By Elton Stafa
Albanian local governments face many challenges as they work to fulfill their responsibilities in education, social protection, and healthcare. Key obstacles include inconsistent regulation of roles and responsibilities between the different levels of government and the lack of adequate funding systems, which often lead to insufficient and inadequate service delivery to citizens.
To provide effective advice to Albanian policymakers facing new questions on how decentralized responsibilities in education, social protection, and healthcare should be regulated and financed, PLGP will share best practices based on the experiences of other countries in the region that have faced similar challenges in the past.
PLGP is preparing a Regional Comparative Survey “Best Practices in Financing Local Government Responsibilities in the Social Sector in Southeast Europe”. This survey will combine information on regulation and financing of local government responsibilities in the social sectors in education, social protection, and healthcare from Albania’s neighbors in the Western Balkans and Southeastern Europe.
Local governments in these countries have more extensive experience in providing these services and therefore have lessons learned to share which could be useful for Albanian policymakers. The survey results will identify best practices; existing financing standards and mechanisms; and monitoring and reporting systems from Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania. These countries have been selected as they have struggled with many of the same issues that now face Albanian policymakers in their efforts to improve the regulation and financing for responsibilities in preschool education, social protection, and healthcare.
The resulting experiences, best practices, and lessons learned will play a key role in informing the way ahead for Albania. This regional comparative survey will be prepared in partnership with the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of Southeast Europe (NALAS). The comparative survey will be followed by a Regional Peer Learning and Knowledge Sharing Conference: “Best practices in Financing Local Governments’ Responsibilities in the Social Sector: The Southeast Europe Experience and the Challenges Facing Albania,” which will bring together elected Albanian officials, policymakers, and local government association representatives with counterparts from countries in the region.
The comparative survey and the regional conference will map local government responsibilities in the social sectors and will help policymakers and practitioners create a better understanding of the major issues of the current organization and financing of these responsibilities in Albania.
These steps will consequently help identify best practices for how the governance and finance system for decentralized social responsibilities can become more consistent, transparent, equitable, and predictable.