The Institute for Democracy and Mediation, as the implementing organization of the ALTER project in Albania organized a series of consultation meetings with various actors of rural development across Albania.
Such meetings were focused on the pressing issues and challenges of rural development in Albania, and models of discussion with key decision-makers. Participants of these consultation meetings were representatives of local grassroot organizations, small producers, farmers’ associations, and representatives of public institutions such as local authorities etc.
A list of challenges and constraints that adversely affect rural development in Albania were identified, for which advocacy and lobby efforts are needed. Some of these issues include:
- Understanding that rural development is a cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach (agricultural and rural development should involve all institutions at all levels, from central to those at regional and local levels and operating in different sectors);
- Challenges deriving from the territorial-administrative reform (lack of capacities to address the needs and problems that rural communities manifest, unconsolidated local governance, institutional barriers, democracy deficit etc.);
- Land property issues (fragmented agricultural holding; unused agricultural land, property rights);
- Low level of collaboration among entities; unsustained partnership type established in frame of various development initiatives;
- Disadvantaged situation of women and youth living in rural areas (low socio-economic status, lack of opportunities, high levels of unemployment, etc).
The final output of this consultation process will be the development of a National Advocacy Plan, which will contain recommendations and credible advice about models and tools of direct cooperation, advocacy and dialogue with government structures.