A delegation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has taken part in the international donors’ conference “Together for Albania”. The event, hosted by the European Commission, was convened to support reconstruction efforts in Albania after one of the strongest earthquakes in the country’s history struck on 26 November 2019. A Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, launched jointly by the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank, concluded that the total recovery needs of the country exceed EUR 1 billion across all sectors in the 11 affected municipalities of Tirana and Durrës – a financial challenge that cannot be addressed by the country single-handedly.
Delivering welcoming remarks, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, called on all donors and partners to support the joint effort and extend a helping hand to Albania and its population.
During his meeting with the Albanian delegation, UNIDO’s Deputy to the Director General, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, expressed condolences and deep solidarity with the Government and all the people of Albania, especially the communities most affected by the earthquake.
“I share the deep sense of distress at the loss of life, the devastation and the suffering caused by the deadly earthquake and welcome the efforts to coordinate the response of donors and international partners – both to raise resources and contribute expertise to support Albania,” said Kuniyoshi
A total of 714 businesses suffered damage, with the result that 438 employees from 56 manufacturing businesses and 79 employees from 124 trading companies lost their jobs.
UNIDO offered to contribute with its technical expertise to support the rehabilitation of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) which are key to socio-economic recovery and sustainable progress. Additional support could be provided in the areas of business development services, market linkages, micro-finance schemes and business promotion.
To support the reconstruction country’s efforts, UNIDO stands ready to initiate concrete technical cooperation projects under its five-year Country Programme with the Government of Albania. The programme, focusing on such domains as sustainable tourism and its linkages with related industries, including food and handicraft, can help create jobs and stimulate economic growth – both in cities and rural areas. With Durrës being Albania’s largest tourism destination, such initiatives have the potential to deliver concrete results for economic recovery after the earthquake and enhance inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the region.
To determine concrete follow-up steps, UNIDO’s Kuniyoshi held bilateral meetings with National Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Coordinator, Milva Ekonomi, and Managing Director of the European External Action Service Responsible for Human Rights, Global and Multilateral Issues, Lotte Knudsen. The counterparts noted that intergovernmental organizations – including the EU and the UN – are well-placed to change global development dynamics. The European Union is UNIDO’s largest donor of voluntary contribution from governmental sources.