Making Policies Work – Program for Applied Policy Research Open Society Institute support
The MPW will influence the policy-making arena in Albania through the development of three themes for applied policy research, respectively:
1. Public Administration in Albania – Territorial Administration
2. Transfer of State Property to Local Government – Public Asset Management
3. Empowering Environmental Management at Local and Regional Level
4. Housing Industry in Albania
5. Property Tax for Innovative Municipal Finances in Albania
All three themes are connected with the field of decentralization and building up local government and working out healthy central – local relationships. Policy making for all three themes has started and it is expected that this policy making process will take a number of years in Albania. The implementation of MPW will not only provide meaningful findings and policy recommendations on the three mentioned themes, it will feed public debates, promote lobbying and advocacy, and work closely with the government, civic sector, and media.
Theme 1: Public Administration in Albania: structure, territorial administration, economies of scale and public services
The goal of this research is to contribute to strengthening of the decentralization process in Albania, by providing comparative multi-criteria analysis of the different options on territorial adjustment and making policy recommendations based on the conclusions and impacts of different options (inter-LG cooperation / shared services centres, amalgamation of LG units etc.). As a contribution to the territorial and public administration reform implementation – an issue of high political sensitivity in Albania, – Co-PLAN will support the policy discussion with sound arguments and research findings and closely cooperate with government institutions. During 2008, a broad evaluation of the territorial administration framework in Albania will be undertaken. Cultural geographical and political factors, economies of scale and efficiency of services will serve as the main indicators of the evaluation framework. Close cooperation with academic institutions and NGOs in Albania, cooperation with international academic institutions and experts from CEE countries will be a good basis for the proper development of the policy recommendation by the end of the 2008.
Theme 2: Transfer of State Property to Local Government – Public Asset Management
Within the component of local asset management, within 2008 Co-PLAN will explore the process of public property
transfer to LGUs, the obstacles encountered and the conditions that need to be clarified for the process accomplishment. Raising of expert-wise discussions on accountable decision-making on local property use will be one of the issues to be addressed. On the other hand, experiences of other Central and East European countries on local property transfer and asset management will be identified in order to draw some basic guidelines of success and understand similarities and divergences. Two research papers and one policy paper will be developed within the year on the impediments of public property transfer process, on accountability and decision-making regarding local asset use and management. These issues will be discussed and shared with the expert in a national round-table foreseen to be organized within November 2008.
Theme 3: Empowering Environmental Management at Local and Regional Level in Albania
Albania formulated policies on the environment, but translating vision to reality is the current major question. Institutional responsibilities for environmental policy and management are fragmented and at times overlapping and vague. Effectively converting national policy to municipal and regional levels, critical in view of decentralization policy in Albania, has hardly begun. Within the context of the national endeavours in the environmental field, this research addresses environmental management at local and regional levels, by contributing to the institution of municipal and regional environmental policy through (i) proposing institutional models for local arrangements for environmental management and (ii) providing policy options and recommendations for environmental management. During the first year the project implementation will focus on solid waste, as one of the major public services that has a tremendous impact on environment. Research efforts will go for the integrated analysis of the service aiming at measuring impacts, developing tools for monitoring the service implementation, assessing changes that an Integrated Solid Waste Management system would bring in the overall environmental policy at the local level and finally provide recommendations.
Theme 4: Housing Industry in Albania
The aim of this research is to elaborate the essentials of the housing development in Albania along the cycle of the last 18 years through an examination of the relationship of market forces. The focus of the research will be to observing the effects of the Albanian housing development to the nation economy and to the urban space, followed by the demographic profile, as well as to provide meaningful information and policy recommendations of how to shape the construction sector in such a way to respond to the community need and to the urban space, while returning capital investments into a real benefit for the construction sector and for the nation-wide economy, accompanied by a strategic investment plan and housing policies.
Theme 5: Property Tax for Innovative Municipal Finances in Albania
Exploring the Property Tax in its all complexity will be the second new issue for the research agenda of MPW. This comes as the compulsive step to be undertaken from Co-PLAN after working with eight municipalities in assisting them to improve financial performance through the preparation of capital investment plans and better levies of taxes, especially property tax. The research study will be undertaken to explore innovative financing alternatives that local governments can use as instruments for responding the growing need for infrastructure in the cities focusing in the ‘role’ the municipalities can play as an important regulator in the land administration process through the ‘proper’ use of the property tax at the local level. The project will be seen as consisting of two main components; (i) the first linked to the innovative ways local governments can adopt the taxes related to the housing sector to generate more revenues for capital investment needs in the cities (ii) and the second linked to policy recommendations for public institutions at both central and local level on the use of property tax as an instrument to regulate the land administration in Albania.
You can read more about the project in the blog: Making Policies Work.