On 30 August 2023 The President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bajram Begaj, accepted the Credential Letters presented by the Ambassador of Sweden, Mr. Niklas Ström, accompanied by Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation Ms. Petra Burcher, First Secretary Mr. Johan Willert and Political Adviser Mr. Viktor Gunnarsson Popović.NEWS
General information: Sweden’s development cooperation resources are funded through tax revenues. The Swedish Parliament makes decisions regarding the state budget, which includes the funds allocated to international aid. Sweden’s government agency for development cooperation is Sida. The authority to make decisions on behalf of Sida is delegated to the Embassy in Tirana since 2011. The Strategy for Sweden’s reform cooperation with the Western Balkans and Turkey for 2021–2027 is set by the Swedish government: strategy-reform-cooperation-western-balkans-and-turkey-2021-27.pdf (government.se). The yearly budget allocations for Albania amount approximately to 11 MEUR and distributed in 4 main areas/sectors. Agreement partners are public authorities, multilateral organisations, Swedish public agencies, CSOs, etc. The Swedish bilateral reform cooperation is complemented by regional programmes and cooperation through other channels such as Swedish Institute. Through Openaid, you can find all Swedish support globally as well as by country, including Albania. For general information on partnerships with Sida, check here: https://www.sida.se/en/for-partners/partnership-with-sida/
The support aims a balance towards achieving strategy objectives with respecting the independent role of the civil society actors. Considering the nature of the long-term high-level objectives of the strategy, the interventions selected to contribute to its objectives are typically not small-scale interventions. The preferred modality is supporting civil society organisations through other civil society organisations that forward funding to selected partners, provide training, mentoring, coaching, etc. This modality gives access to funding to a considerable number of organisations all over Albania. The Embassy has direct agreements with a few selected organisations whose work match with the thematic priorities of the Embassy.
There are currently no open calls for applications. The call for applications is not the preferred method for selecting civil society partners directly by the Embassy. The mechanism of support to civil society aim to encourage collaboration and not competition amongst local CSOs in accordance with the principles of the Sida’ s engagement with civil society. Having said this, Sida/Embassy agreement partners may publish call for applications depending on the needs and the type of the programmes and give possibility to different types of organisations to qualify. Information on call for applications from partners are regularly posted in the Embassy social media. In the framework of projects/programmes supported by the Embassy in different sectors, cooperation with CSOs can be included but with a very specific focus (Community Policing as an example).
The Embassy does not have funds for culture related activities. Direct support to individuals is not possible. However, there might be opportunities for cooperation in Sida funded programmes and which need to be explored by contacting directly with the relevant partners. When there are opportunities for cooperation with various culture related actors in Sweden, they are posted in the Embassy social media.
It is not possible to support financially stand-alone activities or events.
What it is? Core support is a long-term and flexible funding to mission driven CSOs’ overall Strategic Plans and operations as opposed to project or programme-based support, which is earmarked for a certain set of outcomes and activities. The Swedish Embassy has started a core support programme for selected Albanian Civil Society Organisations operating in thematic areas of interest within Democracy, Human Rights, and anticorruption. The number of selected partnerships is limited, and this is not the only mechanism for support to civil society organisations. See also question no.1.
What type of organizations are considered? Formally registered Albanian non-governmental organisations with a governance structure (i.e., general assembly, supervisory board, and executive director) with clearly separated responsibilities. To ensure that the CSOs have capacity to manage core support, organisational assessments are conducted and are an important part of preparing for core support. Based on identified needs, support is given to the CSOs to develop or further improve the organisational capacity prior to the core support as well as during the implementation. Core supported organisations are expected to have a functioning governance and management structure, sufficient internal policies and procedures and proper financial management and control. Systematic and strategic institutional development is thereby a strong feature of core support. In addition, the CSOs should work in the areas of human rights, governance and anti-corruption, conflict prevention and environment.
How is the process? There are no calls for applications. The Embassy reaches out directly to potentially strategic organisations, but this does not exclude cases when organisations can directly approach the development cooperation section at the Embassy to present their work. It is strongly advised for the CSOs to carefully read the selection criteria (Annex I) and the principles of core support (Annex II). This enables interested CSOs to make their own assessments of their compliance with the embassy’s priorities and requirements and to decide if it wants to approach the embassy. First assessment/rapid assessment from the Embassy is made of to what extent interested CSOs’ visions, missions and goals coincide with the strategic priorities of the Embassy’s core support programme, together with a rapid assessment of CSOs’ organisational capability. CSOs which are considered strategic for the embassy thereafter undergo an internal control review (a type of audit), possibly complemented by a self-assessment as part of the selection process.
One type of support is sharing information on learning and training possibilities such as International Training Programmes | Sida which are also open for non-civil society actors and participants are selected on individual merit-bases. Another example of cooperation is launching of Swedish Institute toolkits https://sharingsweden.se/toolkits/ with relevant and interested Albanian partners.