The overarching goal of the Swedish development cooperation with Albania is to assist in the reforms needed to achieve EU-membership. In June 2014, Albania was granted candidate-status by the European Union and is working towards the opening of accession negotiations. Sweden supports Albania with about 90 million euro per year and has provided aid since 1998.
The development cooperation is guided by a results strategy for 2014-2020. The strategy covers three thematic areas: economic development; good governance, rule of law and human rights; and environment and climate.
Sweden supports the consolidation of the Albanian market economy, the fulfillment of EU-requirements in the economic area, and the strengthening of small and medium-size enterprises in the country.
In cooperation with USAID, Sweden works towards building a sustainable tourism sector in Albania. The cooperation aims to increase economic opportunities for Albanian citizens and contribute to the business enabling environment, for instance through workforce development and capacity building. The programme provides support to small companies or individual organisations in Albania. One of the target groups of the programme is women at the countryside.
We also support Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB), promoting cultural heritage as a natural and active part in reconciliation, social and economic development and in the strengthening of human rights.
Good governance, rule of law and human rights
Sweden supports a more efficient, open and transparent public administration, the delivery of higher quality public services and more efficient judicial systems. We also focus on increased enjoyment of human rights and greater opportunities to exercise democratic influence.
Good governance and rule of law
In the area of public administration, Sweden supports capacity development of Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT). through support from Statistics Sweden (SCB). In parallel, we fund the renewing and upgrading of INSTAT’s IT infrastructure and the establishment of a training center for statisticians and citizens. Sweden also contributes to improved policy planning, coordination and monitoring as well as budget execution through cooperation with the World Bank. In 2015, Albania initiated a territorial reform, reducing 385 local units to 61 municipalities. Sweden supported the reform at an early stage and continues to provide support through the UN STAR-programme, aiming towards building capacities at the municipal level that improves service delivery to Albanian citizens.
The first steps towards increasing the efficiency and trust in the police force have been taken through the Swedish support to a community police reform within the Albanian police. Cooperation with the police is currently focusing on tackling domestic violence and improving inter-institutional cooperation. In 2017, Sweden started a new contribution focusing on juvenile justice. Swedish justice agencies will work together with their Albanian counterparts to promote EU standards on juvenile justice, through better coordination between the Albanian justice agencies.
Sweden contributes to the promotion of gender equality in Albania through support to One UN and Albanian Women Empowerment Network (AWEN). Furthermore, gender equality is integrated in all of Sweden’s contributions. There are still major challenges related to increasing women's participation in politics and governance and we therefore work to increase women representation on all levels of the Albanian society. Through AWEN, Sweden works to adress gender-based violence and supports services for victims of gender based violence.
Through the support to AWEN, Civil Rights Defenders and the Olof Palme International Center, the role of civil society and media in monitoring and accountability is strengthened. Sweden also supports Regional Environmental Center Albania (REC), working with environmental capacity building within civil society and providing venues for dialogue and cooperation.
Together with Save the Children, Sweden works towards strengthening children’s rights in Albania, focusing on the rights to participation. The programme aims to promote the role and competence of the Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in relation to children’s rights.
Environment and climate
Sweden supports the work towards a better environment, reduced climate impact and enhanced resilience to climate change, as well as better ability for Albania to meet EU-standards in the area of environment.
To this end, Sweden supports reform processes in forestry and water through the World Bank. Through cooperation with Connecting Natural Values and People (CNVP) Sweden supports Forest and Pasture User's Association (FPUA) with the aim to establish FPUA as a democratic organisation in which women are represented and recognized as economic actors. CNVP has assisted FPUA in developing models enabling farmers to map out their lands and register their properties themselves. We also support the ministry of environment’s work to introduce a more sustainable management of Albania’s forests and pasture areas. Starting from 2017, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency will support the ministry of environment and tourism, as well as the Albanian administration more broadly, in preparing for the EU negotiations within environment.
In order for Albania to make better use of its substantial water resources and ensure that all sectors and all people will have enough water of good quality in the future, a more sustainable management of water resources will be needed. Therefore, Sweden supports the development of an Integrated Water Resources Management Strategy, a Water Cadastre (water resources information system) and two River Basin Management Plans (for the Drini-Buna and Semani basins).