International Conference in Tirana – ‘Strengthening Accountability: Empowering efforts against corruption in the Western Balkans’

Regional Anti-corruption Secretariat took part at the high-level international conference organized by The Ministry of Justice of Albania, the Ministry of Public Administration and Anti-Corruption of Albania, in collaboration with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), in Tirana, Albania, on March 4th and 5th, 2024. This conference follows up on the success of a meeting held in Šibenik, Croatia in May 2022, and it’s the primary objective was to facilitate discussions among representatives from governmental institutions, criminal justice bodies, international and regional organizations, academia, and civil society. Participants gathered to address common challenges and explore avenues for enhancing accountability, integrity, and the fight against corruption.

 During the opening session, Minister of Justice of Albania, Ulsi Manja, highlighted the significant challenge of combating corruption in the country focusing on the ongoing reforms within the judicial system and the tangible results visible to the Albanian public.

 Minister of State of Public Administration and Anti-Corruption of Albania, Adea Pirdeni, emphasized the government’s unwavering dedication to improving professionalism within the administration while simultaneously reducing opportunities for corruption and abuse. She stressed the government’s commitment to enhancing the integrity of administrative staff alongside their professional skills.

 Despite the numerous commitments to combat corruption in all its forms, challenges persist in implementing these commitments effectively. The conference provided a platform for sharing experiences, exchanging views, and generating innovative ideas aimed at strategically preventing corruption and enforcing anti-corruption measures. The ultimate goal is to ensure transparent, accountable, and responsible management of public resources for the collective benefit of society.

 At the conference panel on “International/EU anti-corruption commitments: Achievements, challenges, and expectations,” Ms. Desislava Gotskova, Head of RAI Secretariat stressed the need to translate political will into concrete reforms, emphasizing comprehensive approaches, alliances with stakeholders, and regional cooperation in combating corruption. She highlighted RAI’s 20-year commitment to facilitating regional anti-corruption efforts, leveraging partnerships with international organizations, and emphasizing collaboration with diverse sectors to root out corruption.

 During the panel “The role of women in strengthening integrity in public institutions,”, on the second day of Conference, Ms. Desislava Gotskova, Head of RAI Secretariat, outlined challenges women face in upholding integrity, including gender bias, underrepresentation in leadership, the glass ceiling, societal expectations, and work-life balance. She stressed the need to address gender-specific issues like sextortion and advocated for mentoring and networking opportunities. Additionally, while RAI doesn’t monitor gender mainstreaming in anti-corruption strategies, they promote it in all activities, suggesting more active advocacy for gender-sensitive policies and greater female involvement in decision-making.

 The conference in Tirana served as a critical forum for advancing collective efforts to combat corruption and organized crime. Participants departed with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to translating discussions into concrete actions that promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.