Flag experts assisted in the compilation of Albania's decentralisation strategy and in its implementation at the local level.
At the national level, assistance was provided under COMPASS to the Task Force on Decentralisation. A Flag expert was assigned as a permanent advisor to the Task Force and provided feedback on the policies that were drafted. Experts were also involved in organising round-tables to obtain feedback from local authorities on the draft Albanian Strategy on Decentralisation in early 1999. During the implementation of the strategy and compilation of several laws, Flag experts were involved in discussions with local authorities on the proposed draft laws (‘Functioning and Organisation of Local Government in Albania’; ‘The Prefect’; ‘Package on Taxes and Fees’; ‘Urban Planning’). The round-tables were organised in close cooperation with the Association of Albanian Municipalities (AAM) and recommendations submitted to central government on behalf of the AAM were drafted by Flag’s team of experts.
At the local level, strategic plans, local economic development plans, a business profile, a tourism management plan and urban plans were elaborated by Flag experts assisted by a municipal working group that provided the basic local information and other input.
More recently, Flag experts have been involved in undertaking Accompanied self-assessment of Decentralisation and Local Development Programme (DLDP) partner LGUs and participating in the Local Government Leadership Programme and Partnership with Administration for an Effective Governance, Rubik Municipality. Through these projects Flag has assisted nine first-level LGUs improve their performance in exercising their functions. In addition, Flag experts have assisted the second level of local government (the region, ‘qark’ in Albanian) through the project Finalising the project proposal ‘Support programme for strengthening local governance in Dibër Qark, Albania’.
The Foundation employs four full-time staff, including the director and vice-director. Three staff members are Albanian, with excellent command of English and Italian, while the fourth member is English. The Foundation’s strength, however, rests in the large pool of experts developed over the past ten years, formed since before Flag was established.