SIDA signs agreement with REC Albania to support environmental civil society

May 9, 2012

New programme to kick off with official launch in early June

By Mihallaq Qirjo, Country Director for REC Albania

GETTING INVOLVED: Citizens demonstrate their support for the protection of Vlora Bay in front of the Prime Minister's office. Photo: Courtesy of the Civic Alliance of Vlora

SENiOR-A is the name of a new programme to support environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) in Albania. The programme will be officially launched in early June 2012 and run until April 2015. After almost 20 years of development in this sector, the environmental movement now takes in numerous contributions ranging from grass-root efforts to specialised professional expertise. Part of the democratic process for all of Albanian society and institutional building is to bring more awareness and public pressure in terms of protecting Albania's natural environment.

The overall strategic goal of this programme is to strengthen and specialise environmental civil society in Albania in such way that it is able to articulate community needs, provide services and support, develop partnerships and networks, to address national environmental priorities, and to progress towards sustainable development.

There are more than 100 Albanian CSOs working in the environmental field, but few have the infrastructure and human capacity to serve communities and address local and national environmental concerns on a year-round basis.

With SIDA's support, REC Albania will aim to set the following strategic objectives for supporting and developing environmental CSOs:

  • grow weak organisations to strong and institutionalised CSOs with better democratic functioning (decision making, transparency, etc.) and stronger environmental vision (mission driven, clear focus, long term sustainability);
  • shift donor-driven and broad, project-based organisations to programme-based CSOs with long-range planning and support and specific environmental expertise; and
  • integrate individual organisations with no or limited levels of cooperation into environmental networks and coalitions (concrete and effective cooperation and partnerships on specific environmental topics).

Furthermore, by achieving the above mentioned objectives, the programme aims help CSOs:

  • rise from neglected and excluded groups to projecting an articulated voice that is heard and respected by state institutions at national and local levels (through dialogue building, public participation and public pressure in the environmental decision-making process); and
  • expand from being mainly centred in Tirana to building a region-based presence (multi-centred representative approach).

Among many tailored activities to address the CSO needs are a wide range of training courses and publications, several granting support schemes and exchange activities both in Albania and throughout the region.