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Consultative meeting in the region of Gjirokastra about the Final Draft Law "On the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society"

Gjirokastra, 3 April 2015

Agency for the Support of Civil Society (ASCS) together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth are continuing the regional meetings with the representatives of civil society throughout Albania to consult the draft law "On the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society".

The next destination of the round table was the region of Gjirokastra where there were participants from seven civil society organizations.

The meeting proceeded in the form of conversation, moderated by Mr. Andi Kananaj, Executive Director of the Agency for the Support of Civil Society (ASCS) and with the assistance of Mr. Kreshnik Loka, Lawyer and Project Coordinator at the National Youth Service. Mr. Kananaj presented an overview of the draft law and the reasons for its initiation.

The representative of "Gjirokastra" Foundation, Mr. Said Petrela, expressed his colleagues’ skepticism on the implementation of such law. He thought that the draft law would be productive for CSOs if its implementation is going to be done correctly. He proposed that such consultative roundtables with the representatives of CSOs from all over the country should be organized not only about the draft law, but also for the adoption of Regulation of NCCS, which will serve as the basic document of the Council.

Mr. Kreshnik Loka added that the draft law will regulate only the first elections of the NCCS and then, in the first meeting of the Council, it will be adopted its Regulation. He said that the draft law is drafted on general terms, aiming to have the Regulation as the detailed legal document, which will regulate the establishment and functioning of NCCS.

Mr. Kananaj emphasized the great importance of the election of the representatives of CSOs for the NCCS. This point was considered by him as the key moment of the process, which requires ideas and opinions of all civil society actors to have a comprehensive product and be accepted by the broad masses.

The Participants, unanimously, stressed the importance of geographic inclusion of CSOs in the Council. One of the participants proposed that all the regions of Albania should have their representatives in the Council. Mr. Kananaj pointed out that this proposal would be difficult to be implemented because it may happen that some of the regions can operate mostly in the same area of expertise.

Mr. Loka added that the draft law foresees an inclusion of all representatives according to areas of expertise and not according to the geographical distribution, to avoid overlap or inverse proportionality of representation of all organizations operating in the same field.

The representative of "Gjirokastra" Foundation proposed that the share of geographic representation can be facilitated by not putting certain quotas for each region, but by organizing periodic meetings and roundtables, with all the CSOs working in all regions of Albania, to get their recommendations and comments. He added that in certain areas, such as tourism, in Gjirokastra, NGOs have more experience than the state itself, because of their long experience in such field, working for many years and some other disfavor elements of the state such as the political rotation.

Another idea coming out of the guests, somewhat far from the object of the draft law, was the delegation of some specific competences of local government to NGOs (e.g. the management of Gjirokastra Castle). This came as the furtherance of the proposal made by Mr. Petrela on the level of the experience of NGOs.

Mr. Loka completed this proposal by bringing to the attention of the audience the fact that one of the novelties of such draft law is the right of NCCS to make recommendation to the Government on the distribution of public funds and on annual analysis of Ministries and Government Agencies regarding the funded projects and programs. This is one more opportunity to facilitate cooperation between civil society and state institutions.

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