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Speeches & Transcripts October 23, 2018

Remarks by Albania Country Manager at the Launch of Citizen Feedback System in Road Maintenance and Safety

Honorable Minister Gjiknuri,

Dear Mr. General Director of ARA,

Dear colleagues and distinguished Guests,

I am delighted to participate in launching event of the Social Transparency System and Grievance Redress Mechanism, which is directly linked with the Bank-financed results-based and Road Maintenance Project.

As many of you know the Results-based Road Maintenance and Safety Project is financing the maintenance of about 1,400 kilometers of the country’s national road network. The innovative approach implemented in this project requires that Contractors successfully meet or exceed levels of service performance that are measured through indicators. This approach has the potential to offer cost savings and can be more effective in meeting the service levels that really matter to the road-user.

Having in mind the road-user, ie public at large, both Government of Albania and the Bank are interested to see high levels of public participation and information dissemination in this project. This provides greater transparency, improve the performance of public institutions, and is a means to fight corruption.

In this regard, and following similar example from other World Bank financed projects in Albania, the Bank has proposed and used its own resources to finance and develop a Social Transparency System (STS). This is  a feedback and grievance redress system, allowing road-users and the general public to submit their feedback on the Project, Performance Based Maintenance Contractors and the Albania Road Authority, via sms, telephone, smart phone apps and web interface.

After one year of work of the Bank and ARA experts the STS, or feedback and grievance redress system, is now able to provide to road-users and the general public, a platform where they can submit feedback on the Project and national network. In addition, the web-site will also provide performance information and Project data to the public,  by generating series of reports, which will also provide information on how and when specific complaints have been responded to and public concerns have been addressed.  This system can be used not only by Albania Road Authority (ARA) but also by the Bank and the Monitoring Consultant of Performance Based Maintenance Contracts.

We expect that the use of STS system will enable quick responses to unsafe or unsatisfactory road or safeguards conditions; will  provide the public with a higher level of confidence in ARA’s management of road maintenance; will  improve transparency and governance perceptions; and will provide a system for dissemination of information regarding road conditions.

The STS will also be an additional tool in obtaining data for monitoring the impacts of the interventions (repair and improvement works), through analysis of the feedback and by obtaining road-users perceptions of the projects outcomes. Moreover, such feedback will be disaggregated by both gender and socio-economic parameters.

We believe that ARA will use this system beyond the life of the Project. In this way, STS will provide an important accountability and feedback link between ARA and its clients, the road-users, well into the future.

I would like to extend my congratulations to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and the Albania Road Authority for achieving this important target of the Project and also for taking a big step forward toward transparency and participation to ensure effective and efficient use of public funds.

Thank you.