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UNDP set out its goals in Albania

Ms. Turkoz-Cosslett has recently been appointed UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. Prior to this she served as Senior Manager and Team Leader for Central Asia at the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS in UNDP, New

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Forsaken Albania

By Artan Lame Durr쳬 1915. Execution of the leaders of the 1914 rebellion. Musa Qazimi, the Myfti of Tirana and Haxhi Qamili, illiterate peasant. The anti-national and reaction uprising of the years 1914-15, which seriously endangered the existence of Albania,

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                    [post_content] => Ms. Turkoz-Cosslett has recently been appointed UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. 
Prior to this she served as Senior Manager and Team Leader for Central Asia at the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS in UNDP, New York. 
She has also been a Program Specialist to the UNDP Administrator in New York, Portfolio Manager at United Nations Office for Project Services in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; UNDP's Liaison Officer for Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey and Assistant Resident Representative with UNDP Algeria 
Ms. Turkoz-Cosslett holds Master's degree in International Affairs with a concentration on development economics from Columbia University in New York.

You have just been accredited as UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. What will be the focus of your work and how will it relate to the development needs of the country?

UNDP opened its office in Albania in 1991 and currently provides approximately USD 9 million a year in development and technical assistance grant funding to the country.  As in other parts of the world, UNDP's programs in Albania are identified based on national priorities and plans following consultations with a variety of stakeholders including members of Government, civil society, academia and private sector.  
As UNDP Resident Representative, together with our team, I plan to build on the positive experiences of UNDP's program across Albania, from Beautiful Gjirokast철to programs such as the Area Based Development in the Kuk쳠region. We will begin a new UNDP country program covering the period 2006 to 2010. The overall objective of this new country program is to contribute to a more effective government at both the central and local levels through support to capacity building for implementation of effective national policies, increased participation in policy and decision-making, support to decentralization and implementation of regional and local development strategies. This program derives from the collective UN business plan for Albania prepared by the UN Agencies referred to as the UN Development Assistant Framework 2006-2010. In order to respond to the needs of the new Albanian Government in a number of priority areas, UNDP has also just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide assistance in four new areas:

i. Combating Extra-Legality and Tax Reform
UNDP will contribute to national efforts in addressing extra-legality through the provision of high-level international expertise.  

ii. Internet for Schools
UNDP has begun to work with the Government to assist in the preparation of an "E-School Partnership Initiative" that would involve contributions from the business community, UN agencies and international partners. The aim is to provide internet access to schools all over Albania.

iii. 'Brain Gain' Initiative 
As you know Albania has had in the past decade one of the highest emigration rates in the world. The government is now keen to attract qualified Albanians to return back to participate in the development efforts of the country. In response to this request UNDP is preparing an umbrella program to facilitate the return of Albanian Diaspora to contribute expertise for academia, public sector and private sector. 

iv. Environment and Tourism 
UNDP assistance will focus on supporting the drafting of a national strategy for cultural and eco-tourism to provide new means for economic growth, income generation and jobs.

UNDP is deeply involved in helping the country reach the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. Do you think Albania is on track in terms of reaching the Goals and what comes next following the completion of the MDG Regional Development Strategies?

UNDP and UN agencies in Albania have supported national efforts to analyse and raise awareness on the MDGs in support of Albania's goal of European Union integration. During the past three years efforts were made to bring the MDGs closer to the people and to generate discussion and debate around development issues in Albania. 
I would like to highlight that Albania is one of the few countries in the world which has undertaken a full fledged sub-national localization of the MDGs through the completion twelve MDG regional development strategies and reports. These reports aim to empower local governments, streamline local development efforts and identify gaps where both national and international investment can be made according to needs at sub-national level.  However I must stress that reports alone are not enough נand the follow up by stakeholders is key. For example in Kuk쳬 the implementation of the Regional Development Strategy is supported by an area-based development program with support from the European Commission. It is also important for these regional reports and strategies to have strong links to the central level plans and priorities such as the Integrated Planning System (IPS), the EC stabilization and association process (Sap), the National Strategy for Social and Economic Development (NSSED). 
In July 2003, the National Parliament of Albania approved a resolution on the Millennium Development Goals, which stipulates the obligations of the Government of Albania to regularly report on progress made towards the achievement of the MDGs. 
At the 2005 World Summit in September, developing countries agreed to adopt and implement comprehensive national development strategies to achieve the MDGs, and developed countries have resolved to support developing country efforts through increased development assistance, wider and deeper debt relief and promoting development-orientated trade as an engine for development.
The UN system has an important role to play in supporting this global partnership for development. On whether Albania is on track to reach the goals: In Albania there is poverty and disparity which continue to undermine equality and inclusiveness; however this is combined with progress in many fronts today and I have tremendous hope that if the right human and domestic resources are mobilized, together with civil society and an enabling environment for private initiatives, there is no reason why the MDGs could not be met by 2015.

Do you think UNDP will be involved in specific projects which help establish a healthy environment for business development in Albania and how?

Investors around the world look for stability and a good investment climate. In our own way we have been contributing to support a more secure environment through the Security Sector Reform program. This program initially started through support to the Government in the collection of illegal weapons from the population and has now moved to more of a community based policing efforts towards crime prevention. 
I would also mention a few other initiatives such as our work with the Ministry of Economy to support trade promotion and trade liberalization as well as promotion of foreign direct investment that directly impact the business sector in Albania. 
Global experience demonstrates that private sector has tremendous potential to contribute to development efforts through knowledge, expertise and resources. In Albania we have entered into partnership with Albanian Mobile Communication (AMC), Vodafone, ALB Design, Edil-AI-IT, United Bank of Albania and Malev Airlines to support the Millennium Development Goals agenda. We work with Western Union together to assist the poorest commune (Zapod) of the poorest region (Kuk쳩. The partnership agreement includes USD 100,000 towards the construction of a new school in Zapod. 
With regard to future plans, I'd like to mention our work to set up a Business Incubator in Kuk쳠in the context of our on-going Area Based Development Program to promote small and medium enterprise development in the region. In addition we have the facility of the Global Compact which we hope to draw upon to support our partnership with the private sector including the chambers of commerce operating in Albania.  

In your capacity as UN Resident Coordinator, what do you expect to achieve in the joint work with other UN agencies in Albania?

I have a dual function in Albania. One is UNDP Resident Representative and the other is the UN Resident Coordinator. As part of the UN reform agenda at the country level, around the world the UN works much closer as a team to develop the best strategy to respond to national needs and plans. National ownership and a focus on shared results is key. The UN program in Albania is focused on building the capacity of national partners to manage their own development effectively. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues from UN agencies in Albania in a spirit of partnership and with a focus on supporting government strategy to better serve Albania and its people.

And last but not least, what do you make of the country and its people so far?

I have only been in the country for two weeks. I am very impressed with the rich human resources and talent of the country and the tremendous potential this country has. I traveled to Vlora last week and was also impressed with the beauty and the great potential for tourism of this specific region. I am very pleased to be here and very much hope that my work and that of the UN will help Albania and its people to meet their development challenges.  

(This interview first appeared on the AmCham Advantage Magazine, a trade publication of the American Chamber of Commerce in Albania. Reprinted by permission) 
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                    [post_content] => By Artan Lame

Durr쳬 1915. Execution of the leaders of the 1914 rebellion. Musa Qazimi, the Myfti of Tirana and Haxhi Qamili, illiterate peasant.  The anti-national and reaction uprising of the years 1914-15, which seriously endangered the existence of Albania, as an independent state, remains one of the darkest and, on the other hand, one of the most distorted episodes of our recent history.  In the sixties, for ideologial purposes, this rebellion was distorted and was transformed into a "progressive movement," of the peasants led by the "courageous and intelligent peasant," Haxhi Qamili, who rose up against a foreign monarch and the big land owners, for freedom and social justice!! In fact, not one of our writers or patriots of the time mention this rebellion positively, but merely note it as a reactionary movement, pro- the Sultan by his fanatical followers in Tirana, Kruja, Shijak and Kavaja, peasants who supported the Sultan, as ignorant as they were, bandits, and who, under the obscurantist slogan, "We love the Father," pillaged, looted and imprisoned, and in many cases, killed, many patriots and schooled individuals they came across. The escalation of the rebellion and the lack of any possibility of reaching an agreement with them, due to their intransigency, was one of the important reasons thar led to the departure of Prince Vid from the country, who, in despair, failed to find the logic in such an absurd movement of these socalled insurgents, who fought against the interests of their own country for a power that had surpressed them for four hundred years. The rebellion was put down in June-July 1915, its leaders were captured by Esat Pascha Toptani, they were tried, condemned and executed by hanging.
The first corpse hanged, in the photo is that of Haxhi Qamili, the third is of Musa Qazimi. They had instilled such profound terror in people that to acknowledge their deaths, this photograph of their hanging was produced as a postcard. This one for example was sent from Fieri to Vlora. Today, this gesture probably seems babaric, but if you go back in time to those years, you would perhaps change your mind.  Five years later, after he had hanged Haxhi Qamili, Esat Pascha Toptani was also assassinated, this time by Avni Rustemi, who himself was assassinated five years later by Ahmet Zog, a nephew of Esat Pascha Toptani.... Europe hd been through stories like this in the Middle Ages, and Shakespeare about four hundred years earlier, to which he devoted tragidies. In Albania, these stories happened in the time of electric power, and even today they do not make all that much of an impression on us. Is it our fault is that we are outside of the times, outside of Europe that is galloping ahead? 
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            [post_content] => Ms. Turkoz-Cosslett has recently been appointed UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. 
Prior to this she served as Senior Manager and Team Leader for Central Asia at the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS in UNDP, New York. 
She has also been a Program Specialist to the UNDP Administrator in New York, Portfolio Manager at United Nations Office for Project Services in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; UNDP's Liaison Officer for Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey and Assistant Resident Representative with UNDP Algeria 
Ms. Turkoz-Cosslett holds Master's degree in International Affairs with a concentration on development economics from Columbia University in New York.

You have just been accredited as UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. What will be the focus of your work and how will it relate to the development needs of the country?

UNDP opened its office in Albania in 1991 and currently provides approximately USD 9 million a year in development and technical assistance grant funding to the country.  As in other parts of the world, UNDP's programs in Albania are identified based on national priorities and plans following consultations with a variety of stakeholders including members of Government, civil society, academia and private sector.  
As UNDP Resident Representative, together with our team, I plan to build on the positive experiences of UNDP's program across Albania, from Beautiful Gjirokast철to programs such as the Area Based Development in the Kuk쳠region. We will begin a new UNDP country program covering the period 2006 to 2010. The overall objective of this new country program is to contribute to a more effective government at both the central and local levels through support to capacity building for implementation of effective national policies, increased participation in policy and decision-making, support to decentralization and implementation of regional and local development strategies. This program derives from the collective UN business plan for Albania prepared by the UN Agencies referred to as the UN Development Assistant Framework 2006-2010. In order to respond to the needs of the new Albanian Government in a number of priority areas, UNDP has also just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide assistance in four new areas:

i. Combating Extra-Legality and Tax Reform
UNDP will contribute to national efforts in addressing extra-legality through the provision of high-level international expertise.  

ii. Internet for Schools
UNDP has begun to work with the Government to assist in the preparation of an "E-School Partnership Initiative" that would involve contributions from the business community, UN agencies and international partners. The aim is to provide internet access to schools all over Albania.

iii. 'Brain Gain' Initiative 
As you know Albania has had in the past decade one of the highest emigration rates in the world. The government is now keen to attract qualified Albanians to return back to participate in the development efforts of the country. In response to this request UNDP is preparing an umbrella program to facilitate the return of Albanian Diaspora to contribute expertise for academia, public sector and private sector. 

iv. Environment and Tourism 
UNDP assistance will focus on supporting the drafting of a national strategy for cultural and eco-tourism to provide new means for economic growth, income generation and jobs.

UNDP is deeply involved in helping the country reach the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. Do you think Albania is on track in terms of reaching the Goals and what comes next following the completion of the MDG Regional Development Strategies?

UNDP and UN agencies in Albania have supported national efforts to analyse and raise awareness on the MDGs in support of Albania's goal of European Union integration. During the past three years efforts were made to bring the MDGs closer to the people and to generate discussion and debate around development issues in Albania. 
I would like to highlight that Albania is one of the few countries in the world which has undertaken a full fledged sub-national localization of the MDGs through the completion twelve MDG regional development strategies and reports. These reports aim to empower local governments, streamline local development efforts and identify gaps where both national and international investment can be made according to needs at sub-national level.  However I must stress that reports alone are not enough נand the follow up by stakeholders is key. For example in Kuk쳬 the implementation of the Regional Development Strategy is supported by an area-based development program with support from the European Commission. It is also important for these regional reports and strategies to have strong links to the central level plans and priorities such as the Integrated Planning System (IPS), the EC stabilization and association process (Sap), the National Strategy for Social and Economic Development (NSSED). 
In July 2003, the National Parliament of Albania approved a resolution on the Millennium Development Goals, which stipulates the obligations of the Government of Albania to regularly report on progress made towards the achievement of the MDGs. 
At the 2005 World Summit in September, developing countries agreed to adopt and implement comprehensive national development strategies to achieve the MDGs, and developed countries have resolved to support developing country efforts through increased development assistance, wider and deeper debt relief and promoting development-orientated trade as an engine for development.
The UN system has an important role to play in supporting this global partnership for development. On whether Albania is on track to reach the goals: In Albania there is poverty and disparity which continue to undermine equality and inclusiveness; however this is combined with progress in many fronts today and I have tremendous hope that if the right human and domestic resources are mobilized, together with civil society and an enabling environment for private initiatives, there is no reason why the MDGs could not be met by 2015.

Do you think UNDP will be involved in specific projects which help establish a healthy environment for business development in Albania and how?

Investors around the world look for stability and a good investment climate. In our own way we have been contributing to support a more secure environment through the Security Sector Reform program. This program initially started through support to the Government in the collection of illegal weapons from the population and has now moved to more of a community based policing efforts towards crime prevention. 
I would also mention a few other initiatives such as our work with the Ministry of Economy to support trade promotion and trade liberalization as well as promotion of foreign direct investment that directly impact the business sector in Albania. 
Global experience demonstrates that private sector has tremendous potential to contribute to development efforts through knowledge, expertise and resources. In Albania we have entered into partnership with Albanian Mobile Communication (AMC), Vodafone, ALB Design, Edil-AI-IT, United Bank of Albania and Malev Airlines to support the Millennium Development Goals agenda. We work with Western Union together to assist the poorest commune (Zapod) of the poorest region (Kuk쳩. The partnership agreement includes USD 100,000 towards the construction of a new school in Zapod. 
With regard to future plans, I'd like to mention our work to set up a Business Incubator in Kuk쳠in the context of our on-going Area Based Development Program to promote small and medium enterprise development in the region. In addition we have the facility of the Global Compact which we hope to draw upon to support our partnership with the private sector including the chambers of commerce operating in Albania.  

In your capacity as UN Resident Coordinator, what do you expect to achieve in the joint work with other UN agencies in Albania?

I have a dual function in Albania. One is UNDP Resident Representative and the other is the UN Resident Coordinator. As part of the UN reform agenda at the country level, around the world the UN works much closer as a team to develop the best strategy to respond to national needs and plans. National ownership and a focus on shared results is key. The UN program in Albania is focused on building the capacity of national partners to manage their own development effectively. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues from UN agencies in Albania in a spirit of partnership and with a focus on supporting government strategy to better serve Albania and its people.

And last but not least, what do you make of the country and its people so far?

I have only been in the country for two weeks. I am very impressed with the rich human resources and talent of the country and the tremendous potential this country has. I traveled to Vlora last week and was also impressed with the beauty and the great potential for tourism of this specific region. I am very pleased to be here and very much hope that my work and that of the UN will help Albania and its people to meet their development challenges.  

(This interview first appeared on the AmCham Advantage Magazine, a trade publication of the American Chamber of Commerce in Albania. Reprinted by permission) 
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