Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Structures in Albania: Lessons Learnt

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Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Structur es in Albania
Lessons Learnt

Das Vorhaben
„Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Structu res in Albania“ des
Bundesministeriums für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbe it und Entwicklung (BMZ) wurde von
GOPA im Unterauftrag der GTZ umgesetzt. Im Anschlus s wurden die vorliegenden
Lernerfahrungen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem GTZ Sekto rvorhaben Good Governance und
Demokratie aufgearbeitet.
Ansprechpartnerin und Auftragsverantwortliche des V orhabens „Strengthening Civil Society
and Democratic Structures in Albania“
Ulrike Gantzer-Sommer ( )

Sektorvorhaben Good Governance und Demokratie
Doris Beerling-Henestrosa ( )


Table of Contents
1. Introduction ……………………………….. …………………………………………………………………4
2. Development of the Political and Economic Situation ………………………………………5
3. Civil Society in Albania …………………….. ……………………………………………………………6
4. Influence of Corruption on Civil Society……….. …………………………………………………8
5. International Cooperation and German Development Co operation ……………………8
6. Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Structur es in Albania – Lessons
Learnt …………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………….9
6.2. Development of Indicators and Baseline Survey ….. ……………………………………………. 11
6.3. Media Monitoring ……………………………. …………………………………………………………….. 11
6.4. Workshop on Good Governance ………………….. …………………………………………………. 12
6.5. Study Tours ………………………………… ……………………………………………………………….. 13
6.6. Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Civi l Society Support Agency ……….. 13
6.7. Charter of the Civil Society …………………. ………………………………………………………….. 17
7. Conclusions and Outlook ……………………… …………………………………………………….. 18
List of Abbreviations ……………………….. ………………………………………………………………….. 20
References …………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………. 21
Appendix …………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………….. 22

Table of Figures
Figure 1: Working-Team during the Implementation of the GTZ- Project ………………………… 10
Figure 2: Draft of Institutional Infrastructure of Civil Soc iety Support Agency ………………….. 15
Figure 3: Presentations and Discussions of Drafts in Regiona l Meetings in Albania ………… 16


Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Structur es in Albania
Lessons Learnt
1. Introduction
The Albanian Constitution of 1991 gives and guarant ees every citizen the right to form
voluntary associations. However, the commitment of civil society in Albania is still weak.
Albania’s democratization process started 20 years ago and Albania now aspires to become
a future member of the European Union. In order to achieve this, it is indispensable to
strengthen civil society whose influence has become ever more important. Albania has faced
shortcomings, in particular with respect to the rul e of law and the stability of law, and national
decision makers were lacking knowledge about approp riate programmes and measures on
how to support the civil society.
State and society can only enjoy a constructive rel ationship when the state is responsive to
civil society’s active involvement in political dec ision-making processes. Therefore it is crucial
to improve the capacity of the state and to enhance the democratic consciousness of actors
in government, parliament and public administration and to strengthen democratic
institutions. Promoting political involvement stren gthens the legitimacy of state institutions
and the democratic accountability of political play ers, makes the actions of government more
transparent, strengthens checks and balances and al lows effective action to be taken against
corruption, arbitrary state rule and abuse of power .
2 Therefore the Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) started its project “Strengthening Civil
Society and Democratic Structures in Albania”
3, implemented by the GTZ, in November
2006, to assist the Albanian government in providin g adequate support to civil society. The
project introduced a top-down approach, in which th e government approached civil society
as an equal partner. It further assisted the govern ment to build up an institutional and legal
framework in order to promote and strengthen active political involvement of civil society.
This top-down approach actually distinguishes the p roject from others that support civil
society in Albania and which are focusing more on t he direct support of the NGO sector,
thereby applying a ‘bottom-up’ approach.
In November 2009 the Council of the European Union (EU) decided to mandate the
European Commission with the preparation for Albani a’s application for the EU-Membership.
The Prime Minister Sali Berisha declared that topic as the most important priority of the entire
4 The inclusion of civil society in decision-making is one of many criteria which have
to be fulfilled in order to become a Member of the EU. Therefore Albania’s National Strategy
for Development and Integration 2007-2013 (NSDI) “ encourages the active participation of
NGO and civil society in decision-making process an d defines its vision in the development
of the country, based on an open and transparent pr ocess, which guarantees the broad
inclusion of civil society, local government, the b usiness community, the academic and
scientific world, the Albanian political spectrum a nd other groups of interest.”

1 The present documentation is based upon several c onversations with the GTZ-Team Leader and interviews
with representatives from the government on nationa l level and civil society in Tirana during November 16 th till
December 11 th 2009 (see appendix). 2 BMZ Special 168, Promoting Resilient States and Cons tructive State-Society Relations – Legitimacy,
Transparency and Accountability: spezial168.pdf , 2009,
page 3.
3 This project is implemented by the German consult ing company GOPA Consultants. 4 Tirana Times, Albania Towards Candidate Status, Nov ember 20-26, 2009. 5 Council of Ministers, National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007-2013, 2008, page 23.


During the implementation of the GTZ-Project the go
vernment has managed to communicate
to civil society its importance as a stakeholder in the process of democratization and as a
cooperation partner through different measures (see Chapter 6).
The following chapters will give a short overview o f the political and economic situation, the
organisation of civil society, the state of corrupt ion, German Development Cooperation and
International Cooperation in Albania and the lesson s learnt of the GTZ-project “Strengthening
Civil Society and Democratic Structures in Albania” .
2. Development of the Political and Economic Situat ion
The end of the Cold War led the majority of former totalitarian and communist countries to a
process of opening up, best described by Samuel Hun tington as part of the “third wave of
democracy”. This third wave introduced the concept of democracy as a process: it moves
from a break up of an authoritarian regime, through transition, and towards democratic
consolidation. While most of the former communist c ountries in Eastern Europe have
arguably achieved the successful consolidation of d emocracy, this has not been the case for
Albania, where a vast array of issues continues to hold the nation back and prevents the
consolidation of democracy.
To place into context the complexity of the current democratization process in Albania, it is
important to take into account the totalitarian com munist history of the country. Compared to
other Eastern European countries, Albania experienc ed one of the harshest and idiosyncratic
communist regimes: It was isolated for half a centu ry, even from other communist countries,
thus undermining current and future development eff orts.
Some of the main characteristics of the regime duri ng this period included government
paranoia and propaganda directed against external p layers/forces/states; the use of
patriotism and nationalistic rhetoric to make isola tion possible; the elimination of possible
political opposition; the elimination of intellectu als and dissidents; the abolishment of religious
practices; and the harshest political persecution. In fact, in a country of only three million
inhabitants, hundreds of thousands suffered politic al persecution. The regime and its
practices created a deeply divided society in a one -party state. Albania remained closed to
the outside world until the fall of communism in 19 91, when political pluralism and democratic
elections were first allowed. Private property, alo ng with religion, was completely banned,
and farmers were forced to join cooperatives and to collectivise their livestock. Major public
infrastructures systems, such as railways, irrigati on systems, and plantations, were built by
the population, especially the youth through forced “voluntary work”. Everybody was
expected to “volunteer”, leaving the expression of “voluntary work” with a strong negative
connotation. By abolishing private property, throug h forced collectivisation and “voluntary
work”, the state extended its domain to the private sphere of the individual, who was thus
placed almost completely under the state’s control. However, it is important to stress that on
the eve of democratic changes, Albania was the poor est country in Europe, with no economy
and little infrastructure.
Today the Albanian republic is a parliamentary demo cracy established under a constitution
renewed in 1998. Elections are held every four year s to a unicameral 140-seat chamber, the
People’s Assembly. Parliamentary elections in June 2009 brought Sali Berisha, as leader of
the Democratic Party, to power for the second time. The opposition (Socialist Party) claim
that the elections where manipulated by the governi ng Democratic Party and is boycotting
the parliamentary sessions ever since the new parli ament was reconstituted in September


In recent years the strategic and legal framework f
or gender equality has been improved,
leading to the adoption of a gender equality law in 2008. The law establishes equality of
representation in parliament and decision-making bo dies at all levels of government through
the provisional quota mechanism. In January 2009 th e National Council for Gender Equality
was established. However, there continues to be a l ow representation of women in high-level
elected and appointed bodies both at central and lo cal level. Following the 2005
parliamentary election, the number of seats held by women increased from 10 to 23 in 2009.
Albania is a middle-income economy in transition fr om a centralised and authoritarian state
towards a democratic system with a market economy. It is also changing from a
predominantly rural to an urban society. In this tr ansition process, the country is driven by a
combined development and integration agenda. Albani a joined the NATO in April 2009, and
embarked on the process of joining the EU by signin g the Stabilisation and Association
Agreement (SAA) in 2006. Currently it is considered a potential candidate. These aspirations
have provided an impetus for reforms, and raised ex pectations among the population for
rapid progress and development. Accordingly, Albani a’s National Strategy for Development
and Integration 2007-2013 (NSDI) is a “second-gener ation PRSP”: along with a focus on
democratisation, the rule of law, and social and ec onomic development, it comprises NATO
and European integration.
Albania has advanced from a rank of 94 (2000) to 70 (2009) on the Human Development
Index, and has witnessed solid economic growth over the past years. It is generally
considered to be an anchor of economic stability in the region.
A study conducted jointly by a team of INSTAT, UNDP and the World Bank finds that Albania
continued to witness significant reduction in pover ty between 2005 and 2008. Results for
2008 indicate that 12.4 percent of the population w as poor compared to 18.5 percent in 2005
and 25.4 percent in 2002. Reasons for the positive trend include high GDP growth, economic
reforms, expanded infrastructure and better governa nce.
3. Civil Society in Albania
During the Communist regime, the concept of civil society was nonexistent in Albania. A form
of collective association, although formally not un der the umbrella of the Communist Party,
was used as a political weapon by the regime and cr eated a low regard for associations in
public opinion. Twenty years after the fall of comm unism, despite some positive
achievements, Albania is still struggling to develo p a vibrant civil society.
At present the term civil society in Albania is mai nly applied to a number of Non-
Governmental organisations (NGOs), which to a large extent are donor dependent and thus
donor driven.
7 Despite some progress, civil society remains weak and unorganised. The
sector is characterised by efforts of being neutral and unbiased, abstaining from rather than
emphasising accountability, and avoiding rather tha n influencing the political democratisation
process. Political analysts suggest that the main r eason for the weak organisation of civil
society is state control of every aspect of life du ring communism. As a result, organisation by
non-political actors and interest groups was not po ssible. At the same time, once democracy
deepened, some of the concepts associated with the organisation of civil society, such as
community role, community organisation, volunteer w ork, etc., carried negative connotations,

6 INSTAT, UNDP, World Bank, Albania: Trends in Poverty, Tirana 2009, page 2-6. 7 Najada Tafili, Consolidation of Democracy: The Albanian Case, New York 2007, page 11


as this was the rhetoric through which people were
kept isolated and afraid under the
constant threat of the iron fist of the communist s tate before the 1990s.
Currently approximately 450 out of 800 registered N GOs are active in Albania.
9 The NGO
sector is small, the enabling environment is constr ained and access to government or private
funding is limited. As a result, most NGOs orient t heir operations to match available funding
rather than operating under their own strategic app roaches. Individual NGOs showed
improvement in sustainability, but overall the NGO sector is weak.
Another aspect of the fragile NGO landscape in Alba nia is that they mainly deal with
awareness campaigns and capacity development, empha sising freedom of information. The
underlying assumption is that the more people are i nformed about democracy and
democratisation, the larger their participation and impact in the process is going to be., This
approach of civil society has, on the contrary, dec reased rather than increased public
participation in the process because simply telling people to participate is not a good enough
approach to contribute to the democratisation of th e country. Shortcomings of politics,
dissatisfaction with the political elite, represent ation crises, and a lack of trust in political
institutions are addressed only through training of personnel and awareness campaigns.
Additionally, since there is an almost donor depend ent civil society sector in Albania,
organisations in Albania have to somehow prove thei r independence from political actors in
order to receive funding. This independence has bee n translated by different organisations
into a protest against every party (the ruling or t he opposition), blaming everybody equally,
and holding no one in particular accountable for th e wrong-doings of the country.
NGOs’ financial viability is still very dependent o n donor funding. The decrease in donor
funding makes it difficult for NGOs to maintain fin ancial viability. A well-coordinated strategy
on donor cooperation in the NGO sector is lacking. NGOs also face difficulties in accessing
funds due to donors’ differing and bureaucratic pro cedures.

Only a handful of NGOs have sound financial managem ent systems in place and are
receiving funding from a variety of sources. These few organisations are becoming quite
influential in the public sphere. In general, the N GO sector’s overall resources are insufficient
to meet its financial needs. Only rarely do NGOs ch arge fees for their services or engage in
economic activities to support their work. In addit ion, NGOs generally do not engage in
fundraising, and Albania has no culture of philanth ropy.

Despite the problems mentioned, reports from OSCE, USAID, and Freedom House suggest
that certain initiatives and ideas put forth by the civil society have taken root, such as those
pertaining to human rights, media and research. How ever, the dependency on donor funds is
still disturbing since there is a tendency on the p art of civil society organisations to adopt
their projects to the objectives of donors rather t han the priorities and needs of the country.
Apart from money and funds, there is also another f actor contributing to the dependency and
confusion of civil society regarding international organisations. This is related to the lack of
legitimacy and the unstable political situation in Albanian politics and society, which has
assigned the international community with a very im portant role in the domestic political

8 Human Development Promotion Center, Third Sector De velopment in Albania: challenges and opportunities,
2007, page 34
9 Partners Albania, Directory of Albanian NGOs in 2009 : 10 USAID, NGO Sustainability Index 2008 for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, 2009, page 46


4. Influence of Corruption on Civil Society
Due to the Albanian history and prevailing corrupti on in the country, civil society and
government are still reluctant and even sceptical t o trust each other. This is an important
aspect which affects and sometimes even hinders coo peration between government and civil
Since the collapse of communism in Albania, both pe tty and grand corruption has spread
through practically all levels of the executive aut horities, local governments, judiciary as well
as the society. Several senior ministers and govern ment officials, parliamentarians and
officials in the governing party in Albania are dee ply involved in corrupt behaviour.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 ranked Albania 10 points
less than in 2008 (95 to 85). That is a significant sign that the corruption in the country is still
high and that efforts undertaken up to the present have not been sufficient.
Corruption exists in different forms in Albania. Fr om the bribing of public officials, to the
abuse of tenders, in faulty privatisation, in the r ewarding of public contracts, in purchasing of
positions, in formation of monopolies on basic good s, in discriminatory application of laws
and taxes against competitors, in illegal funding o f political parties and electoral competition
or in the outright theft of state property and reve nue.
In recent years, anticorruption rhetoric has played a major role in the political discourse, but
to date there have been only insignificant successe s from this approach. The government
speaks more about corruption, and donors assisting Albania spend more money combating
it, but there is little evidence of actual accompli shment. The European Commission’s 2008
progress report states, “Corruption remains a parti cularly serious problem in Albania.”
Even though further efforts have been undertaken in the fight against corruption, corruption
remains a particularly serious problem in Albania a nd for its civil society. The 2007-2013
National Strategy for Development and Integration c ontains anti-corruption elements;
however it lacks a framework for implementation. An anticorruption strategy for 2007-2013
was adopted in October 2008, but implementation has not started yet and monitoring
mechanisms remain to be assessed. The institutional set up and coordination in the fight
against corruption remain weak. There is no effecti ve institutional framework to coordinate,
monitor and implement anti-corruption policies acro ss public administration.
5. International Cooperation 12 and German Development Cooperation
Eleven multilateral donors (accounting for approxim ately 58% of the foreign aid) and 23
bilateral donors operate in Albania. The two larges t multilateral donors during the period
2000-2008 have been the EU and the WB. As for bilat eral donors, the five largest, over the
same period, have been Italy, Germany, Japan, the U S and the Netherlands.
Since 2000, the ratio of external assistance to gro ss domestic product (GDP) has declined.
This is mainly due to the increase in GDP (which ha s increased to € 8.7 billion in 2008
compared to € 4.6 billion in 2001), rather than a d ecline in external assistance. In 2008, the
estimated ratio of external assistance to GDP was 3 .65 %. Although the share of GDP

11 Transparency International, Global Corruption Rep ort 2009, page 399. 12 Council of Ministers, Department of Strategy and Donor Coordination, External Assistance in Albania –
Progress Report 2008, Tirana 2009, pages 8-10.


supported by the international community is declini
ng Albania is still dependent on inputs
from abroad
At the insistence of international donors, the Alba nian government is undertaking efforts to
coherently implement the Millennium Development Goa ls, the National Strategy for
Development and Integration (NSDI) and the Stabilis ation and Association Agreement (SAA),
the three decisive reference documents. The MDG, to gether with the NSDI as an
implementation strategy, have become reference fram eworks for international donors. The
government is increasingly assuming responsibility for the projects of foreign actors, which
should further improve the donor coordination.
Most of the programmes implemented by foreign donor s place high importance on
governance, especially to the maintenance of the ru le of law and the combating of corruption,
as well as to increasing the capacities and service s of the Albanian administration. Efforts to
overcome poverty are also of utmost importance.
The largest donor in the media and civil society se ctor is USAID, followed by the EU,
Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. Many of the pr ojects are being implemented by the
OSCE presence in Albania. Key bilateral actors that have been supporting the sector are US,
EU, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, focusing mainly i n institutionalising civil society’s
engagement in Albania, capacity development and ser vice delivery. SOROS Open Society
Foundation has also been offering support in this s ector.
The development cooperation between the Federal Rep ublic of Germany and Albania began
in 1988. The overarching objective of this cooperat ion, along with improvement of the living
conditions and the quality of people’s lives, is to support Albania’s increasing alignment with
the European Union. The priority areas agreed betwe en the two countries since 2001 are:
· Drinking water supply, sanitation and waste manage ment,
· Energy and
· Sustainable economic and social development.
Furthermore GTZ is strengthening the cooperation be tween the state and civil society on
behalf of the BMZ so that the people themselves can participate in the necessary reforms.
For its part, the Albanian government has set up a fund for the promotion of civil society
6. Strengthening Civil Society and Democratic Struc tures in Albania – Lessons
The main objectives of the project were to strength en the active involvement of civil society in
decision making, to establish a legal framework in supporting the civil society’s participation
role and to institutionalise the role of civil soci ety as an integral part of the mechanism of
governance at central and local level.
The most important outputs of the project are: · A brochure on “Good Governance in Albania” publish ed by the government
· Accreditation of a Civil Society Fund of 1 Mio. US $;

13 The brochure was distributed in the name of the C ouncil of Ministers to all ministries, municipalities and NGOs
in Albania.


Approval of a civil society law and the establishm ent of an agency for the support of civil
society by parliament;
· Drafting the charter of the civil society by repre sentatives of the government and civil
6.1. Task Force and Steering Committee
From the beginning on, the GTZ-project developed an d implemented the strategy of
establishing a task force with representatives of t he government and civil society.
Representatives of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) a nd Ministry of European Integration (MoEI)
were chosen by the project, as they demonstrated go od will in complying with European
standards (with respect to civil society inclusion)
14. Civil society was represented by very
active civil society organisations in the socio-pol itical scene like the Human Development
Promotion Centre, Institute for Habitat Development and Gender Alliance Development
Centre. With regard to the gender aspect, the task force consisted of five women and two
men. During the implementation of the project, the Team Leader explicitly considered the
participation of women in working groups and meetin gs on national and regional levels.

Figure 1: Working-Team during the Implementation of the GTZ-Project
The project was able to win top executive leadershi p members of the Council of Ministers
(CoM), Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of E uropean Integration (MoEI) for the steering
committee. The steering committee acted as the deci sion-making body. Everything that the
task force suggested was approved by the committee. During the whole project the task
force had regularly meetings, acting as an advisory body towards the steering committee.
Before that an effective and institutionalised coop eration between government and civil
society was not common in Albania. In the course of the project a new culture of team work
between both partners was developed. Therefore, the establishment of a task force and a

14 These two ministries have been chosen, as the pro ject followed the indicator in the GTZ-proposal to select at
least two departments on governmental level, comply ing with European standards, with respect to the
improvement of the legal basis of civil society’s p articipation. These two ministries consulted civil society
actors in the process of drafting the National Strat egy for Development and Integration (NSDI) 2007-201 3 in
the year 2006.
Task Force
· Ministry of Interior: Department of Integration (2 )
· Ministry of European Integration: Directorate of In stitutional Support (2)
· Civil Society: Gender Alliance Development Center, H uman Development
Promotion Center and Co-Plan (3)

GTZ -Project
Team Leader
Steering Committee
· Council of Ministers: General Secretary
· Ministry of Interior: General Secretary
· Ministry of European Integration: General Secretary


steering committee with both representatives of gov
ernment and civil society were good
instruments for successful teambuilding.
An ongoing fruitful cooperation within this structu re indeed supports a good partnership
between government and civil society, builds up tru st and demonstrates ownership of the
Lessons Learnt:
In countries, were the cooperation between governme nt and civil society is generally weak,
an effective measure can be to bring together representatives from government and civil
society in working groups. The establishment of a task force and a steering committee
including representatives from both parties induces a good partnership between government
and civil society from the beginning of the project on, builds up trust and demonstrates the
ownership of the government during the project.
6.2. Development of Indicators and Baseline Survey
In order to develop further indicators for the proj ect, the team leader arranged a baseline
survey. The dual purpose of this baseline survey wa s to:
● Provide a baseline of data on public opinion perce ption about participation of civil society
in decision making.
● Gain a clearer idea on how civil society conceptua lizes its decision making through
various social groups and government and non-govern ment representatives.
The survey was conducted by students of the Faculty of Social Science of Tirana University
in order to establish a set of data to measure or c ompare changes over a period of time. The
information provided helped to understand the curre nt situation of the program and to
monitor the impacts of the project. At the same tim e results of the survey were reflected to
the steering committee.
Lessons Learnt:
In governance projects with a focus on supporting c ivil society the preparation of baseline
surveys to gather information about public opinion in certain questions, is good way to
compare changes over a period of time and to monito r the impacts of the project.
6.3. Media Monitoring
The aim of the process to monitor the media was to continuously check the presence and the
visibility of media regarding the participation of civil society and citizens in policy and decision
making, promoted by central and local bodies of gov ernance. It was a direct and indirect way
to measure the impacts of the project and it was al so used as a progressive indicator.
In December 2006, the project started monitoring fi ve main independent daily Newspapers:
Gazeta Shqiptare, Standart, Shqip, Panorama and She kulli.
As a result of the topics treated and directly tack led by civil society, there has been a
considerable increase in the attention of the media towards problems regarding the society.


The civil society remains to be one of the most fre
quent opponents and criticizers of the
governmental policies. The monitoring of media cove rage shows that during 2008 civil
society has been very active in the development of policies, especially legislation (2007 has
been characterized by a notable involvement of the civil society in policy design due to the
fact that this was the year of the approval of the National Strategy for Development and
Integration). The monitored press coverage indicate s that civil society exerts pressure on the
political class, making problems public through the monitoring of development programms
and public engagement of the government. The result s of the monitoring of the five
newspapers highlight the fact that civil society ha s the adequate potential and expertise to
enable its engagement in the policy-making and deci sion-making processes, potentials which
are being considered and used by the government. Co mpared to the period January-
December 2007, the media reflection shows that duri ng 2008 there has been a publicly
expressed commitment on the side of the government for the involvement of civil society in
the policy-making and decision-taking processes, es pecially in anticorruption monitoring.
Lessons Learnt:
The introduction of media monitoring in projects th at are implemented on a political level is a
helpful method, to continuously monitor the participation of civil society and citizens in policy
and decision making. It is also a direct as well as indirect way to measure the impacts of the
6.4. Workshop on Good Governance
The purpose of this workshop was to present good op erating models and practices that
promote and institutionalise the participation of c ivil society in decision making.
The workshop covered the following topics: ● The policy process;
● why government should reach out to society’s stake holders;
● the potential roles for civil society in policy-ma king;
● a list of good operating models of European countr ies with regard to civil society
participation in policy and decision making and
● some thoughts on how central government might orga nize its policy-making.
The participants in the workshop represented a mix group of people with different experience
and length of service from both civil society organ isations and government ministries.
Recognising the differences in knowledge, awareness and perceptions, the presentation
focused on creating a common understanding on what a policy process entails and how the
involvement of civil society can lead to improved p olicy making.
The most visible outcomes of the workshop were: ● State-actors started thinking to officially streng then civil society involvement in their
decision-making processes;
● There was a common understanding that there are ce rtain skills, instruments and
methodology that specifically serve to the idea of institutionalising civil society
participation in decision making;
● Civil society received a positive feed-back and si gnal from the government regarding the
latter’s good will to institutionally cooperate wit h civil society;
● The process of defining a good model had started;


Training needs of government officials and civil s ociety organisations were identified
(information management, stakeholder management, ne gotiation techniques and
change management);
● The need of study tours was defined, both at the s enior policy decision-maker level, and
at the more technical level.
After this workshop the task force supported by the project, drafted a brochure on “Good
Governance in Albania” that introduced the objectiv es of the project, the main concepts on
civil society, state and civil society, the meaning of good governance, contributions of good
governance from government and the civil society an d how relations between state and civil
society can be build up and suggested criteria on t he selection of partners among civil
society. After the approval of the steering committ ee, the brochure was published in the
name of the Council of Ministers (CoM) and distribu ted to ministries, local governments and
civil society organisations. This brochure has incr eased the good will of the government, has
strengthened its ownership and generated transparen cy and built up trust amongst civil
6.5. Study Tours
Two study tours to Estonia and Malta were conducted to assist the senior policy decision-
maker level to select an appropriate model to suppo rt and finance civil society. Malta was
selected as it is a Mediterranean country and the M altese culture is similar to the Albanian
one. Estonia shares a certain history with Albania as former country among the communist
bloc in Europe.
Estonia invited senior decision-makers (both from g overnment and civil society
organisations) on a study tour to speak with, and l earn from their Estonian counterparts in
order to obtain a sense of the merits of the Estoni an model/approach and learn from the
benefits in creating and implementing it. The same group of Albanian decision-makers was
taken to Malta. Malta implements a very structured approach but it reportedly is not as
successful as the Estonia’s model. This helped to h ighlight the contrast and served as an
incentive for the Albanian participants to work tow ards the adaptation of the Estonian model.
The direct result, as an outcome of the study tours , was that an Albanian model was drafted
by the task force and was introduced to the project steering committee with the participation
of civil society representatives, reflecting mostly the Estonian approach.
6.6. Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Civil Society Support Agency
Following the outcomes of the workshop on Good Gove rnance, publishing a brochure on
Good Governance and the lessons learnt from the stu dy tours to Estonia and Malta, the CoM
decided to establish a Civil Society Fund in Octobe r 2007. The Fund was approved by the
Parliament for the Budget of 2008. So far this has been the first initiative of the Albanian
Government to support the activities of civil socie ty within the state budget, regarding it an
important achievement towards building mutual trust and confidence between both
government and civil society.
However, so far no grants have been disbursed throu gh the Civil Society Fund in 2008 and
2009 as no capital can be distributed from the stat e budget without having an institutional
framework for this matter e.g. a specific law, enti ty, procedures etc. Therefore the project
supported the task force in drafting a “Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Civil
Society Support Agency”. The agency will, once esta blished, allocate grants to civil society
according to clearly defined procedures. After the approval of the steering committee two
local legal experts drafted first version of the la w and by-laws, which was revised by an


international expert on civil society law and then
introduced to the steering committee and
other representatives from the government, legal ex perts from CS organisations and
representatives of some Albanian institutions worki ng with public funds.
The law defines the mechanism of the Civil Society Support Agency (CSSA), which is
planned to be embedded in the Council of Ministers
, with the following mission and
objectives: · The CSSA’s fundamental mission is to encourage the sustainable development of civil
society and the creation of favourable conditions f or civic initiatives for and in the interest
of the public.
· In order to reach this goal, the CSSA offers finan cial assistance
15 for projects that
encourage and strengthen the sustainability of NGO, inter-sector and international
cooperation, civic initiatives, philanthropy, volun teerism and democratic institutions as
well as other projects that facilitate the fulfilme nt of its mission.
· While exercising these tasks, the CSSA is guided b y the strategic priorities of the
government for the development of civil society.
Furthermore, the law defines the organs of the CSSA and their duties, the sources to finance
the Civil Society Fund, procedures of selection and decision-making and the auditing and
financial reporting of the activities of the CSSA. The by-laws refer to the grant procedures,
board nominations and the statute of the CSSA.

15 According to the “Law on the Organisation and Func tioning of the Civil Society Support Agency” the Civil
Society Fund will be financed through the annual sta te budget and other lawful donations. (Law on the
Organisation and Functioning of the Civil Society Sup port Agency, Chapter 5, Sources of financing of the C ivil
Society Fund, Article 16, page 7)


Figure 2: Draft of Institutional Infrastructure of Civil Society Support Agency
The CSSA is managed by the Supervisory Board, which consists of nine members. The CoM
appoints four members of the Supervisory Board from representatives of the institutions of
the central public administration and five members from representatives of the organisations
of civil society, in compliance with the principle of equal gender representation.
For the selection of civil society representatives in the Supervisory Board the CoM will
publish an announcement for opening the selection p rocess for representatives of civil
16 The potential Board members from civil society sho uld have at least 3 years of
work experience with CSOs. Support will be provided based on an open, competitive process
and candidates should provide their documents
17 at the time of application for grants.
The Agency will provide grants in forms of:

16 The Supervisory Board will use all possible channel s to communicate the announcement to NGOs through
publication in a national newspaper, uploading it o n the CoM’s website, through different mailing lists,
websites popular among NGOs, donors contact lists, etc. After the nomination period, the CoM announces all
candidates that have applied and are eligible (i.e. have completed all the requirements for the positi on).
17 Certificate for their current situation from the office of the NGO-register issued not earlier than 3 months prior
to the deadline for submission of the application d ocuments, copy of their financial report from the last year as
submitted to the tax authorities, copy of their sta tute/charter and project proposal.
Council of Ministers
Beneficiary Civil Society
Civil Society Support Agency
Director Evaluation
Civil Society Fund
Project Grants, Institutional and Individual Suppor t
Supervisory Board
5 Members of Civil Society and 4 Members of Governm ent


Project grants which are given for conducting specific activities based on the conditions
of the Calls for Proposals announced;
● Institutional support which are strategic investments in increasing the sustainability of
the civil society sector. These are given to organi sations, whose development is
important to the development of civil society in ge neral, and who contribute to improving
the framework and the capacity of CSOs in Albania a nd
● Individual support which is given to individuals for scholarships, pa rticipation in
international conferences and other activities rela ted to the development of civil society.
In cooperation with Tirana OSCE office (Organisatio n for Security and Co-operation in
Europe), a set of regional meetings were organised during June-July 2008, discussing the
draft law with local NGOs in Tirana, Durres, Vlora, Elbasan, Korca, Shkodra, and Kukes,
which are the most populous and economical regions in Albania. The OSCE contributed
through financially supporting all regional meeting s.

Figure 3: Presentations and Discussions of Drafts i n Regional Meetings in Albania
Regional meetings were used as a mechanism through which the project consulted specific
civil society actors on the draft law. These region al meetings provided an opportunity to civil
society organisations to have their impact on (a) d rafting the law for Civil Society Fund, (b)
the model/idea of the CS charter and on other issue s related to institutionalising civil
society’s role in local governance. In most of the regional meetings civil society raised
concern about how the board members of the Civil So ciety Support Agency will be
nominated, obviously not trusting the government in the process of disbursing the money to
civil society organisations.


Those comments and concerns were duly taken into co
nsideration in the process of
formulating the final draft. In March 2009 the Parl iament approved the law and its by-laws
which institutionalise the establishment of the Civ il Society Agency under the CoM, as the
responsible structure for the administration of the Fund.
The process of developing a legal framework was a s uccessful measure of including civil
society in decision-making and creating a culture o f dialogue and collaboration between
government and civil society. An indirect outcome o f this process was that two municipalities
(Shkoder and Korce) adopted the idea of implementin g a Civil Society Fund at the local level
to support civil society organisation.
Lessons Learnt:
Developing legal frameworks with the involvement of civil society in the process is a fruitful
procedure to create a culture of dialogue and collaboration between government and civil
society. This process needs a good moderation and l obbying with all stakeholders and
involved institutions by the team leader of the project.
6.7. Charter of the Civil Society
In line with law on CS, task force of the project i dentified the need for a charter of the civil
society, which should be developed and endorsed as part of this process. This charter would
outline the duties and responsibilities for NGOs, t he obligations of the state towards NGOs
and how NGOs should operate. It would also determin e the relationship between NGOs and
government and between NGOs themselves as well as d efine the legal and administrative
requirements that should be in place for NGOs to re ceive state funding. This charter would
be a prelude for the law of the Civil Society Fund and would complement the law in that it
would provide a basis for establishing good practic e and strengthen governance.
As mentioned earlier in the report, the development of a charter of the civil society was
identified as an important step in regulating the t asks of NGOs and in creating a framework
for establishing relations between state and civil society
The project supported the task force in appointing a working group with representatives of
civil society and government to draft such a charte r, taking into consideration the gender
aspect. In a participation-oriented process the mem bers of the working group drafted one
chapter each, introducing the draft in the same way like the law on the Organisation and
Functioning of the Civil Society Support Agency on a regional and national level in Albania
(see figure 3).
The charter of the civil society is the political d ocument of cooperation between the
state/government and civil society and does not con stitute a legal obligation but rather a
political commitment which publicly recognises civi l society as a key social actor in the
Albanian society. By means of this document both pa rties express and determine their
reciprocal commitments aiming at: · Strengthening democracy through increased politica l participation.


Creating and increasing awareness so that the mark et economy does not dictate the
creation of a market society, but ensures a higher social cohesion.
The charter of the civil society also offers the fr amework, mechanisms and policies that
should contribute towards: · Strengthening and promoting the cooperation of gov ernment bodies with their citizens
and NGOs.
· Increasing the engagement of citizens through the organisations they adhere to, in order
to influence policy formulation and decision-making at the central and local level.
· Improving the conditions for the empowerment and s ustainable development of
organisations of the CS, through the establishment of a more favourable regulatory/legal
· Establishing the legal and institutional basis for the implementation of the European
Union (EU) standards with regard to the CS.
· Improving public access to information.
· Supporting, promoting and stimulating volunteer wo rk.
· Improving the legal opportunities and financial in centives/ instruments that help develop
and promote philanthropy.
The draft of the charter of the civil society was f inally presented in a Round Table for
representatives of the government on national level , civil society and the donor community in
December 2009 organised by the project. It is still unclear how civil society will ratify the
charter as there is still no umbrella organisation acting on behalf of the overall civil society.
However, representatives from civil society recomme nded in the meeting that the document
should be finally approved by the parliament.
Lessons Learnt:
Drafting political documents in participation-orien ted process between government and civil
society builds up trust between both parties, there by illustrating how government is accepting
civil society as a serious partner.
7. Conclusions and Outlook
The German Technical Cooperation through the GTZ-pr oject assisted the Albanian
government to strengthen the active involvement of civil society in decision-making
procedures by establishing a legal framework in a p articipation-oriented process. The
publication and distribution of the brochure on “Go od Governance in Albania” in the name of
the CoM, the accreditation of a Civil Society Fund, the approval of a civil society law by the
parliament and the development of a charter of the civil society in teamwork between
representatives of the government and civil society were important steps to institutionalise
the role of civil society as an integral part of th e mechanism of governance at central and
local level.
The establishment of a task force and a steering co mmittee with both representation of
government and civil society from the beginning of the project on were successful
instruments for teambuilding between these two stak eholders. An ongoing fruitful
cooperation within this structure indeed supports a good partnership between government
and civil society, builds up trust and demonstrates the ownership of the government. This
ownership to include civil society in decision maki ng has been developed during the
implementation of the project, turning civil societ y cooperation partner.


The project was supposed to end in December 2009. H
owever, during the consultations
between the Albanian and German Government on Decem ber the 9
th 2009, the Albanian
government expressed its strong motivation to exten d the project with BMZ. The Albanian
government is obviously very pleased about the outc omes and the success of the project
and has emphasised its sustainability.. So far the project has developed the institutional
framework for the inclusion of civil society in the democratic process: now the mechanism
has to be implemented. The Albanian government dema nded further technical assistance
from the German government, which has officially be en approved in the protocol of the
consultations. As a direct outcome the project will be extended until December 2010.
This emphasises again the strong ownership of the g overnment towards civil society. The
next steps of the process will be the establishment of the Civil Society Support Agency and
the disbursement of the allocated money to civil so ciety organisations in a transparent way
and with clearly defined procedures.


List of Abbreviations
BMZ Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
CoM Council of Ministers
CS Civil Society
CSSA Civil Society Support Agency
CSO Civil Society Organisations
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GOPA Gesellschaft für Organisation, Planung und Aus bildung
GTZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammen arbeit
EU European Union
INSTAT Institute of Statistics in Albania
MoEI Ministry of European Integration
MoI Ministry of Interior
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NGO Non Governmental Organisation
NSDI National Strategy for Development and Integr ation
OSCE Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
SAA Stabilisation and Association Agreement
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
US United States
USAID United States Agency for International Deve lopment
WB World Bank


Afrim Krasniqi, Civil Society in Albania, Frankfurt 2005
BMZ Special 168, Promoting Resilient States and Con structive State-Society Relations –
Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability, Bonn 2 009
Council of Ministers, National Strategy for Develop ment and Integration 2007-2013, Tirana
Council of Ministers, Department of Strategy and Do nor Coordination, External Assistance in
Albania – Progress Report 2008, Tirana 2009
EU, Albania 2009 Progress Report, Brussels 2009
Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2009 – Country Re port Albania,
GTZ, State and Democracy, Eschborn 2008
GTZ, Progress Reports, Tirana 2007 and 2008
Human Development Promotion Centre, Third Sector De velopment in Albania: challenges
and opportunities, Tirana 2007
IDRA, Corruption in Albania, Tirana 2009
INSTAT, UNDP, World Bank, Albania: Trends in Povert y, Tirana 2009
Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Civi l Society Support Agency, Tirana 2009
Najada Tafili. Consolidation of Democracy: The Alba nian Case, New York 2007
OSCE, Annual Report 2009 – Albania, Tirana 2009
Partners Albania, Centre for Change and Conflict Ma nagement, Directory of Albanian NGOs
in 2009: gj=gj2&kid=56
Transparency International, Global Corruption Repor t 2009, Cambridge 2009
USAID, NGO Sustainability Index 2008 for Central an d Eastern Europe and Eurasia, 2009


Interview partner from November 16 th till December 11 th 2009 in Tirana
· Mrs. Valdet Sala – GTZ/ GOPA-Team Leader
· Mr. Gjergj Lezhja – General Secretary of Council o f Ministers
· Mrs. Valentina Leskaj – Member of Parliament of th e opposition party
· Mr. Arben Kashahu – Former General Secretary of Mi nistry of European Integration
(Member of Steering Committee)
· Meeting with Ms. Juliana Hoxha – Member of working Group for drafting CS charter (CS
· Ms. Vjollca Meçaj – Local Legal Expert (CS represe ntative)
· Mr. Fatos Hodaj – Executive director of Municipali ties Association (CS representative)
· Mrs. Genta Bektashi – Director of European Integra tion Department at Ministry of Interior
· Mrs. Elda Kalaja – General Secretary of Ministry o f European Integration
· Mr. Dritan Shutina – Member of Task Force (CS repr esentative)
· Mr. Ylli Cabiri – President of Human Development P romotion Center (CS representative)
· Mr. Fatbardh Kadilli – Member of Parliament (Forme r Adviser of Prime Ministers for