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					Regional Development Programme (RDP)
           Northern Albania




         Terms of Reference
1. Introduction

Austria and Switzerland have been supporting Albania in its development efforts for more
than fifteen years. In recent times, both countries have focused on socio-economic
development and service delivery in Northern Albania. Austrian Development Cooperation
(ADC) has invested heavily in basic infrastructure in order to increase access to essential
services, such as water and energy, and has also supported capacity development activities
in the areas of youth action and gender mainstreaming. ADC‘s 2007 – 2009 country strategy
for Albania has an overall aim of promoting sustainable social and economic development
and strengthening the public sector in Albania, with a particular focus on tourism,
governance, and gender issues.1 Currently, ADC is developing a new country strategy which
again will have a focus on good governance and regional development, particularly in
Northern Albania.
Swiss cooperation with Albania started in the early 1990s. For the last ten years, the Swiss
Development Cooperation (SDC) has been implementing a cooperation strategy focusing on
decentralisation, private sector development including vocational training, health care, and
the energy and water sectors. In its current cooperation strategy (2006 – 2009)2, SDC aims
at contributing to an improved quality of life for all people, and focuses in particular on
supporting Albania in strengthening a social and free market economy and realizing
democratic principles for regional and European integration. SDC is currently working in
three domains: democratisation and decentralisation, private sector development, basic
infrastructure and social services, with a strong focus on promoting gender equality and good
governance as cross-cutting issues. Since 2006 SDC has been funding the Democratisation
and Local Development Programme (DLDP) focusing on the support of 8 municipalities and
communes in the Shkodra region (4.5 million CHF planned for 2006-2009). Swiss
Cooperation is in the process of designing a new strategy for the next years which will have
an even stronger focus on support to decentralization.

In support of the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (March 2005)3, in
particular with regard to harmonisation, ADC and SDC have joined forces to design a
programme in the field of regional development and decentralisation in Northern Albania.
With the general aim of supporting equitable social and economic development, the
programme has the goal of improving inclusive access to and utilization of economic
opportunities and social services.


2. Programme Context

2.1 Albania: macro-economic profile and selected development indicators

Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. Based on a GNI per capita
calculated to PPP (purchasing power parity) of $US 7,240 in 2007, the World Bank ranks
Albania 107th out of 208 states, or close to the foot of the league tables for all European
states.4 However, until the world financial crisis of 2008 and the current global recession,
which has brought economic growth to a standstill,5 Albania‘s economy had performed
remarkably well over the last ten years as the country continues a transition from a command

1
  ADC is currently reviewing its country strategy for Albania. For ADC‘s existing programme document
see: http://www.entwicklung.at/uploads/media/country_programme_albania.pdf
2
  Swiss Coooperation Strategy in Albania 2006 – 2009: http://www.swisscooperation-
albania.ch/ressources/resource_en_63232.pdf
3
  In particular, pt. 32 of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/11/41/34428351.pdf and also pt. 17 Accra Aid Agenda:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/16/41202012.pdf
4
  See World Bank: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GNIPC.pdf
5
  The IMF predicts growth of 0.4% in 2009: http://www.imf.org/external/country/ALB/index.htm

                                                                                                   2
to a free-market economy. GDP growth primarily resulted from expansion in the sectors of
construction, external trade and transport. Peaking at over 6% in 2007, growth in Albania has
remained high and outpaced all other neighbouring countries.6 Overall poverty indicators
have dropped accordingly. In the period 2002 to 2008, extreme poverty, or the percentage of
the population having difficulty in meeting basic nutritional needs have fallen from 5% - 1.2%.
The poverty gap fell from 5.7% in 2002 to 2.3% in 2008, while the severity of poverty fell from
2% to 0.7% in the same period.7

On the other hand, Albania has made more limited progress towards strengthening
governance, reforming public administration, and establishing an institutional framework that
would ensure equal and inclusive access to services and the benefits of development for all
citizens. Poverty remains a rural phenomenon in Albania, with 67% of the poor living in rural
areas8 and the gap between rural and urban areas has widened in absolute and relative
terms in recent times.9

Lack of access to resources and adequate public services are two of the main factors driving
social exclusion and poverty. There are approximately 120,000 families who receive social
assistance due to lack or insufficient incomes. The recipients of social assistance have a
high propensity of simultaneously qualifying as ―socially excluded‖.10

In 2007 it was estimated that one third of Albanian children live below the poverty line,11 with
those from minority communities, who comprise 2-3% of the total population, more likely to
suffer poverty owing to lack of access to, or a low take up of services. The Roma are the
poorest and most marginalised community in Albania. Their children are often not registered
at birth, hence they are excluded from access to education, health care and other social
services they are entitled to. Poverty among Roma is two times higher than among ethnic
Albanians.12

Women in Albania comprise the largest component of the resource-poor. Prevailing
patriarchal culture and practices reinforce structural inequalities between men and women,
and perpetuate the unequal power relations between them.13 This is reflected in UNDP‘s
Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), calculated at the low value of 0.306, and the Gender
Gap Index 2009, where Albania ranks 92th among a total of 134 countries. Women‘s labour
force participation is 30% lower than men‘s.14 Women are more likely to be unemployed and
receive 27% less pay than men in the non-agricultural sector.15 Prior to the elections in June
2009, only 7% of parliamentarians were women. Women‘s representation continues to be
low in high-level elected and appointed bodies both at central and local level, in line with a
generally low level of women‘s participation in all walks of public life.16
6
  IMF (2008) Albania: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Joint Staff Advisory Note:
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2008/cr08270.pdf
7
  INSTAT (2009) Albania: Trends in Poverty 2002 – 2005 -2008:
http://www.instat.gov.al/graphics/doc/downloads/Living%20Standart%20Measurement%20Survey%20
2008.pdf
8
  INSTAT op. cit.
9
  IMF (2008) op. cit.
10
   EC Directorate-general for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (2008) Social
Inclusion and Social Protection in Albania:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/docs/social_inclusion/2008/albania_study_en.pdf
11
   ADC (2007) Albania Country Programme 2007 – 2009:
http://www.entwicklung.at/uploads/media/country_programme_albania.pdf
12
   EC Directorate-general for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (2008) op. cit.
13
   UNDP (2005) National Human Development Report: Pro-Poor and Pro-Women Policies and
Development in Albania, March 2005
14
   World Economic Forum (2009) Global Gender Gap Report 2009
15
   UNDP (2005) ibid.
16
   See INSTAT (2007) Women and Men in Albania 2006 for a range of examples -
http://www.instat.gov.al/graphics/doc/downloads/publikime/femrameshkuj2006.pdf.

                                                                                               3
Domestic violence remains widespread. Many incidents remain unreported, and sound data
is missing.17 Further measures are required to adequately support women victims of
domestic violence, and to increase the level of women‘s general protection from all forms of
violence. While no longer considered a major country of transit, Albania remains a country of
origin of women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced
labour.18 At the policy-level, the government has made some progress by adopting the Law
on Domestic Violence and the Law on Gender Equality in Society, and by preparing the
National Strategy for Gender Equality and Domestic Violence (NSGE-DV). However,
enforcement of these laws and implementation of the strategy are insufficient and need to be
strengthened.


2.2 Regional disparities

Slow progress towards structural and institutional socio-economic reform, the development of
essential infrastructure outside major cities, and also the modernisation and diversification of
the rural economy has led to highly uneven socio-economic development and striking
regional disparities in levels of wealth and access to services, in particular between northern
regions and the capital Tirana. According to the Regional Development Cross-cutting
Strategy (RDCS), poverty is 66% higher in rural areas than in Tirana and 50% higher in rural
areas than in other major urban centres. Tirana has a GDP index of 0.772, compared to a
mere 0.252 for mountainous areas and a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.830 as
against the mountain area HDI score of 0.632. The strategy also cites the following random,
but representative data: the unemployment rate in Kukës is over 3 times higher than in
Tirana, the poverty head count ration in Kukës is over twice that in Vlorë, people in Vlorë are
2.5 times more likely to have access to piped water than someone in Dibër, residents of
Tirana are 2.5 times more likely to have access to medical care than those in Kukës and the
drop-out rate from compulsory education is 10 times higher in Kukës than in Vlorë.

Low levels of development in the regions and lack of economic opportunities have been the
key factors behind an unprecedented internal and external migration over the last two
decades totalling possibly upwards of 850,000, or over 25% of the whole population.19
Between 2005 and 2006 alone the population of Tirana increased by 137,000 and that of
Durrës by 45,000 whilst Dibër‘s population shrank by 43,000 (a 23% reduction in the county‘s
population) and Kukës by 30,000 (a staggering 27% reduction in the county‘s population).20

In the context of the decentralization important responsibilities have been delegated and are
in the process to be transferred from the central level to local governments. The proactive
exercise of these responsibilities in particular requires capacities and in particular political
capabilities to effectively contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction in
order to avoid undesired side-effects such as social inequities and exclusion, vulnerability
and insecurity. Political capabilities such as freedom of assembly and political speech, the
right to political participation and association, etc. need to be further developed in the
targeted qarks.

2.3 Shkodra and Lezha – brief description




17
   EC (2009) Albania Progress Report
18
   EC (2009), ibid.
19
   IOM (2007) The Republic of Albania Migration Profile - http://www.iom.hu/PDFs/Albania-
Migration%20Profile.pdf.
20
   METE (2007) Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy (RDCS), August 2007 –
http://www.mete.gov.al/doc/20080311154055_rdcs_-_final_document_031007.pdf

                                                                                              4
Shkodra and Lezha are two of the four qark or administrative ―regions‖ (literally ―counties‖,
see below section 4.1) which comprise Northern Albania.21 Both qark include urban,
mountain, and coastal environments, but their economies may be broadly divided between
the urban and rural. Shkodra and Lezha are two of the poorest qark in Albania. With the
remaining two northern qark, Dibër and Kukës, Shkodra and Lezha record the lowest poverty
headcount among the country‘s 12 qark, and the lowest regional GDP.22 Some of the worst
rates of unemployment, particularly in the urban economy of Shkodra, which are the highest
in the country,23 are key factors in the regions‘ poverty and considered to contribute
significantly to a variety of social problems, including strikingly high incidences of alcohol and
drug abuse among the youth population.

In rural areas, despite lower rates of unemployment, poverty is still more acute, owing to
inefficient and outdated agricultural practices, the poor quality of much land, small plot size,
lack or irrigation and difficulties in accessing markets. In Lezha, poverty is three times higher
in rural areas than it is in the region‘s towns, with 48% of households classified as poor, while
in Shkodra, the populations of 15 out of 29 communes (first tier of local government
administration, see below section 4.1) are judged to live in extreme poverty.

In keeping with the two qark‘ low levels of development, basic infrastructure, including the
road network, water and sewerage, and service provision, particularly in the rural areas, is
inadequate and below the average standards in the country.


3. Country development strategies

3.1 National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI) and sector strategies

The National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007-2013 (NSDI)24 succeeds the
previous PRSP25 and is the fundamental medium to long-term strategic document for guiding
efforts towards achieving sustainable social and economic development of the country. It is
closely aligned with the reforms and capacity development measures required of the country
for it to attain eventual accession to the European Union (EU), as well as NATO (this last has
already been achieved in April 2009), and it coincides with the financial framework of the EU
and of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in particular. It is further aligned to
existing strategies to achieve the country‘s MDGs by 2015.26

The NSDI is a comprehensive results-oriented development strategy which, based upon, and
in effect composed of 3927 sector and cross-cutting strategies covering the full range of
socio-economic development issues, is a manifesto for integrated development and
coordinated action. It is further integrated into the three-year Medium-Term Budget


21
   Qark is the preferred term throughout the text. Use of the word ―regional‖ and ―region‖ adjectively
also refer the territory covered by the qark. Note also that Lezha and Shkodra are also towns with
corresponding municipal administrations.
22
   METE (2007) Ibid.
23
   UNDP (2005) Promoting Local Development Through MDGs: Shkodra Region -
http://www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,622. Unless otherwise referenced, data in this section is taken
from this report and its sister publication, UNDP (2005) Regional Development Strategy, MDGs: Lezha
Region. - www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,704
24
   See National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007 2013: Progress Report 2006-2007
25
   Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development 2001-2006
26
   See UNDP (2008) Millenium Development Goals Report 2007 - UNDP (2008) -
http://www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,1005
27
   To date only 17 of the 39 strategies have been adopted by the Council of Ministers. The remaining
documents do, however, constitute guiding strategies for government ministries.


                                                                                                    5
Programme (MTBP) which identifies policy objectives as intermediate steps to the
achievement of the NSDI goals.

Of most relevance to the Regional Development Programme are the following two cross-
cutting strategies:

 Local Government and Decentralisation Strategy (LGDS) – has yet to be adopted by
  the government. Its overall goal is to complete the implementation of the decentralisation
  process initiated in 2000 (see below section 4.1) in order to achieve effective,
  participative, democratic, transparent and accountable local governance in line with the
  principle of subsidiarity, as demanded by the EU integration process. (For fuller details of
  LGDS see also section 4.5).

 Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy (RDCS) – is an effort to create a
  coherent integrated response to the marked regional disparities in development and living
  standards throughout the country, the RDCS sets out strategies for establishing
  appropriate decision-making and technical structures at the regional level to make
  effective use of decentralized authority and resources for regional planning, with the
  overall aim of achieving balanced and sustainable socio-economic growth among the
  regions. (See section 5.1 for fuller details of RDCS).

Other sector strategies of relevance to the RDP include:

 Inter-sectoral Rural Development Strategy of Albania 2007 – 2013 (ISRDSA).
  Oriented towards EC guidelines for support to rural development by the European
  Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Objectives are:
      o Sustainable increase of farm income;
      o Sustainable management of natural resources;
      o Creation of new job opportunities and a better quality of life through diversification
          and improved rural infrastructure;
      o Locally community-based development planning.

 Sector Strategy of Agriculture and Food 2007 - 2013 (SSAF). Strategic priorities
  include:
      o To increase financial support for farms, agricultural and agro-processing
         businesses;
      o To improve management, irrigation and drainage of agricultural land;
      o To improve the marketing of agricultural and agro-processing products;
      o To modernise farms and introduce new technologies and up-to-date information
         and knowledge;
      o To increase the quality and food safety of agricultural and agro-processing
         products.

 National Strategy on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence 2007 - 2010. The main
  objective is to achieve gender equality by mainstreaming a gender perspective into all
  aspects of policy and implementation and to promote equal rights and equal access to
  social, economic and political resources for all men and women. In addition to addressing
  the widespread occurrence of domestic violence, the Strategy primarily prioritises on
  women‘s empowerment and their equal access to (and utilization of) all services.

 National Environmental Strategy. Overall this strategy aims to improve environmental
  conditions to bring standards in line with those of the EU. This includes an array of
  objectives concerning management and planning of the local and regional economy in
  areas such as: spatial and development planning, waste management, pollution control,
  drinking water supplies, soil management and control of greenhouse gas emissions.


                                                                                            6
 Social Protection and Social Inclusion Strategy 2008 – 2013 aims at reforming the
  economic assistance scheme for poor families and cash payments for groups in need,
  setting up community social services, protecting children and ensuring social inclusion of
  minorities, the disabled and the elderly. The strategy also provides for decentralisation of
  services to local government.

3.2 Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU:

Albania signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU in June 2006.
As part of the process of preparing Albania for eventual accession to the EU, the SAA
provides a framework of mutual commitments on a wide range of political, trade and
economic issues. The set of standards the SAA requires, reinforced by the short-term and
mid-term priorities specified in the EU Partnership Agreement with Albania, is now the most
important strategic instrument guiding the development process in Albania.

Among the EU‘s immediate concerns28 are:

 The adoption of the NSDI (many of its sector strategies are still to be approved), its full
  integration into the budgetary system and its implementation in support of the country‘s
  commitments to European integration. So far, estimates and performance indicators for
  each of the sectoral strategies under the NSDI remain insufficient and uneven.

 Strengthen democracy and governance: establish effective dialogue between political
  parties, fight the ongoing problem of corruption and implement the anti-corruption
  strategy, carry out judicial reform and bolster the decentralisation process in a range of
  areas (fiscal decentralisation, improve statistics on a regional level, transfer of social
  assistance to local government).

 Strengthen administrative capacity at all levels to prepare the country for implementation
  of the SAA, and also strengthen public-sector governance by improving the quality and
  impartiality of public administration staff.

 Strengthen human rights and in particular take measures to protect the rights of the child,
  counter domestic violence, affirm minority rights and promote gender equality.


4. Local government and decentralisation

4.1 Decentralisation process

In 1991, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the communist regime, Albania
embarked on a process of delegating powers, functions and responsibilities from central
government to local authorities. The decentralisation process, which was substantially
intensified after the entry into force in of the ―Organic Law‖ on Organization and Functioning
of Local Governments No. 8652, in 2000, continues until today.29 This later phase of
decentralisation has involved both a reorganisation of the territorial-administrative units of
local government and the transfer of competencies to local authorities. It was carried out in
response to the dictates of the European Charter on Local Self-Government,30 adopted by
Albania in 1998, which hold that public services should preferably be provided by those

28
   See EC (2008) Albania Progress Report, Brussels: 5 November 2008; and EU (2008) Partnership
Agreement with Albania, Brussels: 12 February 2008
29
   See Feasibility study, Annex 2: ―Short Note on Decentralisation‖ for fuller details of the
decentralisation process.
30
   European Charter of Local Self-Government:
http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/122.htm

                                                                                                 7
authorities closest to the citizens – the principle of subsidiarity – and that a higher level
administrative body should only be chosen when it is either impossible or too inefficient to
carry out the service at the lowest level.

Decentralisation is considered one of the more important political and institutional reforms
necessary for fulfilling the implementation criteria of the SAA, and this is reflected in the
importance accorded to it in Albania‘s National Plan for Implementation of the Stabilisation
and Association Agreement.

The two tiers of local government in Albania - municipalities and communes, and regions -
are defined by the country‘s constitution. Any other local governments that might be set up
are to be regulated by law. The two tiers are as follows:

 1st tier municipalities and communes (already in existence), whose assembly members
  are directly elected via a proportional representation voting system, and whose mayors
  are also directly elected according to a majority rule. These are the principal local
  government units or LGUs. There is no formal distinction between municipalities and
  communes, although the former tend to cover urban areas with populations of over
  5,000, while the latter tend to cover rural territories which very often will have smaller
  populations. Currently there are 65 municipalities and 308 communes in Albania.

 2nd tier qark, or ―counties‖ (literal translation) or ―regions,‖ encompassing a non-
  determined number of municipalities and communes. Regional councillors are in effect
  delegated authorities, as they are selected by the members of the municipal and
  communal councils, in addition to their respective mayors. The councillors elect the head
  of the qark who is also the chief executive office (CEO) of the regional administration.

The law ―On the organisation and functioning of Local Government‖ (Law No. 8652), or the
―Organic Law,‖ provided for the transfer of competencies and public services to local
government, in particular to the municipalities and communes. In doing so it establishes the
right of local government to act independently of central government, including the right to
raise revenues and set expenditure priorities within an autonomous budget. Additional laws
over the period 2000 – 2003 established the necessary conditions for fiscal decentralisation,
local tax collection and the transfer of state properties to local administrations.

The transfer of competencies has not involved the complete devolution or passing over of
total authority in all cases. Local authorities carry out three types of functions which are
differentiated by the degree of control they exercise over their planning and implementation:

 Exclusive functions: Fully devolved services for which local government has full
  responsibility for policy, planning (including budgeting) and execution;

 Shared functions: Responsibility is shared between central and local government. In
  reality, central government maintains the lions share of authority and the local authority is
  often assigned a minor role in execution alone; e.g. the maintenance of school buildings
  by municipalities and communes for the shared function of education. There is often very
  little difference in practice between shared functions and the delegated functions, defined
  below.

 Delegated functions: Executive functions assigned to the local authority according to
  centrally determined policy and budgets.




                                                                                             8
4.2 Fiscal decentralisation and financing of local government.

The decentralisation process has conferred a high level of responsibility for decisions
concerning budget allocation on the LGUs, as well as creating opportunities for the LGUs to
develop a degree of financial autonomy through limited revenue-raising powers.

The bulk of municipal / communal revenues are composed of central government grants. An
unconditional grant covers around 50% of local budgets and is intended to finance
municipalities‘ and communes‘ exclusive functions. This is calculated afresh each year
mainly on the basis of LGU population, but the grant also includes a significant redistributive
element aimed at promoting the smaller and poorer municipalities. Conditional grants are
used to finance ―shared‖ functions of the LGUs, while competitive grants were introduced in
2006 to finance small-scale capital investments in local infrastructure.

Since 2003, LGUs have gained the right to collect a number of local taxes, the most
significant of which in terms of potential revenue are the local property tax and a small
business tax. In 2008 a law ―On Local Government Borrowing‖ (Law No. 9869) enabled the
local government borrowing for both operational and capital investment purposes31. LGUs,
however, remain largely dependent on central government.

The qark are more restricted in their fiscal autonomy and scope. Their operations are funded
mainly from a proportion of the unconditional grant, currently 9% of the total32. In addition to
this, all municipalities and communes within a particular qark territory contribute a fixed
percentage of their own revenues. In the case of delegated competencies, municipalities and
communes also transfer the necessary funds to the qark council.

4.3 Local government functions and responsibilities and de-concentrated services

Under the Organic Law service provision and administrative functions at the sub-national
level are assigned in the following way:

4.3.1 Functions of Municipalities and Communes

 Exclusive functions: Water supply – construction, supply, maintenance, local roads –
  construction and maintenance, street lighting, public transport, urban planning and local
  economic development, solid waste collection and city cleaning, sewerage and waste
  water, cultural heritage, sport and recreation, public cemeteries, social services -
  nurseries and homes for the elderly.

 Shared functions: Primary health care. Primary and secondary education, public order,
  environmental protection.

 Delegated functions: Civil registry, social assistance.

4.3.2 Functions of Qark

According on the organic law on ―Organization and functioning of local governments‖ the
Qark has to fulfil the following functions which can be assigned by three levels:

 Developing and implementing regional policies and harmonizing them with the national
  policies at the regional level



31
     Dorina, N. (2008) Fiscal Decentralisation and Financial Management in Albania
32
     ibid

                                                                                              9
 Performing           of      other        exclusive        functions       given        by         law

 Implementing tasks and functions that are assigned to the Qark by one or more
  communes or municipalities within the region in accordance to a mutual agreement.

 Performing those functions delegated to to qarks by the central government


4.3.3 De-concentrated services

Decentralisation of services is far from comprehensive. Central government retains full
control over a large range of services and functions carried out at the regional, local and
even district33 levels through de-concentrated government agencies operating under the
direct control of their respective line ministries. At the regional level, coordination of policy
and activities of these agencies falls to the Prefect, appointed by the Prime Minister. This is a
challenging task as the prefect‘s powers are limited and there is often a wide array of de-
concentrated institutions (up to 52 in Shkodra region, for example). Although the boundaries
of the prefecture coincide with that of the qark, there is no interdependent relationship
between the prefect and the regional council and its executive.

4.3.4 Local government associations

Local governments are represented by three national associations: the Albanian Association
of Municipalities, the Albanian Association of Communes, and the Albanian Association of
Qark. All three, despite clearly limited organisational capacities, have an important role in
advocating the interests of their respective local government administration members,
particularly in regard to the decentralisation process.

4.4 Challenges to decentralisation34

At the level of the municipality / commune the transfer of competencies is not yet complete
which is causing inevitable dislocations in service delivery. In some cases gaps remain in the
necessary enabling legislation (e.g. urban planning), while in others the transfer of property
has been delayed (e.g. roads, water supply and sewerage), though the NSDI predicts that
this process will be completed during the course of 2009. In many cases the necessary
finances are not in place and a common difficulty is the lack of technical and administrative
capacity at the local level. This last challenge is particularly evident in the smaller, rural
communes where quality human resources with the required education and experience are
in short supply.

Sometimes, the competencies transferred to the municipality or commune would be better
dealt with at a higher level for reasons of economic efficiency or organisational feasibility and
effectiveness. Solid waste management is an often-cited example of a service that might be
eventually transferred to the qark level, but in the instance of smaller local government units,
in particular, there is a case for establishing formal inter-communal cooperation in a variety of
areas. And even in most areas of exclusive functions (ex. rural roads, water supply,
sewerage) the municipalities and communes are not in a vacuum: they have to take into
account the national and regional framework as well as their neighbours needs and activities.
While the Organic Law foresees the possibility of inter-communal cooperation, such
arrangements are rare and there are no real incentives for greater collaboration between
municipalities and communes, while the realities of neighbours is very much interlinked.

33
   A unit of government administration between that of the regions and the municipalities and
communes which was abolished in favour of the regions in the territorial-administrative reforms of
2000
34
   This section refers extensively to the Feasibility study chapter 3.2.

                                                                                                     10
Overall, local government service delivery, spread over 373 LGUs, is fragmented and lacking
an adequate institutional framework. There is a case to be made for both LGU mergers and
also the empowering of the qark to play a coordination role.

On the supply-side, achieving adequate levels of finance for service delivery remains a
challenge to all LGUs. Collection of local taxes, principally the property tax, is poorly
executed, limiting both total revenue available and revenue free from central government
control. In smaller, rural LGUs where there is limited business activity, the scope for local tax
collection is often severely restricted. On the client-side, access to and utilization of services
provided by LGUs (including standards and quality) remains a problem, especially for
resource-poor citizens, members of marginalised groups, the rural population, and women.
Monitoring of equitable service delivery has not yet become an integral part of the
development planning cycle.

The aspect of equal and inclusive participation is a major challenge. This involves both sides:
challenges in providing an enabling framework from the side of local governments (who are
often not aware and/or capable in participatory procedures) on one hand and also a weak
civil society (especially representing women, the poor, marginalised and vulnerable), which
lacks the power and the voice to articulate their interests and priorities on the other hand.

Accessing capital funding is a major challenge to all LGUs. The system of competitive grants
is not large enough to contribute significantly to larger capital projects. All locally provided
services are short of capital investment. Municipal / communal planning departments are
generally short of the skills required to identify and develop fundable project proposals.

At the regional level, the qark remain small, poorly capacitated administrative units whose
role continues to evolve. The principle challenge they face is to achieve consensus at all
levels of government as to the exact nature of the qark‘ competencies, powers and
responsibilities. This should include the development of a clearly specified role in
coordinating local government and mediating between central government, including de-
concentrated central government agencies, and the LGU level. Despite the qark‘ clearly
assigned task of undertaking and coordinating regional development planning, there is no
clear role for them in facilitating municipal / communal planning activities, or promoting inter-
communal cooperation.

As indirectly elected bodies representing territories which historically have not relevant to
regional identities, and with effective authority delegated from municipalities and communes
with their own interests, the qark are lacking democratic legitimacy, popular support and a
clear mandate.

Qark are ill-equipped to carry out their regional development tasks. Despite the presence of a
Directorate of Programming and Development in all regions, on the operational level, qark
officers do not possess sufficient skills to properly develop and implement plans based on
sound analysis, problem solution, and strategic decision making capacities, they lack the
required experience and/or technical PCM skills to carry out the regional planning; and they
also lack the authority as well as the institutional support to play a lead role in the
coordination and implementation of Regional Development Plans. Furthermore, the Qark
officers should play a crucial role in the evaluation and monitoring of these plans.

In addition, qarks lack both the fiscal autonomy and the financial means to carry out their
duties in regional development and any other areas of service provision that may be
delegated to or defined for them. Transfers from central government are seemingly
insufficient and those from municipalities and communes frequently remain unpaid.



                                                                                               11
4.5 Local Government and Decentralisation Strategy (LGDS)

Responsibility for local government at the central level lies with the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
In support of the NSDI the MOI has developed the Local Government and Decentralisation
Strategy (LGDS) with an overall goal to advance the continued implementation of the
decentralisation process. It plans to:
 Carry out territorial reform, reducing the number of LGU;
 Establish a form of direct election for qark governments, and also re-think the financing
    and competences at qark level, while maintaining their focus on regional planning and
    coordination;
 Develop an integrated financial framework for local government;
 Develop a legal framework for shared functions with line ministries;
 Develop and implement standards for local services;
 Develop technical guidance and build local capacity.

With regard to promoting regional development and to empowering qark to play an enhanced
role in this field and act as an intermediary between central and local government, the LGDS
makes a number of specific recommendations:

 ―Determine the role of region[al] council[s] as the harmonizer and coordinator of the
  reform process, respecting the role of the first level of local government;‖
 ―The region[al] council needs a well-organised and systematic information [system] in
  order to fulfil [its] coordinating mission drafting and implementing regional strategies for
  socio-economic development;‖
 ―Matching [existing] regional development plans with […] national priorities and the
  priorities of municipalities and communes;‖
 ―[Existing] development strategies should be improved and translated into documents in
  support of financial planning, matching costs with financial resources for […]
  implementation by LGUs.‖
 Undertake an analysis of the legal framework governing qark responsibilities in order to
  achieve a clearer definition. ―A new law of the Region, its composition, competencies and
  size should be taken into consideration.‖
 Institutionalise relations between qark and LGUs for drafting and implementing
  development programmes. This is to include programme drafting, project writing and the
  process of seeking approval and funding, as well as information exchange during
  programme implementation;
 ―There are functions and competencies [of central government] which, in order to be
  close to the stakeholders, need further de-concentration and which can be delegated to
  regions.‖


5. Regional Development

5.1 Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy 2007-2013 (RDCS)

Within the scope of the NSDI, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Enterprise (METE) has
developed the Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy 2007-2013 (RDCS) in an
effort to create a coherent integrated response to the marked regional disparities in
development and living standards throughout the country. The RDCS‘s main aim is to
achieve ―balanced and sustainable socio-economic growth among the regions, in particular
the mountainous and peripheral areas, in order to support [accelerated] development of the
whole country.‖ It has a parallel aim to further Albania‘s path towards EU integration by
contributing to the fulfilment of EU requirements for decentralized government and regional
development. In particular it sets out strategies for establishing appropriate decision-making
and technical structures at the regional level to make effective use of decentralized authority
and resources for regional planning, which, complementarily to the distribution of Albanian

                                                                                               12
public funds, will contribute to a national institutional system for absorbing EU support for
regional development in the future – firstly IPA component 3 when Albania is awarded
candidate status, and further down the line, structural funds when the country eventually
accedes to the EU.

While the LDS mentions only sporadically the participation of all levels of governance
inclusively the third sector into the planning and implementation process the RDCS highlights
the need for a systematically participatory process in the formulation, implementation and
monitoring of the regional development plans.

The RDCS will be achieved through two strategic objectives

1. To ensure that all counties regions are enabled to contribute to sustainable development
   and competitiveness – and thus reduce social and economic disparities across the
   country.
2. To set in place an efficient management framework for regional development.

Strategic objective 1. will be achieved through the delivery of two programmes: the National
Programme for the Development of Counties and the Disadvantaged Areas
Development Programme.

Strategic Objective 2. will be achieved through development of a new legal framework or
“Law on Regional Development” and associated secondary legislation and the
development of the necessary institutional structures to manage its regional policy.

5.1.1 National Programme for the Development of Counties [“Regions”] NPDC

The purpose of this programme is to facilitate the establishment of a single regional
development planning and management system in the country. It introduces a set of new
elements to the creation of regional policy in Albania in terms of:

A. Policy and its instruments:

 A single policy framework for the socio-economic development of the regions, taking into
  account their specific development needs of the qark;
 A single socio-economic development programming document or regional development
  strategy;
 The concept of a regional development agreement, a multi-annual strategic, operational
  and financial plan setting out central government support for development priorities in
  each of the qark;

B. The institutional framework:

 A National Partnership Council for Regional Development, or national-level advisory body
  bringing together representatives of government ministries, qark and local governments,
  the social partners and civil society;
 An expanded department for Integrated Regional Development within METE, for
  managing Albanian regional policy and for the future implementation of EU regional
  policy.
 A new partnership between national, qark, municipal and commune stakeholders,
  including business and civil society, in the form of Regional Partnership Councils or
  regional advisory bodies;
 A single regional /qark-level agency (or regional development agency) to coordinate the
  process of regional development planning and its implementation, monitoring and
  evaluation.


                                                                                          13
5.1.2 Disadvantaged Areas Development Programme (DADP)

With this proposed instrument, qark, municipalities and communes in disadvantaged regions,
identified on the basis of statistical poverty indicators, will qualify for ―top-up‖ funding from a
specially allocated DADP budget. Funding will be administered through the relevant central
line ministries through specially agreed measures to target marginalized (and vulnerable)
groups and relevant (inclusive socio-economic) services in the qualifying regions.

5.1.3 Financing and implementing the RDCS

The RDCS is designed to be neutral in budgetary terms; that is the majority of financing for
the RDCS will be contained within existing sectoral strategies and budget provision. This
includes the investment priorities and projects contained within the prospective regional
development strategies, on the basis that line ministries will utilise an element of their
existing national investment budget to help support investments foreseen in the regional
strategies. Given the weighty capital investments that the regional planning process is likely
to identify, the above design is probably overambitious.

Implementation of the RDCS is yet to commence in earnest. METE and the government
more generally have yet to publish concrete plans for creating the institutional framework and
strengthening capacities for implementing the strategy. UNDP supported by the EC
delegation to Albania are currently in the process of preparing an intervention aimed at
assisting the institutional process at the central level (see below section 6.1).

5.2 EU perspective to regional development

The various policy and institutional instruments foreseen by the RDCS for achieving regional
development, in particular the single regional development agency (RDA), are clearly
inspired by previous EU-supported initiatives in regional development, both among EU
member states and also pre-accession countries. Regional development is an integral part
of internal EU development policy aiming to reduce the gap between the development levels
of various regions and to promote social cohesion. The concept of RDAs has been applied
extensively in the post-2004 EU members as a channel for administering structural funds to
stimulate economic growth with the ultimate aim of the new states achieving economic and
social ―convergence‖ with the original 15 members. In the current pre-accession countries
RDAs have been established using varying organisational models, but typically they act as
project identification and preparation units for a range of regional or multi-municipality
projects to create a ―pipeline‖ through which EC funds for regional development (under IPA
component 3) will be made available when the country qualifies by gaining candidate
status.35

The establishment of a new institutional framework for implementing IPA assistance, in
coordination with national policy, is a precursor to and mirrors the post-accession institutional
arrangements necessary for the utilization of the various EU structural and cohesion funds.
This process of institutional building and capacity development for pre-accession countries
still undergoing economic and political transition, such as Albania, is long and exacting and
there is pressure for it to commence as soon as is practicably possible.

The EU accession process demands the statistical division of the country according to NUTS
nomenclature.36 The development of options for a sub-division of the country according to a
NUTS 2 classification (normally according to population units of between 800,000 and 3
million) is a prerequisite for receiving structural funds. There is currently some confusion in
Albania as to whether this means that pursuing institutional building and capacity

35
     See http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/
36
     NUTS: Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics.

                                                                                                14
development for regional development at the regional or qark level is undesirable, as the
average population of the qark is only 260,000, thus giving them a notional NUTS 3
classification. However, while the NUTS 2 division is the level through which EU structural
funds will be channelled, experience from other countries previously acceding to the EU
shows that NUTS 3 is the level where RDAs are most likely to be located and where regional
development planning is carried out.

5.3 Achieving regional development through support to decentralisation

The key finding of the feasibility study for the RDP was that the challenges to achieving
regional development in Albania can only be met through continued support to the
decentralisation process. The RDCS envisages the establishment of a number of regional
and national mechanisms and institutions for planning and implementing regional
development, but they will be unable to realise regional development alone and without full
integration into the overall system of decentralised governance. Central and local
authorities, de-concentrated and decentralised services will have to continue to fulfil their
tasks, deliver public services and play substantive roles in all regional development initiatives
according to their legal competences and responsibilities.

Progress towards regional development will be greatly enhanced by effective action towards
meeting the principle challenge facing decentralisation; that is, building an effective
institutional framework for inclusive, gender-equitable and demand-driven service delivery.
This includes improving the definition of the -roles and competencies of local government
(LGUs and qark), completing the transfer of competencies from central to local government,
facilitating adequate funding mechanisms for local service delivery, establishing greater
cooperation within local government, both horizontally (between LGUs and between qark)
and vertically (between LGUs and their respective qark), involving civil society / non-state
actors in decision-making processes at local level, setting and agreeing on goals and
objectives regarding sustainable development outcomes; and addressing organisational and
technical capacity shortfalls, especially at the qark level of administration.


6. Ongoing programmes and projects in Albania on regional development and
decentralisation

To date no initiatives have been undertaken which have explicitly linked support to both
decentralisation and regional development in Albania. Projects and programmes continue to
focus exclusively on either decentralisation or regional development.

SDC is currently implementing the Decentralisation and Local Development Programme
in the Shkodra Region (DLDP), which provides significant capacity development support to
LGUs over three distinct phases in a way which is complementary to the RDP and
contributes to creating an enabling environment for regional planning.

Phase 1 (January 2006 – December 2009) focuses on 8 LGUs in the following five fields of
activity: (i) Local strategic as well as territorial management & planning, (ii)
Municipal/Communal public services provision and management support to improve the
functioning of the local Councils, (iii) Municipal/Communal financial management, (iv)
Participation of civil society in public decision making processes, and (v) Inter-municipal and
communal exchange and cooperation.

Phase 2. Initially, it was envisaged that DLDP would scale up to qark level and include
support to the regional development process. With a view to aligning national priorities in
decentralization and regional development, and joining forces, SDC agreed with ADC to
carry out a common feasibility study for a joint programme linking regional development and
decentralization. The feasibility study proposed to integrate DLDP with the new joint

                                                                                              15
programme. For various reasons, SDC decided to continue with DLDP separately, but to
plan Phase 2 in such a way that it would complement the new RDP. While the RDP will
focus on the second level of decentralized government, the qark, the DLDP will continue to
centre on strengthening the first level of local government, the municipalities and communes.

6.1 Programmes and projects to promote regional development in Albania

 EC-UNDP- funded project: Integrated Support for Decentralisation: Still in its
  preparatory phase, this intends to assist the Albanian government to prepare the
  necessary institutional and legislative frameworks for managing IPA component 3 on
  regional development, including establishing the coordination bodies at the central level
  specified in the RCCS. In addition, the project will support a number of qark to establish
  the decision-making and technical structures for using decentralised authority to plan and
  implement regional development. This supports builds upon the former UNDP MDG-
  oriented Regional Development Plans: Over the course of 2004 – 2005 UNDP
  produced sub-national MDG reports based on Albania‘s 12 qark which were intended to
  catalyse regional and local action on MDGs. These are the first concerted effort at
  regional planning.

 EPTISA Regional Plan for Shkodra and Lezha: A full comprehensive regional spatial
  plan for the combined region of Shkodra and Lezha qark, funded by the EC. Carried out
  in 2005. While now somewhat dated and not aligned with the regional administrative
  units, it remains a primary reference for qark and LGUs.

 German Technical Cooperation and SNV are supporting the development of regional
  development planning in Shkodra & Lezha.

6.2 Programme and projects to promote decentralisation in Albania

 USAID Local Government Programme (2007 – 2011): Focusing on economic
  development and improving local governance, this programme assists 10 municipalities
  to better plan for, attract and utilize investment opportunities, while also strengthening
  their capacities to effectively and efficiently manage public resources.

 SNV / Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands: Support Programme for
  Strenghtening Local Governance in the Dibër Qark (2007-2010) In addition to
  providing LGUs with capacity assistance for strategic development planning and
  implementation, this programme has piloted a locally owned trust fund administered by
  the qark for investment projects by LGUs.

 Swedish Cooperation – SIDA and FLAG (Albanian NGO): Development of the
  Albanian Association of Communes (DAAC) (2005 – 2009): Capacity support in the
  following areas: finance, strategic planning, internal democracy and organisational
  governance, conducting training needs assessments and advocacy and policy dialogue.
  SIDA has also been active in supportng LGUs, qark and ministies improve regional
  development planning.

 Co-PLAN (Albanian NGO): has promoted regional development planning in Fier qark and
  has been active in facilitating urban and municipal planning at the local government level,
  and promoting the capacity building of public administrations throughout Albania for over
  10 years.

 Urban Research Institute is currently active in local economic development planning in
  Southern Albania.



                                                                                          16
 DELTA follow-up: FLAG is currently undertaking the follow-up to the World Bank-
  supported to LED strategic planning carried out in Shkodra and Lezha municipalities in
  2005. This involves monitoring, assessment, evaluation and review. FLAG also
  conducted a SWOT analysis for Shkodra qark in late 2008.

 CANGO (an Albanian NGO established by CAFOD Albania) is working with first tier
  LGUs in shkodra and Lezha Regions on LED Strategic Planning. To date strategic plans
  and community profiles have been developed for three communes in Shkodra Region
  (Kastratit, Kelmend and Gruemire) and three communes (Fan, Orosh, Kacinar) and one
  municipality (Rreshen) in Lezha Region. CANGO is currently carrying out developed of
  plans for the communes of Selita and Kthella.

 IDM – Institute for Democracy and Mediation – is engaged in promoting Local
  Economic Development through Local Action Groups (community-based organisations
  composed of public and private stakeholders) in the Shkodra region.

 Albanian Development Fund is undertaking strategic planning in the commune of
  Velipoja in Shkodra region.

 PARTNERS Albania is providing support for increasing transparent governance and
  civic participation in the decision-making process in Lezha municipality under its
  Improving Performance and Accountability in Local Government Citizen Participation
  project.


7. Outline of programme intervention

In the context of ADC and SDC‘s above-described mutual interests and complementary
policies, and on the basis of the development challenges identified and the gaps and
opportunities afforded by ongoing programmes and projects in Northern Albania, ADC and
SDC will support the implementation of a joint programme linking the processes of
decentralisation and regional development, with a focus on strengthening decentralisation at
the second level of local government, the qark.

The rationale guiding the proposed action is that regional development initiatives and
decentralisation support targeting disadvantaged regions will have a strong impact on social
cohesion and sustainable regional development if they are brought together in a systemic
perspective. By the same token regional development programmes involving local
governments regularly necessitate the strengthening of these decentralised institutions.
Although a variety of other interventions are underway in the fields of both decentralisation
and regional development in Northern Albania, this action aims to ‗close the gap‘ between
these two fields by integrated support which builds upon their synergistic relationship.

Following the recommendations of the feasibility study, this programme aims to promote
regional development by not only developing effective regional mechanisms and institutions
for planning and implementing regional development, but also by strengthening the
institutional framework for decentralised service delivery and the overall system of
decentralised governance.37

7.1 Overall objective

 Equitable social and economic development in Shkodra and Lezha regions

7.2 Specific objective

37
     See above section 5.3, and also Feasibility Study, Annex B

                                                                                          17
 Equal access of all citizens38 to and utilization of quality public services and economic
  opportunities in the Qark of Lezha and Shkodra is significantly increased through
  strengthened Qark institutions


7.3 Expected results and suggested interventions

ER1. An effective institutional framework for decentralisation, which aims at equitable
development outcomes, is supported

The following interventions aim to contribute at the central level to the effectiveness of the
ongoing decentralisation process in support of regional development, ensuring that required
policy frameworks, structures and processes are in place:

 Support the MOI to carry out a comprehensive review of qark competencies, including an
  assessment of the legal framework governing them, in order to define the qark roles,
  responsibilities and functions and also to identify gaps and opportunities for increased
  engagement of qark and advancing of the decentralisation process;
 Facilitate improved and more efficient financial decentralisation by central government to
  the regions and the municipalities / communes;
 Assist in formulating secondary laws and regulations where necessary on specific issues
  related to the programme;
 Support the establishment of coordination mechanisms between the three levels of
  government (central (in particular METE and MOI), qark, municipal/commune) in all
  relevant areas of administration and service provision in the regions of Lezha and
  Shkodra, in order to ensure synergies of existing expertise at all levels, effective
  exchange of information and efficient use of resources;
 Contribute to developing a platform and an accompanying set of instruments providing
  transparent information to all actors, including central government officers, qark,
  municipal / commune officers, and citizens concerning the respective roles, functions and
  competencies of the different levels of government administration and the structures of
  the various government administrations and agencies.

ER2. Capacities of qark for regional development planning and delegated functions
are strengthened

This result area focuses on the development of the necessary institutional structures and
capacities at the regional level of decentralised administrations. In this respect the following
interventions are foreseen:

 Facilitate a systematic assessment of the existing capacities - by taking into account the
  individual and institutional level as well as their respective environment - at the qark level
  and the identification of required capacities development measures in order to enabling
  them to carry out their exclusive and delegated functions;
 Support the establishment of required institutional structures, such as
  - a professional regional development body, situated within or at the qark, being involved
  (responsible) with participatory planning, promoting, coordination of implementation and
  financial management (as well as monitoring and evaluation) of inclusive and gender-
  sensitive regional development processes in the qark region;
  - an advisory and consultative committee within or at the qark composed of
  representatives of all development actors in the qark, which will provide the regional
  development body with oversight, strategic decision-making, expert advice and gender-
  sensitive monitoring and evaluation;

38
     In line with the overall equity goal, ―citizens― refers to women, men, girls and boys alike.

                                                                                                    18
  - a technical assistance unit within the qark, which will provide skills development
  services such as training, information and mentoring in PCM and related competences to
  municipalities / communes and also to civil society actors at the local level;
  In addition, this unit will receive training for assisting local and regional actors access and
  manage EC funding.
 Promote capacity development according to local demand and requirements for
  - the qark for efficient delivery of delegated functions (such as, urban planning, buildings
  inspectorate), as well as qark management and administration;
  - the established institutional structures – regional development body, advisory and
  consultative committee and technical assistance unit – for efficient carrying out of tasks
  and functions;
  - all stakeholders at local level (such as civil society organisation, private sector
  representatives etc.) in order to ensure inclusive and equal participation in local
  development planning and decision-making processes.

ER3. Comprehensive regional development planning and budgeting processes in
Shkodra and Lezha regions is developed and institutionalized

This area will comprise the following interventions at regional level:

 Facilitate the development of comprehensive, participatory regional development
  strategies and accompanying action plans and budgets for Lezha and Shkodra qark in
  line with the national cross-cutting strategy for regional development. The process will
  include:
  o Analysis of all previous regional development plans;
  o Analysis and incorporation of all current municipal / commune local economic plans,
      social plans, strategic plans, urban plans etc;
  o Alignment with all relevant national development and sectoral and cross-cutting
      strategies (gender equality, social inclusion & protection etc)
  o Comprehensive and participatory needs assessment and data collection process,
      involving all actors – central and local government, private sector and, civil society
      representatives – in the discussion concerning their respective problems, potentials,
      interests and priorities.
 Support the development of operational and financial plans at qark level investment,
  outlining development priorities and the respective capital investments necessary to
  achieve the regional development plans and the probable sources of funding.
 Develop a database or similar form of data storage and management system with data
  collected in the development planning process concerning all areas of social and
  economic development for the qark region, disaggregated wherever possible according
  to municipality / commune and wherever applicable disaggregated by sex, in order to
  contribute to the statistical knowledge base in the region, but also to establish a form of
  baseline for monitoring equitable and inclusive local and regional development progress
  and outcome.

ER4. Regional development accelerated through project initiatives and effective
implementation

This area aims to increase the capacities of regional and local administrations for managing
future EC and other funding in support of inclusive and sustainable regional development,
through assistance with project design and fundraising, funding of project and technical
assistance for programme management, monitoring and evaluation.               Establishing a
programme fund is intended to stimulate a project pipeline from regional and local actors
oriented towards potential IPA and national sources of finance:

 Assist in project formulation, design and financing ensuring. This includes lobbying for
  support within central government line ministries, cooperation with the EC and liaising

                                                                                              19
  with other donors. In addition, support will be offered to municipalities to incorporate their
  projects annual municipal and central programme budgeting;
 Facilitate the establishment of a RDP programme fund at the qark level which will finance
  regional projects consistent with the regional development plan. Two types of grant will
  be offered:

    1. Small grants for socio-economic activities and small-scale infrastructure projects
       designed and implemented at the local level based on Call for Proposals / Call for
       Tenders. Full criteria will be developed by the project in cooperation with the future
       fund‘s governing body but will include:
       o Projects must be in accordance with the regional development plan
       o Projects must be inter-communal, involving two or more municipalities /
          communes;
       o Projects must be socially inclusive, targeting poor, marginalised and vulnerable
          population groups, and gender-equitable;
       o Projects must include environmental safeguards
       o Projects must be co-funded, with contributions made by the participating
          municipalities / communes;

    2. Potentially larger grants dealt with by the regional development body for financing
       pre-feasibility or feasibility studies for large-scale regional projects, probably in
       infrastructure or natural resource use and management.

 Support effective project implementation and result-based management as well as result-
  oriented monitoring and evaluation through training, coaching and technical assistance.

7.4 Target Groups and other stakeholders

7.4.1 Direct Beneficiaries

 Shkodra and Lezha qark
 MOI & METE

7.4.2 Indirect Beneficiaries

   Municipalities / Communes
   Local private businesses
   Civil society
   De-concentrated government agencies
   Albanian Association of Regions
   Citizens – especially the resource-poor, marginalised and vulnerable, especially women

7.4.3 Other stakeholders

 Albanian. Assoc. of Municipalities, Albanian Assoc. of Communes, UNDP, GTZ, USAID,
  FLAG, IDM, Co-Plan, Partners Albania, OSCE

7.4.4 Geographic area

 Shkodra and Lezha qark


8. Risks and Assumptions

8.1 Assumptions underlying the project intervention


                                                                                             20
 Central government continues to support both regional development and decentralisation
  and is committed to implementing the RDCS and LGDS. METE and MOI cooperate
  through their active participation in the programme, while all other relevant ministries and
  government institutions pursue regional development as a common objective.

 Municipalities and communes understand the purpose of regional development and the
  project objectives and are ready to cooperate actively in planning and implementing
  (monitoring) regional development projects.

 Central and local authorities, de-concentrated and decentralised institutions continue to
  fulfil their tasks, deliver public services according to their legal competences and
  responsibilities.

 Albania continues to make progress towards EU integration through the implementation
  of its SAA, thus providing local and regional governments the incentive of eventual
  access to further EU funds, firstly in the pre-accession stage (IPA funds) and ultimately
  as a member of the EU (structural funds).

 Central and local governments increasingly take concrete actions in their own right to
  enforce laws and to implement national strategies that explicitly aim at equitable
  development outcomes (social inclusion, anti-discrimination, gender equality).

8.2 Risks

 Rivalry among government ministries and institutions hampers common efforts towards
  achieving regional development and further implementation of decentralisation;

 LGUs (municipalities and communes) do not understand fully the project purpose and the
  potential shared benefits of regional planning and are either unwilling to participate fully in
  the project or continue to carry out local development planning in isolation and in
  competition with neighbouring LGUs.

 Qark administrations are unable to establish effective coordination between local (LGU)
  and central level government administrations for implementation of both decentralisation
  and regional development.

 Civil servants within qark administrations who are included in the programmes capacity
  development measures deny the qark the benefits of their newly acquired capacities by
  finding better paid employment elsewhere or being displaced due to political reasons.

 The rights and interests of poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups, particularly women,
  and their legal representatives are not integrated adequately enough into project activities
  at the local level.

 Engagement in governance efforts that are envisaged to be undertaken jointly, tends to
  happen along party-politics and does not necessarily center around a common and
  result-based development goal

 Patriarchal and male-dominated governance structures maintain the systemic exclusion
  of female citizens and other disenfranchised groups from management, reform and
  decision-making processes.


9. Programme Implementation

9.1 International agreements and guiding programme principles

                                                                                              21
International agreements

 The principles and the values of the ―European Charter on development cooperation in
  support of local governance‖ will be fully respected
 All interventions should be guided by the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, as well
  as the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA);
 Interventions are designed to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs in general and
  in particular those which are essential to sustainable development of social, economic
  and political capabilities of citizens: These include MDGs 1 and 3 on poverty reduction,
  and gender equality and women‘s empowerment respectively, as well as MDG 9, on
  good governance, specially adopted to meet the challenges of the Albanian context;

Guiding principles
 Participatory programme design and implementation, where Albanian stakeholders play
   an important role in shaping and implementing the intervention;
 Transparency among all stakeholders and accountability towards the Albanian citizens,
   and participative monitoring;
 Gender mainstreaming and women‘s empowerment will be pursued in all interventions.
 Applying best development practice such as baseline survey, in-depth assessment and
   contextual analysis, result-oriented monitoring & evaluation plans, reflective practice and
   joint learning, programme adjustments and evaluations;
 All interventions need to be environmentally sound and promote the responsible use of
   natural resources.
 NSDI and sector strategies: Design and implementation of all activities in line with
   existing national and local development strategies and in coordination with main actors /
   interventions in the field;
 Building on existing experiences, processes, and structures in the region: DLDP, UNDP,
   SNV & GTZ, as well as activities carried out by the regional, municipal and communal
   structures / institutions
 Work to complement the DLDP programme;

9.2 Approaches to be adhered to under the programme

 All interventions are guided by a human rights-based approach (HRBA) which includes
  the principles of good governance: non-discrimination and equality, inclusive
  participation, transparency and accountability
 Promote cooperation among the public and private sector as well as civil society;
 Co-financing by local partners – communities, municipalities / communes, qark and
  central government – for implementation of individual projects;
 Maximise inclusive local participation and strengthen existing capacities;
 Promoting local ownership and responsibility;
 Adopt an integrated approach to development by promoting linkages between macro,
  meso and micro level, and also complement top-down with bottom-up initiatives;
  Maximise coordination through ensuring adequate information and communication flows;
 Awareness raising and transparency;
 Advocacy and policy influencing.
 Targeting of poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups, and disadvantaged areas

9.3 Personnel and key expert inputs

A prerequisite for all experts and project staff is a good command of written and spoken
English.

9.3.1 Long-term experts.


                                                                                           22
Tenderers are invited to submit the CV‘s of the following three long-term experts:

 International Team leader - 48 months
      o Programme management and leadership skills
      o Facilitation skills
      o Experience as team leader
      o Expertise in either decentralisation or regional development
      o Experience in Transition countries
      o Experience in advocacy, policy dialogue and lobbying with governments
      o Gender expertise and skills are desired

 National Deputy Team Leader - 48 months
     o Programme management and leadership skills
     o Facilitation skills
     o Expertise in either decentralisation or regional development
     o Training skills in programme area
     o Experience in advocacy, policy dialogue and lobbying with governments
     o Regional experience
     o Gender expertise and skills are desired

 Monitoring and evaluation expert - 48 months (full or part-time)
    o Substantial experience in project / programme evaluation
    o Experience in training and coaching others to undertake M & E
    o Practice in participatory methodologies
    o Knowledge and experience in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and
        has practiced a wide range of evaluation methodologies
    o Experienced facilitator
    o Gender expertise and skills

9.3.2 Other experts and staff members

The Contractor will hire other experts during the course of the programme according to the
expertise and tasks identified in the activity plan. Other key areas of required expertise
include regional development, decentralisation, organisational development, governance and
legal issues and possibly others. Tenderers are encouraged to submit CVs of possible
experts to carry out these tasks, and also to supply evidence of their access to the full range
of technical expertise required by the programme.

9.4 Management and structure

9.4.1 Steering Committee

Overall coordination of the programme and strategic oversight will be provided by a
Programme Steering Committee in which all the programme‘s key stakeholders will be
represented. The contractor shall elaborate on the composition and TOR of the Steering
committee.

9.4.2 PMU and management structure

The programme requires the establishment of a properly equipped office in the programme
location. The Contractor will ensure that the programme and its experts have sufficient
administrative, secretarial and interpretation provision to carry out their primary
responsibilities.

The Contractor is also responsible for overall project management and for achieving the
objectives and expected results as agreed during the project‘s inception phase.

                                                                                            23
The project will be led by the international Team Leader. S/he will be responsible for all
aspects of programme management and coordination of daily activities. The Contractor shall
provide a plan of the overall management structure with an explanation of staff roles,
responsibilities and the decision-making process.

9.5 Project duration and timetable

The programme period will be 48 months, which will include a 6-month inception phase, a
40-month implementation phase and a 2-month finalisation phase.

9.5.1 Inception phase

A 6-month inception phase shall be used to elaborate the detailed workplan and budget,
establish the mechanisms and structures necessary for effective implementation, employ
national staff, undertaking initial needs analysis and other preparatory tasks:

 Set up a programme office;
 Reviewing the programme situation on the ground;
 Establishing a steering committee;
 Elaborating a detailed activity plan and revised logframe, if required;
 Establishing relations, negotiating and signing agreements with MOI, METE and qark
  councils;
 Write an inception report which includes:
     o Detailed work plan;
     o Monitoring and Evaluation plan and revision of the tendered logframe;
     o Progress on needs analysis conducted under ER 1 and ER 2;
     o Baseline study including poverty impact assessment and gender analysis;
     o Update on coordination with all stakeholders and other agencies working in the
          area
 Approval of Inception report by Steering Committee

9.5.2 Implementation phase

Implementation will last 40 months and will include the realisation of activities elaborated fully
during the inception phase, as well as a mid-term evaluation.

9.5.3 Finalisation phase

A 2-month finalisation phase shall be used to close the project in close cooperation with all
the project stakeholders. It will include the writing of final reports, the settlement of accounts
and a final evaluation of the programme

9.6 Programme budget

The total budget allowed will be € 4.5 million. A minimum 50% of this budget will be allocated
for the activities of a Programme Fund.

9.7 Monitoring & Evaluation

9.7.1 Monitoring

The Contractor will perform monitoring as a regular programme activity according to the
principles of a Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation Approach, concentrating on the
achievement of planned results during the course of the programme.


                                                                                               24
A detailed schedule of performance indicators for planned results, expected outcomes and
impact will be elaborated during the inception phase. Tenderers are encouraged, however, to
submit a suggested monitoring and evaluation plan with a proposed methodology.

9.7.2 Evaluation

Both a mid-term and final evaluation are envisaged, to be conducted by external experts.

9.7.3 Reflective practice and learning

In order to maximise the programme‘s potential to stimulate sustainable change and also to
identify and disseminate development best practice, relevant knowledge and lessons
learned, monitoring and evaluation will promote reflective practice and a proactive approach
to joint learning among project participants, key stakeholders and the management team.
Tenderers are encouraged to address this area in their proposals.

9.8 Logframe

A provisional logframe will be submitted by tenderers according to the template provided.


10. Documentation

The following reference documents can be accessed from the www:

   Accra Aid Agenda: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/16/41202012.pdf
   ADC, Albania Country Programme 2007 – 2009:
    http://www.entwicklung.at/uploads/media/country_programme_albania.pdf
   ADC (2006) Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, a policy document:
    http://www.entwicklung.at/uploads/media/Guideline_Gender_Equality_Webversion_18.07
    .2008.pdf
   ADC: Environment and Development in Austrian Development Cooperation, policy brief:
    http://www.entwicklung.at/uploads/media/Environment_leaflet.pdf
   ADC webpage on governance and human rights:
    http://www.entwicklung.at/en/themes/governance-and-human-rights.html
    ADC webpage on poverty reduction: http://www.entwicklung.at/en/themes/poverty-
    reduction.html
    ADC webpage on private sector development:
    http://www.entwicklung.at/en/activities/private-sector-development.html
   EC Albania Progress Report 2008:
    http://www.delalb.ec.europa.eu/en/press_releases/albania_2008_progress_report
   EC Albania Progress Report 2009:
    2008:http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2009/al_rapport_2009_en.pdf
   EC Partnership Agreement with Albania: http://eur-
    lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:080:0001:01:EN:HTML
   EC Directorate-general for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (2008)
    Social Inclusion and Social Protection in Albania:
    http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/docs/social_inclusion/2008/albania_study_en
    .pdf
   European Charter of Local Self-Government:
    http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/122.htm
   Dorina N. (2008) Fiscal Decentralisation and Financial Management in Albania:
    http://publicfinance.ru/filemanager/files/dorina_nikolla.pdf
   IMF (2008) Albania: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Joint Staff Advisory Note:
    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2008/cr08270.pdf

                                                                                            25
   INSTAT (2009) Albania: Trends in Poverty 2002 – 2005 - 2008:
    http://www.instat.gov.al/graphics/doc/downloads/Living%20Standart%20Measurement%2
    0Survey%202008.pdf
   National Strategy For Gender Equality and Domestic Violence 2007-2010, Ministry of
    Labour,         Social        Affairs       and        Equal        Opportunities:
    http://www.osce.org/documents/pia/2008/07/32216_en.pdf
   INSTAT         (2007)       Women         and      Men        in      Albania     2006:
    http://www.instat.gov.al/graphics/doc/downloads/publikime/femrameshkuj2006.pdf
   Inter-sectoral Rural Development Strategy of Albania 2007 – 2013 ISRDSA (draft for
    discussion): http://www.mbumk.gov.al/pdf/716.pdf
    http://www.instat.gov.al/graphics/doc/downloads/publikime/femrameshkuj2006.pdf
   IOM (2007) The Republic of Albania Migration Profile: http://www.iom.hu/PDFs/Albania-
    Migration%20Profile.pdf
   National Strategy on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence 2007 – 2010:
    http://www.mpcs.gov.al/dshb/images/stories/strategjite/national_strategy_for_gender_equ
    ality_and_domestic_violence.pdf
   National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI): Progress Report 2006-2007:
    http://www.km.gov.al/skedaret/raport2.pdf
   Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy (RDCS):
    http://www.mete.gov.al/doc/20080311154055_rdcs_-_final_document_031007.pdf
   SCO-A, Swiss Coooperation Strategy in Albania 2006 – 2009:
    http://www.swisscooperation-albania.ch/ressources/resource_en_63232.pdf
   SDC webpage on its policy on prmoting gender equality:
    http://www.deza.admin.ch/en/Home/Themes/Gender
    SDC webpage its policies regarding the rule of law and democracy, including
    democratisation: http://www.deza.admin.ch/en/Home/Themes/Rule_of_Law_Democracy
    SDC webpage on policy concerning climate change and Environment:
    http://www.deza.admin.ch/en/Home/Themes/Climate_change_Environment
   Sector Strategy for Agriculture and Food 2007 – 2013 (SSAF) draft:
    http://www.mbumk.gov.al/pdf/715.pdf
   Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness:
    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/11/41/34428351.pdf
   UNDP (2005) National Human Development Report: Pro-Poor and Pro-Women Policies
    and Development in Albania, March 2005: http://www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,698
   UNDP (2005) Promoting Local Development Through MDGs: Shkodra Region -
    http://www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,622.
   UNDP (2005) Regional Development Strategy, MDGs: Lezha Region. -
    www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,704
   UNDP (2008) Millenium Development Goals Report 2007 - UNDP (2008) -
    http://www.undp.org.al/elib.php?elib,1005
   World Economic Forum (2009) Global Gender Gap Report 2009 -
    http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2009.pdf




                                                                                        26
Other documents referred to:

   Supporting regional development in Northern Albania, Feasibility study for a joint
    programme, commissioned by Swiss Cooperation and Austrian Development
    Cooperation, Erika Schläppi, Zdenek Vyborny, Silvana Simaku, Dritan Shutina, 23
    February 2009.
   EC-UNDP Integrated Support for Decentralisation – project proposal
   EPTISA (2006) Regional Plan for Shkoder-Lezhe 2005-2020, April 2006
   Local Government and Decentralisation Strategy (LGDS)
   National Environmental Strategy (2006)
   SDC (2005) Decentralisation and Local Development Programme – project proposal,
    August 2005




                                                                                   27
Annexes

Annex A. Abbreviations and Acronyms used in the text

ADA         Austrian Development Agency
ADC         Austrian Development Cooperation
CEO         Chief Executive Officer
DADP        Disadvantaged Areas Development Programme
EAFRD       European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
EC          European Commission
EU          European Union
GEM         Gender Empowerment Measure
GDP         Gross Domestic Product
GNI         Gross National Income
HDI         Human Development Index
HDR         Human Development Report
IPA         Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
ISRDSA      Inter-sectoral Rural Development Strategy of Albania
LED         Local Economic Development
LGDS        Local Government and Decentralisation Strategy
LGU         Local Government Unit
MDG         Millennium Development Goal
METE        Ministry of Economy, Trade and Enterprise
MOI         Ministry of Interior
MTBP        Medium-Term Budget Programme
NATO        North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NPDC        National Programme for the Development of Counties
NSDI        National Strategy for Development and Integration
NUTS        Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics.
PCM         Project Cycle Management
PPP         Purchasing Parity Power
PRSP        Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
RDA         Regional Development Agency
RDP         Regional Development Programme
RDCS        Regional Development Cross-cutting Strategy
SAA         Stabilisation and Association Agreement
SECO        Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
SSAF        Sector Strategy of Agriculture and Food
UNDP        United Nations Development Programme




                                                                   28
     Annex B. Logframe template

Overall objective                             Objectively verifiable indicators   Sources of Verification   Assumptions / Risks
Equitable social and economic development
in Shkodra and Lezha regions

Specific objective                            Objectively verifiable indicators   Sources of Verification   Assumptions / Risks
Equal access of citizens to quality public
services and economic opportunities in the
Qark of Lezha and Shkodra, in particular in
disadvantaged areas, is improved through
strengthened Qark institutions

Expected results                              Objectively verifiable indicators   Sources of Verification   Assumptions / Risks
1. An effective institutional framework for
decentralisation, which aims at equitable
development outcomes, is supported

2. Capacities of qark for regional
development planning and delegated
functions are strengthened

3..Comprehensive regional development
planning and budgeting processes in
Shkodra and Lezha regions is developed
and institutionalized


4. Regional development accelerated
through project initiatives and effective
implementation

Activities                                    Means                               Costs                     Assumptions / Risks

				
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