September 2015 and since then has embarked into a process of integration and mainstreaming of the Agenda 2030 with the National Strategy for Development and Integration 2015–2020 (NSDI II) and National Statistical Programme II.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee on the SDGs, chaired by the deputy prime minister and featuring membership of development partners, civil society, academia and the private sector, and an inter-institutional working group for achievement of the SDGs, have been operational since May 2017. In December 2017, Parliament unanimously approved a resolution committing to the promotion, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. In parallel with this approval, 25 Albanian universities signed a Declaration of Commitment to play an active role in advancing the Agenda, while the civil society council approved a declaration in support of the Goals. Moreover, the SDGs are integrated into the NSDI and the National Statistical PrFogramme 2016–2020 . Meanwhile, the Rapid Integration Assessment tool of UNDP has been applied and a report on the Harmonisation of the SDGs with Existing Sectoral Policies, finalised in 2017 and launched in February 2018, serves as a useful baseline.
In 2018, Albania’s deputy prime minister presented the country’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals at the 2018 high-level political forum (HLPF) held in July under the theme ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’. The Review—benefiting from sub-national and civil society consultations—highlighted progress made, particularly in the areas of judicial reform, public administration reform, intensification of the fight against corruption, increasing the fight against organised crime, and ensuring of the protection of human rights, including property rights. At the same time, particularly from the perspective of Leave No One Behind, the Review noted that further progress was needed for social protection, inclusion of Roma and Balkan Egyptian communities, persons with disabilities, children, minorities and other excluded communities. The national statistical office, INSTAT, prepared a statistical annex that accompanied the Review.
During the HLPF, the Albania Permanent Mission to the UN, UNDP and Switzerland co-organised a side-event that underscored the regional aspects of the 2030 Agenda and especially the value of the EU integration process as an accelerator for the SDGs. With the participation of Serbia and Montenegro alongside Albania, the three cases focused on common SDG challenges across the Western Balkans and how EU accession can accelerate achievements.
In 2018, the UN, in collaboration with the government, undertook an SDG mission focused on Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support (MAPS), the first in the Western Balkans. The joint UN mission drew on a simultaneous deployment of experts from regional offices, in collaboration with the EU and the World Bank, and identified three main accelerators of SDGs in Albania: i) governance and the rule of law, ii) investments in an inclusive, green economy, and iii) investment in social and human capital. The MAPS report was launched officially by government on 19 September, and at the same time the UN and the government announced the establishment of the Albania SDG Acceleration Fund. The Albanian government has committed itself to an annual contribution to this fund of USD 2 million and, with this leading contribution, other, flexible, matching funds will be sought from partners. In 2018, Sweden and Switzerland supported the Fund with contributions for gender equality and social inclusion.
During 2018, the UN Country Team also undertook a budget analysis of SDG-related spending in Albania (2015–2017) to build evidence for investment trends in the SDGs, and UNDP undertook a needs assessment of INSTAT capacities so that they can better monitor and report publicly on the Goals.
Successful achievement of the sustainable development goals will require assignment and mobilisation of institutional resources in Albania, responsible for mainstreaming the SDGs in the national strategies, policies and plans, including the monitoring and reporting progress. In addition, improved capacities to prepare better, faster, detailed and reliable data would support Albania in making steady progress in the development agenda.
To support the government of Albania to prepare SDGs passports with intermediate targets for SDG country related indicators, the DDGG is looking to hire the expertise of a national consultant who will collaborate with relevant partners (government and non-governmental) for the completion of this assignment. The consultant will be working closely with the UN agencies, including strong collaboration with the UN SDG Task Force members.
 Whereas Albania’s NSDI II is closely aligned with the SDGs at the target level, alignment at the indicator level is more modest. Less than one-third of the 232 global SDG indicators are used for tracking progress in NSDI implementation and other national development documents, out of more than a total of 1,200 indicators employed.