Dldp achievement during 2017 in Policy Influence and Knowledge Management

In its third phase, DLDP has increasingly sought (and been invited) to contribute to the development of national standards and nationally mandated procedures and processes for local government. DLDP’s in-depth understanding of the various challenges and opportunities related to existing municipal procedures and processes (in its working areas) are recognized by national stakeholders as being a significant knowledge base for adapting procedures and processes, or instituting new ones (i.e. performance monitoring and benchmarking) at a national level.

Starting from 2013, the Program thus increasingly engaged in policy dialogue and advocacy at national level, advocating for locally owned and tested solutions and actively trying to link local and national debates. Since then, the Program has gathered considerable experience in policy influencing and has achieved impressive results. In 2017, dldp [and other partners] managed to advocate the approval of the Law on local finances, as well as contribute to a number of approved sub-legal in PFM, territorial planning, etc., without mentioning the draft sub-legal acts in WM and institutional building. Two Centers of Competences have been active on PFM and GLP aiming to exchange experience and develop solutions for the transition period post-TAR and providing policy recommendations for interlinking of GLPs with local budgets, functionalizing new functions performance indicators within the local MTBP, as well as seeking new ways for channeling diaspora funding resources at local level. Women in Politics Network has been quite active in promoting social and gender issues. The Councilor Women Alliances established in some of the dldp partner Municipalities have advocated in local councils for socially sensitive decisions made by local councils and Mayors.

Dldp managed to assure continuity of Best Practice Competition and Decentralization Strategy Monitoring despite restructuring of national government through cooperation & strengthening RDAs.

Best Practice National Competition has been again supported by dldp in 2017, which in tandem with the Second Annual Monitoring Report of the Decentralization Strategy, served to mark up the advancement of the decentralization frame in Albania. MoI demonstrated readiness in associating itself with these activities. Considering the establishment of new structures responsible for local issues [and decentralization] under MoI, dldp intends to work closely with them in order to assure transfer of the know-how and of the instruments developed for assessing decentralization, thus assuring an effective anchoring at institutional level.

Albanian institutions strengthened through dldp support, remarkably to be mentioned School of Public Administration will guarantee the long lasting of dldp achievements. Waste Management long term course delivered through ASPA is ranked as the best course from Tirana Municipality (a non-partner of dldp), increasing the confidence that Albanian institutions can and will perform in the future at the expected standards.

In 2017, new plans and strategies elaborated through dldp support have been introduced to more than 3,000 women and men citizens in the administrative units of partner municipalities. Citizens’ involvement has been incentivized due to various legal frames requirements, however in most of the cases it has been a direct result of the Municipalities’ efforts for increased transparency and accountability.

Dldp has supported strengthening of capacities of 423 local practitioners through the various Centers of Competence, involving them as well in adapting and consolidating new strategic documents and instrument. Women and men staff of partner municipalities have been trained in PFM (102/F69), waste management (81/F27), e-governance (99/F41) and GLP issues (141/F56).

Centers of Competences remain one of the effective mechanisms for implementation of the program [dldp] itself, serving as a catalyst to enhance the active contribution of staff of partner municipalities to the development of know-how, having in focus a balanced participation of men and women.

12 Events and other DLDP activities have been covered by 39 local and national media. Social media (fb) has been used as a useful mean of communication and sharing information with the public. Dldp opened a dedicated site for the BPC, which served as a communication platform with all Municipalities and the other involved stakeholders. DLDP publishes quarterly a newsletter, which is distributed to all partners of the Program, informing on activities carried out by the program.

Achievements in Policy Influence and Knowledge management

The Decentralisation and Local Development Program (dldp) closed 2014 –the first year of the third phase – with a number of achievements, especially at the national level. This despite significant challenges related to the ongoing and significant reforms of the territorial, administrative and political structure and the functions of decentralization in Albania. Highlights from 2014 are summarized below:

Positioning dldp at the national level was a key objective at the beginning of this phase. It has been achieved through a multilevel approach. At the policy level a strong liaison with the Swiss Embassy has served to trigger donor coordination, thus enhancing the dldp role especially related to the decentralization strategy and the territorial and administrative reform (TAR). Dldp’s policy making contribution has been rewarding with regards to TAR, the decentralization strategy, waste management and public finance management, electronic governance and the tourism strategy. It has been broadly recognized even from national media, GoA and the Parliament (both opposition party and ruling coalition).

To respond to the changes of the legal and institutional framework of civil service: dldp has adapted the knowledge management approach. Special focus has been dedicated to establishing relations with the main civil service administrative bodies, such as the School of Public Administration (ASPA) and the Department of Public Administration (DoPA). Dldp has signed a memorandum of understanding with ASPA that encompasses a range of activities planned by dldp in its YPO 2014-15. In this framework, a closer coordination with the project of the Council of Europe, through the Swiss Embassy, has been helpful in avoiding overlapping of activities. As a result dldp has re-oriented its efforts for 2015.

Most of the training curricula developed during the previous phases have been anchored at the national system through a twin partnership between Ministries of Lines  and the School of Public Administration. A certification system valid for the civil servants have been established by contributing in the career development of local practitioners through dldp recognized curricula. More than 189 practitioners from 63 LGUs have benefited from the regional trainings out of which 39 from 28 LGUs have been certified for successful completion.

The Decentralisation policy review has been conducive for dldp to provide contributions at policy level. All interventions have been planned in the operational plan, considering them as forming a chain process, which links all developed products at the local level, with national frameworks (strategies, legal framework and institutional building). Contribution to other sectorial strategies has increased the volume of policy influence. Given the generally favourable environment, dldp has managed to produce validated inputs to national policy making.

Two members of dldp’s Women in Politics network completed the Academy of Political Studies, jointly funded by CoE and SDC. A number of joint activities have been undertaken with PLGP/USAID in the frame of Decentralization Strategy in order to bring the representatives of LGUs in the North (mainly DP where dldp is more active) and South/Mid Albania (mainly SP) together in the same consultative platforms.

Achievements of dldp phase II

Policy influence and knowledge management

• 5 centres of competencies (CC) in (i) SDPeMTBP,(ii) waste management, (iii) project cycle management, (iv) women in politics and (v) e-governance have been established with around 100 LGU experts. They are coached and trained by dldp to work effectively, producing relevant inputs for policy discussions, curricula development and capitalization of professional experiences;

• 4 capacity development curricula (SDPeMTBP), waste, project cycle management for

• InterLGU projects, e-governance) in the form of training modules and manuals, have been developed, recognized and are ready for further dissemination at country level;

• dldp is highly recognized by its local LGU partners, the Ministry of Interior (MoI), other line Ministries and agencies and some results mainly on waste management (planning and cost and tariff calculation) were recognized at international level in the Western Balkans;

• Some of the developed tools got formalized as national standards (e.g. the Financial Planning Tool to link strategic planning and medium term budgeting (MTBP). The tools/manuals developed by dldp have gained appreciation and interest from other decentralization projects/agencies (e.g. USAID/PLGP, CoE and others);

• The partnerships with LGUs, ministries and service providers were extended horizontally and vertically. dldp played a catalytic role in enhancing the cooperation among various governmental, non-governmental and other organizations by bringing decentralization on the policy agenda;

• dldp has established networks of professional expertise in selected LGUs of the project area. These played a crucial role in developing training material, formalizing curricula and exchanging experience and best practices;

• Despite of difficulties in the cooperation with two associations (AAM/AAC) due to the political split, dldp managed to build up advocacy experiences with them on technical level (e.g. though round tables), enhance the cooperation between the two associations and the AAC membership at regional association was achieved (NALAS);

• dldp managed to link sectorial support and issues with the decentralization reform. The combination of sectorial support under a specific decentralization perspective has proven to be successful, especially for waste and public financial management.

• Different cost benefit analysis for selected dldp packages have been elaborated and proved that the investments into the elaboration and application of these packages were good to highly efficient. However, the nature of the programme to produce ‘new knowledge’ requires ‘investments into learning and piloting’ that cannot and should not be mixed with the costs for replication.