Albania: Cultural Heritage for Social and Economic Development


The joint programme was designed to strengthen the capacities of Albania in the area of culture and development, and to boost the role of Albania’s cultural identity and heritage in the promotion of the country’s image abroad. In doing so, the joint programme made an important contribution to Albania’s national priority of accession to the European Union.

The programme utilized a participatory approach at the policy, state and local intervention levels to:

  1. Support the development of cultural policies;
  2. Improve Albania's capacities for the protection, promotion and management of cultural assets; and
  3. Safeguard the most valuable cultural heritage monuments and sites.

It also strengthened the cultural industries sector so as to contribute to Albania's socio-economic development and its achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Main achievements included:

  • The Law on Intangible Heritage was amended with support from the joint programme, which also assisted in the renovation or development of several museums and heritage sites, including the National History Museum and the archaeological Museum of Apollonia, which reopened after 20 years. It also created two tourism information centres to facilitate access to Albanian cultural heritage. 
  • A successful business incubator was established in Gjirokaster, Albania, aimed at empowering artisans, mostly women, to enrich their scope of activities, better promote their works and increase their income. More than 250 artisans in Gjirokaster and surrounding areas directly benefited from the centre, and more than 500 micro- and small entrepreneurs participated in or attended the annual artisan fair, which was enhanced with support from the joint programme.
  • The joint programme also supported a new Cultural and Resource Management Master’s course under the aegis of the University of Tirana and fully accredited within the public higher education system. The course provides both bachelor students and existing cultural employees (including public sector staff) with an opportunity for skill development at home, rather than abroad. Visiting professors and a scholarship programme for non-resident Albanian students also contributed to the reputation and visibility of this initiative. 


Click here for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Albania.


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 13 Aug 2008 - 06 Dec 2011
Net funded amount $3,259,733
Participating UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO
National partners Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Education and Science; National History Museum; Institute of Monuments of Culture; Institute of Education Development; National Tourism Agency; National Film Archive of Albania; National Centre of Cultural Assets Inventory; National Centre of Folk Events; National Centre for Albanian Studies; Municipality of Berat; Municipality of Gjirokastra; Administrative Offices of Archaeological Park of Apollonia; Administrative Offices of Archaeological Park of Antigonea; Tirana University; World Federation of Tour Guide Associations; Albanian Forum of Alliance of Civilizations (NGO); Albanian Media Institute (NGO); Institute of Dialogue and Communication (NGO); International Centre for Albanian Archaeology (ICAA); Albanian Artisan Association (NGO); Gjirokastra Conservation and Development Office (NGO); Interarts (NGO, Spain); Tourism Development International (Private company, Ireland)
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