The first Albanian Rural Parliament 2017 represents an advocacy, capacity building and networking platform to make the voice of rural communities stronger. It will offer a unique model of bottom-up perspective to influence effective governance in the area.
The Kick off event of the 1st Albanian Rural Parliament was held on April 14, 2017, in the premises of the Agricultural University of Tirana. It brought together academics, civil society organizations and ANRD members, representatives of Regional Development Agencies, other relevant actors and students of different study areas at the AUT. The opening remarks were addressed by the rector of AUT, Prof. Dr. Bahri Musabelliu, who encouraged all participants to discuss on ways we can capitalize on perspectives and experiences to support and promote the country’s rural development.
Key messages from this event:
- Effective rural development requires partnership between the public sector-civil society-academic community. Better systems of consultation to enable the participation of non-public actors in shaping rural development policy and the promotion of evidence-based policy-making. The need for such consultation and exchange spaces of information and experiences was confirmed by participants who shared examples of different examples empirical studies which were not being considered by decision-makers;
- Rural development should be oriented towards area-based development which is integrated, involves cross-sectoral partnership and multi stakeholders as well. The interest to the LEADER approach implementation should be increased in parallel with provision of support for the creation of partnerships between sectors for introducing LEADER/CLLD;
- Inhabitants of rural areas, families and various organizations, farmers’ associations, youth groups, women’s associations, clusters consortia and nucleus as well as various other groups are primary responsible of developing their own communities. To this end, they must take the role of change actor in their community. Promoting the role of leaders should be at the heart of rural initiatives;
- Governance and policy makers should develop a better understating and take concrete actions and reforms in the area of rural development; donors might help also in this regard;
- Municipalities need to strengthen their capacities toward integrated and area-based development of rural areas; socio-economic development of rural areas should be supported though promotion of the endogenous potential of territories;
- Strengthening civil society and the whole non-public sector is a priority to enable the development through the bottom-up approach;
- AUT expressed readiness to coordinate at every stage with ANRD in the process.
Partners in this undertaking shared a common vision as regards the role of academia, civil society and other stakeholders addressing the critical issues and challenges rural development is facing. Albanian Rural Parliament offers a window of opportunity also vis-a-vis experience sharing and know how transfer regionally and Europe wide.
Twelve regional round tables will be organized for the purpose of consultation with all stakeholders in twelve regions around the platform of rural development challenges in our country and among other highlighting the regional differences and specifics of rural development.
The Albanian Rural Parliament will be held on 28-30 September by bringing together about 300 representatives from local, public authorities, private sector, civil society as well as formal and informal groups of local communities across the country. Conference, plenary sessions, thematic workshops, discussions and promotional activities of typical local products from different rural areas will be part of the two and a half days program of the event. Sharing of concrete Slovenian, Croatian and Italian experiences concerning the implementation of the LEADER/CLLD approach will expose local Albanian actors with LAGs of various themes. The 61 municipalities will be represented with public officials , farmers, different economic and social agents.
“Joint Declaration of the First Albanian Rural Parliament – a set of recommendations that address the development priorities of rural communities in Albania” will target the new Government and its relevant structures to ensure their commitment to further advance the “Albanian Rural Agenda”.