Albania Progress Report 2023

A note by Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania

Welcome to the Albania Progress Report 2023!

One of the great pleasures of being a Resident Coordinator is seeing the results of the whole UN system working together.

In Albania in 2023 I observed the contributions each agency made during the year in their area of specialism, expertise and advocacy for Agenda 2030. Our Country Team has ten agencies, funds or programmes resident in Tirana and nine based in capitals of the region, Vienna, Geneva, Budapest or Istanbul.  It is not until we put the results of all these efforts together across the big strategic goals of our agreed framework government – the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework – that we can see the overall impact of the UN System in 2023 (access the full Albania Progress Report 2023 here). 

UN Albania system collectively delivered USD 60 million, of which 96 percent was committed in-country, with focus on Human Capital Development at 52 percent, 29 percent on Green Growth, Innovation and Climate Change, 14 percent on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights, and 5 percent on Gender Responsive Governance.  The European Union was a key funder in all the four outcome areas, and on joint programming the Governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and Italy and the Peace Building Fund were the largest contributing partners. 2023 was an important year for Albania in its path towards integration into the European Union, and the UN supported these efforts, especially in the screening process across the chapters of EU acquis.  Approving and implementing legislation associated with this process will be a big boost for Albania to deliver on Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, so as UN we stand as close partners. 

It is not until we put the results of all these efforts together across the big strategic goals of our agreed framework government – the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework – that we can see the overall impact of the UN System in 2023.
Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania

Numerically, it is in relation to our strategic priority around Building Human Capital that we see the biggest results.  In fifteen municipalities, to strengthen the social protection system and in keeping with our Leaving No one Behind focus, better planning and service delivery was introduced.  Grants for new services were presented and tailored advice provided to 5600 individuals including Roma and Egyptian (R&E) community members, children with disabilities and vulnerable families. Dedicated sessions were also run on budgeting with 700 women and girls in five municipalities. 60 percent of the local issues they raised were incorporated into local budgets. 15 municipalities updated and costed their local social care plans, emphasizing incorporation of a gender perspective, and establishing an innovative social service delivery.  585 doctors, social workers and social administrators strengthened their capacities to implement the new national disability reform. 

In education, we saw widespread adoption of policies to improve educational practice and encourage digital learning.  Over 1000 teachers and school network leaders were training in a blended learning pedagogy available to half a million students through the online platform  Seventeen Smartlabs were established in upper secondary schools and the Ministry adopted a GIS based technology for management of capacity and infrastructure in 100 schools across six municipalities. Tailored support focusing on basic education, general and digital skills development was provided to 500 individuals to support their socio-economic integration and 52 education facilities were fully reconstructed and also added new facilities for sport and information technology, providing better services to more than 450,000 students, teachers and members of the communities.

Healthcare services also received a boost with expanded services and response systems. Through UN support, primary healthcare services were strengthened with over 250 health personnel trained in child growth and development monitoring and nearly 300 health professionals trained under the National Immunization Programme in better vaccine management and storage. 12,172 home visits conducted contributing to strengthening Primary Health Care while putting children and families at the center of services and focusing on the most vulnerable. 10 standard treatment protocols created for doctors and nurses in newborn care.

The aspect of Inclusive Community Engagement and Socio-Economic Integration of Returnees was also prioritized. Personalized support for over 500 individuals led to enhanced socio-economic integration, focusing on education, skills development, and digital expertise to improve employability. More than 32 returnees were empowered with entrepreneurial potential, fostering establishment of their business, and contributing to economic self-sufficiency. Moreover, in the aftermath of earthquakes, the UN's Livelihood Support Scheme benefitted over 200 households, with an additional 1,500 households receiving psycho-social support and tailored services through collaboration with 14 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  

In the area of Green Growth, Innovation, and Climate Change, efforts were directed towards Employment and Skills Development for the future. The establishment of career centers and connections between young individuals and professionals in various sectors, involving 22 companies, significantly improved youth employment opportunities. The adoption of the National Employment and Skills Strategy (NESS) 2023–2030 further enhanced policy frameworks, ensuring inclusivity in employment for vulnerable groups and soft skills development for over 10,000 youth. Over 10,700 people directly benefited from improved access to skills and lifelong learning programmes, including for Comprehensive Sexual Education. 

Vocational Education and Training (VET) received attention through accreditation of providers and fostering collaboration between VET education and the private sector. This initiative not only enhanced employment prospects but also provided specialized skills training in areas like ICT, agriculture, tourism, and hospitality, benefiting over 600 young individuals.

137 private sector entities innovated their business practices, by mainstreaming environmental, social or economic sustainability elements and 150 private sector entities were exposed to SDG positive business practices.

Women's Economic Empowerment initiatives were instrumental in supporting women's skills enhancement and access to the labor market, particularly in rural areas. The establishment of artisan centers and Local Action Groups (LAGs) underscored efforts to enhance rural women's participation in decision-making and economic opportunities, contributing to overall gender-responsive governance.

With UN support, more than 2,100 people, gained access and benefitted from services from clean, affordable, and sustainable energy. Also, more than 103,900 hectares of terrestrial and marine protected areas were created or were under improved management practices.

In the area of Governance, Rule of Law, and Human Rights, Albania saw notable improvements in Access to Justice. Training programs for law enforcement and justice authorities led to increased inter-sectoral referrals and child-friendly interview units' utilization, ensuring a more supportive justice system. Good governance and participation initiatives reached thousands of families and data and evidence-based policymaking was promoted.

Over 7,990 people had access to justice with UN support. Over 180 justice professionals were trained on justice for children for both children in conflict and those in contact with the law. 206 children in conflict or contact with the law, or at risk of trafficking and 43 parents obtained legal assistance, access to employment programmes, medical attention, social housing or shelter through support of the UN. Tripartite policy recommendation and roadmap on enhancing access to justice for all workers prepared and adopted by tripartite constituents. 18 local governments with more efficient and transparent system of funding of CSOs from public sources. 23 municipalities adopting integrity plans as a corruption prevention tool. 100% of individuals undergoing asylum procedures had access to legal advice or representation.

Our focus on Gender-Responsive Governance yielded tangible results in curbing violence against women, strengthening coordinated referral mechanisms, and promoting gender equality. Notable achievements include increased institutional responses to violence, capacity building for service providers, and engagement of men and boys in addressing harmful practices, showcasing Albania's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment.


Key results inform that 21 institutions with strengthened capacities to improve the provision of essential services, goods and resources for women; 6 legal acts and policy documents developed addressing child marriage as a harmful practice; 9.6% of total national budget allocated to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; and 13 institutions have increased capacities to design and implement institutional reforms, strategies, policies that promote GEWE. 

Albania's progress across these four outcomes and beyond reflects a holistic approach to sustainable development, emphasizing human capital, green growth, good governance, and gender-responsive policies for a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Tirana, April 2024


Agencies, Funds and Programmes

comprised UNCT in Albania, chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary General for development operations in the country.


Million USD

collectively delivered by UN Agencies in Albania 


of Funding

was committed in-country


of Funding

on Human Capital Development


of funding

on Green Growth, Innovation and Climate Change


of funding

on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights


of Funding

on Gender Responsive Governance