Sida has instructed the Embassy in Tirana to develop an assessment basis, which will guide the work of Sweden to develop a strategy for development cooperation in Albania which includes analysis of Albania's challenges in order to qualify as candidate for EU membership. One of these areas is a functioning land market. Currently the legal rights to ownership and registration of properties is not guaranteed. Albanian citizens rights relating to land title and their property borders have been recognized in court by the European Court of Justice in disputes with to the Albanian State. Lack of clarity regarding formal and informal use of agricultural and forestry land is possibly even greater than for real estate in cities. In 2008, the state has transferred the ownership and the right to use half of all forest and grassland to 250 of the country's 330 municipalities. Sweden has since 2005 supported the Albanian authorities for registration of properties (Immovable, Property Registration Office, IPRO) and via the World Bank and partly by an authority co-operation (twinning) with the Swedish National Land Survey. Historically, there has not been gender equality with regard to ownership and use of land property. It is likely that there is a gender bias also in the inheritance law and civil law and by Sida funded program permanents existing gender inequality.
The purpose of this study was to provide background information to Sida for further development and possible support to the area of land rights in Albania in general and with a focus on property related to natural resources. The study reviewed last year’s land reforms with special attention to gender inclusion and protection of the rights of women, including inheritance and rights in case of divorce. The study also covered the concept of rights, including usufructory rights, and if and how they are codified or reflected as “traditional rights” (kanun) as well as access to natural resources, i.a. medical and aromatic plants, nuts) and highlighted constraints in women’s right to organize in the value-chain or customary impediments for women economic empowerment.