Greater participation in public policy and decision-making
For countries with economies in transition, it is a development challenge to ensure that the benefits of globalization are evenly shared.
Despite legislative reforms related to human rights based on international standards of the UN and the European Union (EU), existing mechanisms of social policy have little effect on reducing the social exclusion of marginalized groups.
In Albania, broad based participation in decision-making in Albanian public life remains a challenge to be addressed. Laws exist regarding mechanisms for participation and the promotion of the rights of women, children, youth and Roma. However, given limited resources and competing priorities, the result is a significant gap in effective response and the subsequent and repeated violations of the rights of women, children, youth and disadvantaged minorities. Success also requires building the capacity of youth, women and marginalized groups to participate effectively.
Minorities. To support the Government in addressing minority issues, the UN conducted a vulnerability assessment of the Roma community in Albania. The UN also carried out intensive training on minority rights with central and local government officials, media, and Roma and Egyptian leaders. The UN is also supporting implementation of the National Strategy for Improving Roma Living Conditions, including the establishment of a sustainable monitoring and progress reporting mechanism within the Roma Committee, based at the Ministry of Labour and Equal Opportunities.
Youth. UN Agencies in Albania assisted the Government to revise the National Youth Strategy and formulate a National Youth Action Plan based on broad, countrywide participation with active involvement of youth throughout the process. The UN has also supported and partnered with the Youth Parliament, the Young Reporters TV programme ("TROÇ") and Millennium Development Goals Youth Ambassadors. Support has also been given to non-governmental organizations that provide vocational training, livelihood and life skills and employment opportunities to marginalized youth. The UN has worked with the Government to establish youth-friendly health services, which offer a range of medical and psychosocial services including HIV testing. This model has the support of Government ministries and has been incorporated into the National Youth Strategy.
Women. The United Nations advocates for the active and recognized participation of women in the realization of democratic governance in Albania. A strategic approach to good governance for women needs to go deeper than normative agreements, gender-sensitive policies and capacity building. Good governance for women must also address the root causes of the lack of public sector responsiveness to women. The place to examine the quality of good governance from a gender perspective is in the points of contact between women and the state. It is at the local level where women often have the most frequent access to the state’s response to gender equality, where the factors limiting women’s participation in public life can be most visible and readily addressed.
United Nations assistance goes towards increasing state capacity to close the gap between gender equality commitments and their impact on women; improving the extent to which public policies and institutions are able to respond to women’s needs; and increasing the ability of society – and in particular of women’s rights advocates – to hold the Government accountable in addressing gender biases which prevent women’s full participation in public life.
UN agencies will support opportunities for women, youth and marginalized groups to participate in public life and advocate for development needs.
The One UN Programme aims to strengthen institutions and forums to include civil society participation in policy development and decision-making by targeting non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, vulnerable minorities, youth, women’s groups, media and local governments.
The UN works to increase national and community participation in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Support will be provided to legislation and policies that recognize the role of interest groups in the design, delivery and monitoring of basic services and priority government programmes and strategies. The UN is also working with the Government and civil society partners to ensure access and freedom of information, as well as increasing support to media development in the country.
The UN assists with establishing mechanisms that monitor the implementation and realization of rights of children, women, Roma and youth. This will require reform of the existing social assistance programme towards a more inclusive system for marginalized groups.
The UN is also supporting the collection and analysis of data that will help in the policy functions and in measuring the effect of poverty on vulnerable groups.
Joint efforts will lead to strengthening implementation of government policies and strategies related to social inclusion issues, and making better use of data in national, regional and local planning development strategies.
A joint programme will support the National Action Plan on Youth, which seeks youth empowerment and employment.