7 donor governments commit support for Albania through the UN SDG Acceleration Fund
Governments of Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have jointly pledged to provide 11.65 Euro support to post-earthquake recovery in Albania covering systemic interventions in areas of Education, Community Infrastructure, Social Protection, economic Recovery, Gender Equality and Child Protection.
The news was confirmed today in a public statement made by the State Minister for Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj and the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania Brian J. Williams. 4 UN agencies, namely, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and FAO have been tasked to run the intervention under the coordination of the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Albania and the UN’s Multi Partner Trust Fund in New York.
Mr. Ahmetaj thanked the representatives of donors and the UN nations family of Agencies in Albania for their support provided to Albania to recover from the damages caused by the earthquake. “We are grateful for your collective and individual commitment to help the people of Albania overcome such a difficult situation for the country that was hit both by the quake and the global pandemic”. – he noted as he provided details of the overall strategy of Albania’s government to overcome the consequences of the earthquake.
UN’s Resident Coordinator Brian J. Williams said that Albania has the potential and the necessary support to come out from such challenging situation stronger and better. “We are working with the authorities and all local stakeholders that our recovery programmes strive to build back better”. Yes, the situation is challenging but if we are all committed to bring good change, we can achieve it” - Williams pointed out.
Albania suffered the consequences of a devastating earthquake last November claiming the lives of 51 people, with hundreds of people injured and thousands homeless.
Following the live-saving emergency support from day one following the disaster until the United Nations family of agencies in Albania worked closely with the Albanian Government, the EU, the World Bank and other development partners to support the country’s efforts to fully recover with a special focus of support for those who are most in need. The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment that was successfully carried out in February presented a clear picture of country’s needs for assistance and receive the support of development partners.
UN Albania has provided more details on the intervention that is expected to be carried out in the next 17 months, till the end of 2021 when the intervention will be complete.
In the area of education te support for students and teachers from schools affected by the quake will be provided by the UNICEF to strengthening online education capacities for these schools. In a wider support level, the UN’s children agency is pushing to have integrated it as an important element of the National Education Sector Strategy 2021-2026.
UNICEF will also provide support in recovery plans aimed at strengthening capacity building of teachers, psycho-social assistance and counselling, and introduce disaster risk reduction into education systems. As for the physical learning, UNICEF is working to establish child friendly spaces in pilot creches, kindergartens and schools in the affected areas.
UNDP will be working on reconstruction of community infrastructure damaged by the earthquake while UNOPS will be focused specifically in reconstruction of cultural heritage sites. Meanwhile, building up on its ongoing “In Motion” pilot, UNDP will aim to tackle significant market disruption, loss of livelihoods and employment opportunities in the affected areas, with the overall goal to stabilize livelihoods and improve the social and economic conditions, by addressing productive sectors, services, and the tourism sector, thus providing an opportunity to promote resilience and reduce vulnerability to future crisis.
UNDP’s support will aim to accelerate the recovery including support to the provision of adequate social services to the most vulnerable. Particular focus will be given to people living in tents to ensure that their social needs are covered through a set of integrated social services.
As for the child protection needs, UNICEF will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and other partners to address the in the affected areas, through strengthening the existing child protection system and work force and provide support to the implementation of recovery plans in child protection including psycho-social component with particular focus on issues around abuse, exploitation and violence.
FAO will be working to provide financial advisory services (i.e. linking farmers with financial resources available from banks, micro finance institutions and grant schemes) to support, rehabilitate or introduce micro-enterprise recovery and development, to create employment opportunities and increase farmer’s resilience in the affected areas. Support to strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and relevant agencies to deliver national legislation, policies and strategies on Disaster Risk Reduction, through technical advice, training, and practical tools will be sought.
UN Women will use the earthquake recovery process as an opportunity to strengthen resilience by reducing inequality and the vulnerability of women. It also aims to provide support to the Albanian government to mainstream gender in DRR and crisis response frameworks and ensure the authorities and society are well prepared to address gender-specific capacities and needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population. At the same time, it will be formalizing women’s role in the earthquake recovery process and help allocate roles and resources to affected women for more resilient recovery.
 The Government of Sweden will provide 1 million bilaterally to UNDP to support DRR area