Dialogue and Combating Discrimination of Migrants and Minorities.

All the project partners come from 14 countries - 11 EU members: Latvia, Poland, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Romania, UK and Bulgaria and 3 neighboring countries - Serbia, Macedonia and Albania/Association of Albanian Municipalities.

The project seeks to raise awareness on the richness of EU cultural environment and promote key European values such as pluralism and tolerance, facilitated by intercultural exchange, this way contributing to the development of a respectful, dynamic and multifaceted European identity.

Key project priority is fostering intercultural dialogue between diverse communities and political actors in Europe, preventing discrimination and combating the stigmatization of migrants and minority groups.

All in all, over 3000 participants will take part in the design and implementation of 5 international events in Croatia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Lithuania, as well as in 5 on-line civic debates that will take place until December 2020.

The Network will promote active civic participation on transnational scale, support local and European policy makers' and citizens ‘efforts in jointly address challenges of intercultural dialogue and stigmatization of minorities and migrants.

The first international project Event in Rijeka will touch upon such subjects as: Celebrating Cultural Diversity, the European initiatives White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, migration and humanitarian crisis, as well as experience sharing from different Capitals of Culture that the Network is rich with.

Coming Activities

Second phase of RCDN project

Partners meeting SUStown

Partners meeting MD.net

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