For Albania, EU membership is a key priority and the most important strategic ambition of the country. A significant element of the European integration process relates to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). European integration and sustainable development are closely related to one another and, because of this, Europe 2020 EU Strategy is based on the pillars of achieving the “smart”, sustainable and all-inclusive objectives.
The young attendees at this conference had the opportunity to hear from the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth, Ms. Evis Kushi, the Minister of Tourism and Environment, Mr. Bledi Klosi, the distinguished expert of environmental issues, Prof. Assoc. Dr. Mihallaq Qirjo, the representative of “Ardeno” business, Mr. Tonin Alia, as well as representatives of two foundations, Ms. Teuta Vodo and Ms. Jonida Smaja.
Despite the reform processes, Albania’s human resources are not used optimally. This is visible in the low levels of employment and concerning workforce participation levels (in particular for women and youth in the rural areas) as well as in the high labor migration levels. About 30% of the youth of 15-29 years of age in Albania are not educated, employed, or trained, which raises serious questions regarding the perspectives of this generation.
Development opportunities for Albania require a comprehensive approach to employment, education, migration, social protection, services, rural development, and investments in infrastructure and macro-economic and sector-based growth enabling policies. Policy reforms are at the very heart of the EU admission process and have been identified as a priority, they are important in addressing the country’s socio-economic challenges.
This conference provided an opportunity for the main stakeholders in Albania, as well as businesses and experts, to engage in a sincere discussion on the challenges ahead. Encouraging them to adapt approaches towards sustainable development, the employment of young people, and the building of their capacities.