RAI Secretariat contributed the Week of Integrity in Albania

RAI Secretariat contributed the conference Promoting integrity: The individual, the organization and beyond as part of the Week of Integrity in Albania, held on December 7, 2022 in Tirana.

The plenary panel session Integrity: a valuable proposition was moderated by RAI Whislteblowing Expert and Executive Director of Whistleblower International Mark Worth. On this session,  Suzan Uhlen, the expert from the Swedish Tax Agency who is working with the Albanian authorities on increasing their efficiency, noted that one way of becoming more efficient in tax authority is about building the trust of public in the tax system as whole and its administration. The tax administration and system need to treat all actors in a fair, accountable and transparent manner. „It is also about internalization of the culture. You can have a great legal framework and code of ethics but you have to build the culture, and culture takes time to make a difference“, said Uhlen.

“Insisting on dignity is important because it reminds individuals of their worth and the worth of other individuals around, said Nita Shala, Country Director at Global Dignity of Albania and Kosovo*.

„When we notice we are in a situation of  witnessing a miscounduct, we have the options of ignoring or picking our battles, and to take a stand and express our dislike and report it. We are embedded in corruption in all sectors. It is a phenomenon around us, it is important to have a self reflection approach to the phenomenon. When thinking about improving integrity we should start from ourselves“, emphasized Shala.

“Live training with different scenarios are important for improving the practices in private companies. It is important to educate the people what is a conflict of interest”, said Niels Wohlwend from the Basel Institute of Governance who joined the session remotely.

Gjergj Prebibaj from the Anti-corruption Network of the Ministry of Justice said that preserving integrity within public institutions is a great challenge. Sanctions and repressive measures against corrupted individuals, as well as implementation of integrity plans are most effective tools for fighting corruption”, said Prebibaj.

RAI Secretariat led the organization of the afternoon breakout session Whistleblowing and whistleblowers and institutions. This session aimed to bring together executives and experts from the private and public sector, non-governmental sector and academia, with a common interest, and discuss issues and ideas relating to whistleblowing as one of the most effective means to prevent, detect and fight fraud and corruption.

The welcome speeches were deliverd by EU representative Peter Danis, Program Officer, Good Governance and the Rule of Law of the EU Delegation, and Majlinda Thomaj, Inspector at the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflicts of Interest (HIDAACI).

RAI’s Project officer Arman Fazlic presented the deliverables related to whistleblower protection in Western Balkans and Moldova, produced in the framework of the EU-funded project ‘Breaking the Silence: Enhancing the Whistleblowing Policies and Culture in Western Balkans and Moldova’, including the Model Provisions for Whistleblower Protection Laws, the Self-assessment Tool for Whistleblower Protection Systems, and Public Legal Education on Whistleblowing.

The breakout session included the premiere screening of one of the human insterest stories videos “Behind the Whistle”, about the whistleblower from Montenegro, followed by the discussion and analysis of the personal and emotional aspects of a whislteblower journey.

The breakout session, that gathered 18 participants, representatives of civil society organizations, public institutions, public and private enterprises and academia, included the insightful presentation of the Public Legal Education tool on Whistleblowing for Albania, delivered by Arjan Dyrmishi, coordinator of the SEE Coalition for Whistleblower protection.

RAI Whsitleblowing Expert Mark Worth discussed with participant on how to recognize and address whistleblower related stigma.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.