What are the Millennium Development Goals?
In September 2000, 147 Heads of State and Government and 191 nations adopted the Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to a series of targets, to be achieved by 2015. The declaration outlines peace, security and development concerns including environment, human rights and governance. By committing to the Declaration, world leaders agreed to a set of eight time bound and measurable Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Numerical targets have been set for each goal, to be achieved over a 25-year period between 1990 and 2015. Indicators have been selected to monitor progress on each of the targets.
Albania supports the Millennium Development Goals
In Albania, the MDGs provide a tool that enables national stakeholders to advocate for development and discuss priorities. Regional advocacy tours, a parliamentary MDG resolution, along with national MDG reports, parliamentary briefing sessions, concentrated media attention, and effective advocacy have inspired the country to localize the MDGs through regional development strategies.
Please click here to view a progress for each MDG.
A nationwide, consensus-building process led to joint preparation of the:
Since 2002, Albania’s strong economic growth has been a major contributing factor to its positive tracking towards the achievement of a number of MDG targets. The proportion of the population in absolute poverty declined from over 25% in 2002 to 12.4% in 2008. The maternal mortality rate in 2008, at 10 per 100,000 was down by half from the 2001 level and is well on track to meeting the 2015 target. Considerable progress has been made in eliminating gender disparities (especially in education) and there is a moderate chance that the 2015 target will be met. In infrastructure development, a greater proportion of the population (82.1%) has access to drinking water as of 2009, though the 2015 target of 98% will not likely be reached. With a strong probability of continued domestic and external financing on sanitation, it is likely that the 2015 target of 90% of the population having access can be reached.
Challenges remain in a number of other target areas. While there has been a minor decline in unemployment since 2002 to the current level of 13.1%, it is unlikely that the targeted 9% level will be reached by 2015. In addition, enrolment in basic education has fallen, and considerable disparities remain between rural and urban areas, among region and for disadvantaged groups such as the Roma. Of some concern is the under-five-year child mortality rate, which remains high with the 2015 target unlikely to be met.
Ensuring longer-term sustainability of basic services delivery, achievement of the MDGs and other socio-economic and European integration goals requires the further development of needed system-wide and sustainable capacities in the Albanian system of public administration, including systems for data collection and monitoring. To view the current MDG targets and indicators, click here.
In addition to good governance, UNDP Albania has a concentrated focus on poverty reduction (MDG1), gender equality (MDG3) and environmental sustainability (MDG7).
The number of people living below the poverty line fell from 18.5% in 2005 to 12.4% in 2008. Absolute poverty – those who are unable to meet their basic nutritional needs - decreased from 3.5% in 2005 to 1.2% in 2008. Unemployment remains high at 13.05% in 2008, and statistics confirm an underlying trend of inequality that perpetuates a lack of development within marginalized groups. Together with the Government of Albania, UNDP is concentrating its efforts on “pro-poor” growth – growth that reduces poverty as well as inequality.
This includes ensuring vulnerable members of Albania’s Roma and Egyptian community have access to social services through civil registration; active participation in local decision-making and renewed employment opportunities through vocational training. This support was complemented with policy advice provided to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in preparing the country’s National Action Plan for Roma.
UNDP also assists the central Government in establishing the country’s institutional and legal frameworks for programming, coordinating and absorbing EU funds for regional development that combats regional income inequality.
UNDP works with regional governments promoting sustainable economic development. UNDP’s long-term support to Kukes Region from human security - Mine Action Programme - to basic services and small-infrastructure interventions - Kukes Regional Development Initiative – was recently upgraded , linking tourism, culture and the environment to local development, exploring emerging opportunities in cross-border cooperation. UNDP facilitates partnerships between Albanian and the European Union to promote knowledge transfer and the sharing of best practices in socio-economic development.
In 2009, Albania was declared mine-free, well in advance of the deadline set by the Ottawa Treaty following 10 years of coordinated humanitarian de-mining programmes led by UNDP. This initiative has contributed to poverty reduction in the north through the clearance and return of more than 15 millions square meters of land to communities for agricultural production, and other activities vital to sustainable livelihoods.
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Promoting gender equality
In recent years, Albania has made progress in setting standards and passing laws to promote equality between the sexes. Women’s employment, although still lower than men’s has noted a slight increase, with the increase presence of women in the public administration and agriculture sectors. Female enrolment in secondary education is equal to males, while in basic education it is slightly lower than males’, i.e. 48 percent in public education and 45 percent in private education.
With the approval of two important laws and the National Strategy on Gender Equality and against Domestic Violence, over a time-span of two years, this country has improved considerably the legal and policy framework in this domain. UNDP support, in the framework of UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence, has focused on further improvement and completion of legislation but more importantly on increasing authorities’ and professionals’ capacities to better interpret and implement these laws and policy objectives. Thus 582 individuals, judges, prosecutors, social workers, local government employees and other civil servants have benefited from training sessions provided by UNDP in cooperation with Albanian institutions
Through UNDP support in 2009 INSTAT issued the results of the first national survey on domestic violence. The Survey revealed that every other woman in Albania has been subject to one or more forms of domestic violence. UNDP is supporting the Government of Albania to tackle the phenomenon by helping to set up referral systems in three municipalities and put into place the first national shelter for domestic violence victims.
Following the introduction of the 30 percent quota of representation into Albanian legislation, UNDP strongly advocated with political parties and citizens to make the most out of this opportunity during 2009 parliamentary elections. As a result, the representation of women doubled from previous elections to 23 female MPs out of 140 members of Parliament. During the last election many more women participated in the voting process as well as in electoral commissions. Nonetheless, such improvements still fall short of the 30 percent target.
The government formed after the 2009 elections had only one woman minister, while the number of deputy ministers (22 percent of the total) has yet to reach the normative quota. The panorama of the lower levels of decision-making looks significantly better: In the public administration of line ministries, 56.7 percent of specialist positions are filled by women whereas for director positions this rate is 31.8 percent.
With only a slight improve in the gender gap index in 2009 compared to the year before; Albania needs to intensify its efforts in allocating more resources to ensuring implementation of gender equality standards, laws and objectives.
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Ensuring environmental sustainability
Albania is rich in natural resources. Efforts are underway to preserve and protect the nation’s assets and to take strong account of environmental values in decision making. However, the country faces numerous environmental challenges.
UNDP in Albania is helping the country meet its commitments to international conventions as part of the EU accession process. UNDP is assisting the country, as it advances its efforts to implement the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
UNDP supported the Albanian Government in preparing for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, including the formulation of the Second National Communication on Climate Change and Albania’s Carbon Finance Policy Paper - both of which were presented in Copenhagen. In Drini-Mati river deltas, UNDP is supporting adaptation measures that mitigate the effects of climate change, while options for tourism and agriculture sector development are under development.
The size of protected areas, which totals 12.58% of the Albanian territory, continues to remain insufficient to ensure effective conservation of the country’s biological diversity. With UNDP assistance, some progress has been achieved related to marine protected areas, where a draft legal act was prepared together with a draft Decision of the Council of Ministers to declare Karaburuni, Sazani and Vlora Bay as protected areas with a different level of protection.
As part of the UNDP/UNEP/GEF Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative, the market development of solar water heating in Albania is being fostered with an objective to facilitate the installation of 75,000 m2 of new solar collector areas over the next 5 years, an annual sale of 20,000 m2 reached by the end of the project and with continued growth reaching the set target of 520,000 m2 of the total installed Solar Water Heating capacity by 2020.
In Prespa Park UNDP supports the implementation of Local Environmental Action Plans. Nine small grants projects have been awarded to local civil society organizations to support activities related to the integrated management of the ecosystem.
The UNOPS/UNDP’s Small Grants Programme supports activities of non-governmental and community-based organizations towards climate change mitigation, conservation of biodiversity, protection of international waters, reduction of the impact of persistent organic pollutants and prevention of land degradation while generating sustainable livelihoods.
UNDP’s support also goes towards environmental resources management. Thanks to this intervention, environmental impact assessments for 10 hotspots in the country were conducted, remediation plans prepared, and the cleanup of the first hotspot was completed.
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Strengthening good governance
Achieving good governance remains a major challenge for Albania. Some Governance indicators for Albania according to the World Bank Institute fall still below the average of South Eastern Europe, or the average for countries with a similar income (rule of law, control of corruption, voice and accountability, political stability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality).
European and Euro-Atlantic integration, along with rapid and sustainable growth remain the overarching goals for Albania. Therefore, socio-economic development, strategic planning, sound public finance and external assistance management, anti-corruption, powered by an increased use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for development, continue to represent the major national priorities.
The Government remains committed to reform the public administration in order to provide improved services to citizens. Responding to these national priorities, UNDP has launched programmes contributing directly to democratic governance in the country.
Supporting the Integrated Planning System (IPS) was an initiative whereUNDP was engaged into build government capacities in programming, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation processes.
UNDP has provided policy advice to the Government in the area of “extra-legalities” through the expertise of the world-renowned experts, the Institute of Liberty and Democracy, led by Hernando de Soto.
UNDP supports the government efforts to formulate and implement policies that address capacity gaps and sustainability in the public sector. The Brain Gain programme promotes policies and provides incentives to increase Albanian Diaspora involvement in the development of the country. Support has been given to more than 78 Albanian graduates from abroad in their employment in public administration and public and private universities. Reference to the brain gain programme was mentioned in the EC Progress Report on Albania 2008.The United Nations team and other development partners among the donor community in Albania have advised the Government to seriously address the issues of unequal regional progress, growing disparities, and other critical development issues. The National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007-2013, which is based on a number of sector and crosscutting strategies centers the main course of Albania with regard to the process of integration, the reforms for development and consolidation of the democratic state, and the government’s economic, fiscal and social policies. Support to the NSDI implementation and the monitoring of Paris Declaration represent an important contribution of UNDP in capacity development.
Development of ICT is an area where the government has focused a lot of attention. Our support towards the E-Schools has successfully assisted the government in equipping Albanian schools modern laboratories and access to internet. Support to the National Agency for Information Society through technical advice is being provided by a successful experience in the field of ICT that is Estonia.
Economic development and support to private sector are areas that UNDP is supporting private for many years. Increasing the investment opportunities in Albania and public private partnerships in the field of youth employment and promotion of Global Compact and Corporate Social Responsibility continue to be on our focus.
UNDP has got a critical involvement in statistics and the preparatory activities of the next Census in Albania. The results of the Leaving Standards and Measurement Survey 2009 have been launched. The data revealed that the poverty in Albania fell from 18.5 percent in 2005 to 12.4 in 2009. The LSMS findings and the new poverty map for Albania is being used to revise the new level of social assistance in the country.
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