WHAT ARE SDGs?
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Having endorsed Agenda 2030, the Government of Albania is aiming to embark upon a comprehensive implementation in line with the National Strategy for Development and Integration 2015-2020 (NSDI II) and the EU integration agenda.
The Government of Albania has initiated a number of efforts to implement the global development goals. First, the NSDI II is explicitly aligned to the SDGs. Secondly, in 2015, the Strategic Planning Unit/DDFFA, within the PM’s Office with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) implemented a pilot project to develop and test SDG16 targets and indicators to feed into the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework. As a result, a set of 21 governance indicators along with targets, baselines and sources of data were also integrated into the NSDI 2015-2020 pillars.
Where does Albania stand?
In July 2016 a stock-taking exercise was carried out to assess the level of integration of SDGs- goals and targets into the NSDI II and sectoral programmes. It used a UN Rapid Integrated Assessment tool. The analysis involved the assessment at the goal, target and indicator levels of the NSDI II and related strategic frameworks, namely a set of 50+ national strategies, national plans and policy documents. The assessment shows that, despite certain overlap, a substantial number of SDG targets and indicators are not covered by the current Albanian policy framework. Coordination of efforts and mobilization of institutional resources (human and financial) both at national and local level are therefore necessary. A close working relation with INSTAT is part of this effort.
On 24 October 2016, the UN in Albania and the Government signed the new 5 year Programme of Cooperation for Sustainable Development, which is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The new Programme articulates the focus of all 17 UN Agencies active in Albania regarding the implementation of SDGs in line with NSDI priorities
The UN-GoA Joint Executive Committee held in November- with participation of DDFFA, Deputy Ministers from all line Ministries, and UN Agencies served to discuss on the level of integration of SDGs to Programme of Cooperation for Sustainable Development 2017-2021 as well as Government’s actions towards Agenda 2030 implementation. The meeting also benefited from the input of a delegation from Montenegro, that had volunteered to be one of the first countries to report against SDGs at last year’s UN High Level Political Forum in New York.
In 2017, The Prime Minister’s office – specifically the Department for Development Cooperation with the support of UN– has initiated the development of a National Action Plan for Albania’s pursuit of SDG that will be finalized shortly. The document identifies main actions, key stakeholders, responsibilities, timeframe and approximate financial costs. Building on the rapid assessment of plans and indicators already undertaken, the UN is also helping the PM’s office now to prepare a baseline SDG report, collecting available data against the SDG indicators. The baseline report will allow existing development partners and forums – such as the IPMGs – to cross-check their priorities and programmes in light of longer-term SDG goals. A technical workshop with line Ministries and civil society was organized in April 2017 to discuss thoroughly the level of indicator alignment with national strategic framework as well as methodology to monitor implementation and reporting of SDGs by Governmental institutions. The monitoring and reporting process, will be part and parcel of integrated monitoring processes of National Strategy for Development and Integration and related sectorial strategies.
Efforts are also taken by relevant line Ministries, to launch and take ownership over specific SDGs. In April, the Ministry of Education and Sport, in cooperation with UNESCO and UNICEF launched the Sustainable Development Goal 4-Education 2030 and the Education Policy Review report. The event aimed to promote awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and SDG4 on Education in particular.
INSTAT is planning to include SDG indicators in the action plan for the implementation of the new 5 year statistical workplan.
On 17 May 2017, under the leadership of the vice Prime Minister, the Government established a SDG Committee to provide guidance for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Albania, ensuring harmonization of SDGs with the national strategic framework. This inter-ministerial committee will see the participation of Government ministers, independent institutions, local government, development partners, private sector, academia and civil society.
Concrete steps have been taken to engage partners from the international community in the strategy in the longer term for the implementation of the SDGs. It has started with informative meetings on the SDGs in the Development and Integration Partner (DIP) meetings as well as with meetings around the 4 Outcomes of the new UN-GoA Programme of Cooperation for Sustainable Development.
The UN in Albania has been active in organising several events to draw attention to the SDGs. Most recently, this was done during SDG week (coinciding with the UN General Assembly in September 2016), where a Social Good Summit was organised with the Minister of Social Welfare, several schools were involved in the World’s Largest Lesson, and an SDG film was shown in cinemas in Tirana.
Additional outreach activities include young people across the country, such as the awareness session with students from University and high-schools in Tirana, Shkodra, and other districts. Around 200 students of a Model UN conference had the opportunity to interact with the UN Resident Coordinator on the Agenda2030 and SDG achievement at country level. Design innovation boot camps on Child friendly and Safe Cities have been also organised to focus on specific SDGs.
Encouraging steps have been taken to take the private sector on board. UN has worked with the Albanian CSR network, the International Chamber of Commerce and the Albanian Association of Banks and will continue to do so. Our extensive network of civil society organisations are a natural ally in our endeavors.