Your Excellency Ambassador, dear colleagues from the British Council, distinguished participants and winners of the competition,
I would first like to congratulate and thank all 144 groups who submitted their proposals for this competition. This is an impressive level of response that demonstrates how important governance improvements are for the Albania public. The effort of each and every group and individual who participated in this process and contributed to its success is highly appreciated.
I would like to extend special thanks and congratulations to the 10 winners of what turned to be a very competitive process. The innovative ideas that they put forward cover multiple dimensions of good governance and accountability and extend to virtually all parts of the country.
Key elements of good governance are transparency and accountability in decision making, effective delivery of public services, and inclusive participation of different civil society groups in reaching decisions that affect them and monitoring their implementation. Good governance is cross-cutting and involves all levels of government - from national to local to the community level, and all institutions, - government and non-government, public and private. What is particularly encouraging that all these diverse elements are present in the winning proposals.
I would like to thank the British Council for managing this process with impressive results.
Better governance is critical to Albania’s economic and social progress and its aspirations towards integration with the European Union. It is recognized as priority by both the government and civil society. That is why it is also an important priority for World Bank support to Albania. We support governance improvements through a variety of activities and instruments. To mention just a few:
- analytical work to assess trends in governance indicators, areas of progress and areas where more progress is needed
- applying “governance filter” to projects and programs we support to facilitate better use of public resources and better results from their use
- sharing global best practice and helping build capacity in service delivery, accountability mechanisms , financial management processes, and innovations , such as e-governance applications
One of the most important activities is to support civil society initiatives and strengthen the “demand-side” for good governance. One of the great successes that Albania has recently had is in arresting violent crime and ensuring public safety. A key factor of success, in addition to major government efforts, was strong support from citizens. The global experience is also clear: good governance cannot just come from the top, it requires strong bottom-up demand - from citizens, private sector and civil society organizations. It requires the work and commitment of all you here.
That is why your participation and efforts are so valuable and so encouraging. I wish you full and complete success in implementing your ideas and carrying these and new ideas through well beyond the term of these specific projects. I wish all the others – who participated in this competition and those who may be inspired the examples of today’s winners to carry on and expand such activities.
If such initiatives grow, it will be the surest way to make Albania an even better place.
We at the World Bank remain committed to supporting civil society in Albania. I am pleased to conclude by announcing that we will soon issue a new call for civil society proposals that will be focused on gender issues.
Thank you, and once again, congratulations and best wishes to the winners.