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 nonpublic actors in shaping rural development policy and the promotion of evidence-based policymaking. The need for such consultation and exchange spaces of information and experiences was confirmed by participants who shared examples of different 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-à-vis experience sharing and know how transfer regionally and Europe wide.