Tirana, 15 -16 June 2020– UNDP and its partners of the STAR 2 project presented the results of the “2nd Local Governance Mapping in Albania,” a national survey combining citizens’ perceptions and municipal officials’ accounts on four Good Governance dimensions: Effectiveness and Efficiency, Transparency and Rule of Law, Accountability and Participation & Citizens Engagement. The first assessment was conducted in 2016.
The results show an overall slight improvement of the Local Governance compared to the previous one. Out of the four governance dimensions, municipalities fare better in Effectiveness and Efficiency, jumping from 60 to 64 out of the 100 points in 2020, followed by Transparency & Rule of Law marking an improvement from 56 to 59/100. Accountability and Participation & Citizens Engagement remained at their previous levels, with respective scores of 59/100 and 50/100.
The increase of 4 points in the dimension of Efficiency and Effectiveness, results from the improvement of the score in the subcomponents of vision and planning, cooperation with third parties as well as satisfaction with municipal services.
Data shows an improvement in planning capacities, while the absence of consolidated and reliable data at local level and insufficient monitoring and reporting systems on performance remain persisting issues.
Transparency and Rule of Law scores 59 out of 100 points, marking an improvement of 3 points compared to the year 2016. Findings point to the same level of gaps in access to information related to municipal projects, activities, and services. The citizens’ perception of transparency is lower in rural areas and so is access to information on projects, activities, and services.
Citizens’ perception of corruption at the local level scored 60 points out of 100, marking an improvement of 3 points compared to 2016. Yet, local strategies, plans and mechanisms to fight corruption at local level are considered as insufficient, calling for further interventions.
Due to the existence of internal control mechanisms and systems to respond to oversight bodies, Accountability scores at average scoring range with 59 points, the same as the 2016 assessment. The assessment shows that building of an integrated and effective complaint management system remains one of the biggest challenges faced by the local governments.
Participation and Citizens’ Engagement scores the same level as in 2016, 50 out of 100 points across municipalities, representing again the weakest dimension of local governance.
Citizen engagement sub-dimension scored lower compared to 2016 and engagement with Civil Society Organizations scored “very poor”. Citizen participation in planning, local project implementation and monitoring of public sector performance are all rated as “average” and do not show signs of improvement.
The overall situation of citizen engagement has dropped to “nearly poor” when it comes to communities’ interaction with the local government or CSOs. The latter’s engagement is very low, reflecting a continued lack of engagement of the community with local governance.
The survey has adopted a combination of Local Governance Barometer and Citizen Score Cards techniques. 11,934 citizens selected randomly and proportionally to the size of each of 61 municipalities have been interviewed. In addition, the assessment included 61 Focus Groups with high-level municipal officials, 61 Community Dialogues, and reference gathering from relevant demographic, economic, social, public and administrative data.
The measured dimensions are assessed against a scale from 0-100 and the overall national average shows that while in 2016 only two municipalities scored over 70 points by the LGM parameters, that number went up to 5 in 2020. Another positive finding worth noting is that the assessment found no municipalities scoring under 40 points, unlike 2016. There is an increase of the number of municipalities falling under good and average ranging score.
In her opening remarks, the UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Limya Eltayeb, said: A better performance in these four governance dimensions brings local governments and citizens closer, establishes social cohesion, helps raise public employees’ ethical standards, improves the overall effectiveness of service delivery, and thus builds trust in institutions and the necessary public support for municipal activities along their political and public mandates."
The Representative of the EU Delegation to Albania Mr/Ms///////// said: “Democratic engagement and civic participation is a fundamental priority of EU and an indicator for functional democratic governance, thus the overall and specific score of municipalities in this dimension calls for particular attention and dedication to put in place functional mechanisms of participatory decision-making that boost the trust of citizens and make them feel part of local governance”
About the Project: In 2016, the Government of Albania, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program in Albania started the implementation of the project "Consolidation of the Administrative and Territorial Reform - STAR2.” The project, benefitting all 61 municipalities, worked to strengthen institutional capacities of local administrations and improve the service delivery and the environment for active civic engagement, which together aim at achieving good local governance system in Albania.
The project operates on a pooled funding mechanism, which has been made possible through financing from several partners: the European Union, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, USAID and UNDP and the Government of Albania.