Protests against the destruction of the Ohrid lakeshore, organised by the network of Biodiversity and Nature Protection. Albania is facing environmental problems, and Sida supports the civil society’s environmental work in the country.
Our work in Albania
Recent years’ development efforts have focused on two areas: Democratic Governance and Human Rights and Natural Resources and environment.
The Albanian public administration needs to become more efficient, open and transparent towards the public. Therefore, Sweden supports reforms of the Albanian Taxation Office, the Bureau of Statistics and the Albanian employment service. This is partly provided in the form of collegial support from the Swedish Tax Agency, Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Public Employment Service.
The opportunities for Albanian citizens to participate in and influence the reform process and EU rapprochement are limited. Through our support to Swedish organisations such as the Kvinna till Kvinna foundation, Civil Rights Defenders and the Olof Palme International Center, we are strengthening national organisations and media in their investigative and accountability role.
The first steps towards increasing civil society’s access to a legally safe and effective police force has been taken through the Swedish support to a community police reform within the Albanian police, including the possibility for police and civil society around the country to receive smaller financial support for collaborative projects.
There are still major challenges related to increasing women's participation in politics and governance, even though the last parliamentary elections in June 2013 and the formation of a new government meant a clear improvement in terms of female representation. The new government has six women ministers, comparing to only one in the former government, implicating that 30 per cent of the current ministers are women.
The decentralization of ownership and/or land use rights for more than half of the country's forests and pasture, which was carried out in 2008, will hopefully lead to reduced energy vulnerability, more efficient use of renewable energy sources and increased Albanian capacity to handle and manage natural resources.
Swedish support to reform processes in land use, forestry, water & irrigation is channelled through the World Bank. After much delay, the process on land use has become more intense and records of land ownership are being updated and modernized. Sweden also supports the institutional cooperation (twinning) between the Albanian land surveying authority IPRO and the Swedish National Land Surveyor, to further strengthen the work of property registration.
The support to the forestry sector, where large areas (60 per cent) of forest have been transferred from the state to local communities continue with relatively good results. Municipalities are receiving help, including support to establish management plans for the forests.
There are great needs, but also the potential to improve the cooperation between civil society and the state on environmental and climate issues. Sweden has therefore started to support the civil society organization REC that is working on environmental capacity building within civil society, and providing venues for dialogue and cooperation.
Increasing the capacity for sustainable use of the country's water resources requires extensive work. A decision on Swedish support for water management was taken in late 2012, but the implementation has been delayed due to the election.