The Program for Decentralisation and Local Development – dldp – which operates in Albania since 2016, implemented by Helvetas and financed by SDC, has organised in Tirana the first Steering Committee for 2017, on the 15th of March.
In this important meeting participated mayors from 11 partner municipalities, as well as other representatives from the Ministries of lines, Public Agencies, donors and other partner programs.
In the opening speech Mrs Dhuka, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Ministers appreciated the dldp’s effort in supporting the municipalities and the national level, stressing out the contribution of dldp in service delivery to citizens, interaction with other programs, the development in urban waste management, capacity development of LGUs, etc. She considered dldp as a very serious program, which with all the work and experienced gathered throughout the years in I-OSSH and Waste Management has demonstrated that the sustainable models of management go even beyond the visible investments.
The Swiss Ambassador, Mr Graf as the co-chair of the meeting, pointed out some important elements which made 2016 a very important year for the country. He mentioned the important of TAR implementation, the Local Finance Law approval, the establishment of the Consultative council between central and local level, the progress of regional development. The mission of Switzerland is to strengthen democracy and the belief in consultation and in bottom up approach. He also informed about the dldp prolongation for the next one and a half year and the forthcoming new program in all the country.
Dldp presented to the participants the activities and the achievements for the year 2016, which were focused along program indicators. The main achievements summarized and presented by each dldp line office are:
1. New line of intervention in General Local Plans with additional budget by SDC.
2. Increase by 17% of the territory covered with service in 6 municipalities directly assisted,
whereas the fee collection rate increased by 5%.
3. Dldp supported 15 projects in 12 municipalities, including social cohesion projects.
4. There were achieved 109 digitalized administrative services and more than 24.000 citizens were served in 2016.
5. Gender initiatives impacted local budgets in Shkodër and Klos.
6. Dldp played the role of a knowledge-broker, putting confidence on its products, serving to Policy influence, which peaked with dldp contribution (jointly with Ministry of Finance and PLGP/USAID) to the draft Law on Local Finances.
The discussions from participants highlighted the challenges brought up by the reforms and the contribution of dldp to properly address them. Mayors considered important that the sustainability should be taken more seriously in the next period, the fiscal decentralization should be enhanced in the frame of Local Finance Law and a more comprehensive picture of dldp results per municipality is necessary, focusing on what has been really done in municipalities, and what are the tangible and visible results.
The meeting continued with the introduction of dldp planned activities for 2017, which encompass all thematic lines, such as: Proceeding to phase out of e-governance and fund access components; PFM and Waste Management will shift towards implementation phase; A Waste project will be identified and realized through a careful feasibility analysis; Special attention will be put to capitalization of dldp experience and reporting of the End of Phase.
Dldp 2017 plan was found very relevant from the local and national level representatives in the meeting. The mayors stressed the need to address responsibilities deriving from new Law on Local Finances, with special attention to the Financial Planning Tool (FPT). The continuation of capacity building and further development of knowledge were also perceived as very important from the local level. The models developed by dldp can be used by other municipalities (through institutions and Programs) and the training curricula should address regulatory changes.
Mrs Debora Kern of SDC, underlined the need to focus on impact assessment activities.
Mrs Oriana Arapi, from Department of Coordination for Foreign Aid (GoA), appreciated dldp role in creating bridges between institutions, which is considered important to increase the cooperation at local, national and regional level.
In the closing speech, the Swiss Ambassador, Mr Christoph Graf thanked all the stakeholders’ remarkable results that have been achieved so far. He expressed his personal appreciation for the constructive debate and positive exchange atmosphere.