Albania: Economic governance, regulatory reform, public participation, and pro-poor development in Albania
The sustainable supply of safe, sufficient and quality water is a priority for the government of Albania. While access to water has considerably improved in recent years, one of the persistent issues is poor service: the water pipes are old, the quality of water is low and there are frequent water cuts. The recent decentralization and commercialization of water supply services have pushed water prices up, but improvements in service are lagging behind.
Ensuring appropriate regulation and access to public utilities is a key issue for the country as it tries to combat informality, reduce regional disparities, promote social inclusion, meet its Millennium Development Goals targets and prepare for accession to the European Union.
Inclusive governance mechanisms are needed to ensure that competing interests concerning public utilities are articulated in a transparent manner, that the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account in decisions on investment and pricing, and that the trade-offs between economic growth, consumer protection, poverty reduction and environmental quality are appropriately managed.
To this end, the Joint Programme helped to put legal and institutional mechanisms in place and building the capacities of Government, utility regulators and consumer associations.
It also established mechanisms for participatory debate and decision-making as a way to improve access to electricity and water services, and thus to reduce poverty.
This Joint Programme was launched in August 2009 and was closed in June 2012.
JOINT PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS
- The joint programme has produced a report to help regulatory bodies better monitor the provision and efficiency of public utilities..
- A model water contract between water utilities and consumers developed by the joint programme is being introduced by all water utility companies, which will regulate the relationship between the parties and eventually improve the quality of the water and sewerage service in Albania.
- Consumer complaints management system established and web-based National Consumer Complaints Management System launched. The JP has conducted a capacity needs assessment to support consumer rights awareness, and is preparing a number of awareness activities including a documentary and media training. A study on the effectiveness of support to the poor has been drafted to support pro-poor utility policies; a survey conducted on willingness to pay is being used to guide price increases.
*as of June 2012 programme reporting period