Coordination of external assistance at local level, Integration Training Unit Heads from “BpE” & ASPA
Tirana, November 13th, 2019 - For two ongoing days, November 12 and 13th, the "Municipalities for Europe" project in cooperation with ASPA, conducted in the premises of the latter, a training with the first group of executives of European Integration Units. The training was about "Coordinating Foreign Aid in Local Level".
International and Albanian experts, with considerable background in the foreign aid coordination, offered during two days, their valuable advice in the field.
Mrs. Valbona Kuko, former Director of the Department of Donor Strategy and Coordination in the Council of Ministers, in the presence of municipal representatives, addressed issues such as coordinating processes for effective and strategic programming of foreign assistance, coordinating work between institutions, monitoring and reporting on funded projects and in particular, informing citizens and stakeholders on the progress made. Special attention during the training was given to the importance and functioning of the integrated planning system.
Mr. Arben Malaj, former Minister of Economy and Finance in different governments, with a considerable experience in the field, emphasized the importance of clarifying the mayor's objectives, which he says "translates into clarifying the requirements in donor relations, while the focus should be on what are considered the most important projects for the community." According to Mr. Malaj, “you need to be as prepared as possible and build your capacity, together with your experts at the local level, who will be a valuable asset for the absorption and implementation of foreign aid projects in the country". Mr. Zdravko Kozinc from ISKRIVA Institute, international expert of the Municipalities for Europe Project, shared the experiences of European Union countries, focusing especially on strategic planning and foreign funding.
More specifically, the expert shared the best practices of institutions in his country and beyond, in particular regarding sector and project-based financing, unilateral and multilateral financing, as well as investment projects, those of technical assistance and capacity building. During the two-day training, they discussed the process of negotiating and approving agreements, both bilateral and multilateral, focusing particularly on the preparation and negotiation of agreements, whether governmental, financial or technical. Mrs. Kuko’s presentation of the best practices in Albania was complemented by concrete examples of international best practices by Mr. Kozinc.
During the training, representatives of the local government integration units were greeted by the Director of the Agency for Support of Local Self-Government, Mr. Bekim Murati, who emphasized once again the attention and support of the agency he leads, to maintain the continuity of the work already done and to advance the objective of further consolidation of the European Integration Units in all 61 municipalities of Albania.
Some of the main issues raised by the leaders of the integration units - during the training which was organized as a discussion panel - that according to them has a direct impact on the day-to-day work of the sectors they cover in the Municipalities where they work, are those related to the structures of the institution, the continuity of staff work and, above all, the lack of internal coordination within these institutions.