Albanian Prime Minister tackles his country’s film reputation at UN debate

Edi Rama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

28 September 2013 – Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told the United Nations General Assembly today that after the treatment his Balkan country received in recent films as a hotbed of violence, mobsters and human trafficking rings, even he was afraid to be in his own homeland.

“In truth, people around the world maybe don't know that much about Albania, but what they think they know is not good. The film industry has not been kind to us. Wag The Dog? Taken? Taken 2? Even I was a bit scared to be in Albania after that,” Mr. Rama said, referring to the films. “I hope one day (actors) Liam Neeson, Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro can visit, see what a beautiful country it is, feel the potential that I feel.

Still, he acknowledged that Albania does have real problems such as corruption, and he also called for urgent UN reform especially in the provision of development aid.

“I am not naive. Our problems are not all based in Hollywood. Some are real, and damaging. Corruption, which scars countries in the way the swish of a blade can scar a beautiful face. It deters legitimate investors from investing. It holds back progress. It stops people from believing there can ever be fairness. Corruption can and must be beaten.”

Noting that the world has changed tremendously over the past decades and is changing at an even faster pace now, he said the UN must follow suit. “UN reform is not only necessary, it has become imperative. If we fail to agree and act on this, the role the UN is to play will remain incomplete,” he added.

He referred to ongoing reform of the delivery of UN development assistance, citing the ‘Delivering as One’ programme, under which eight countries - Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Viet Nam - volunteered to become programme pilots.

The pilot countries agreed to work with the UN system to capitalize on the strengths and comparative advantages of the different members of the UN family. Together they are experimenting with ways to increase the UN system’s impact through more coherent programmes, reduced transaction costs for governments, and lower overhead costs for the UN system.

“In the course of a few years, Delivering as One has proved to be a valuable achievement and it represents today an avenue for deeper reform,” Mr. Rama said. “If we want more effectiveness, better efficiency, a coherent action by various UN actors, if we aim for better results on the ground, better value for money, Delivering as One is the way.”

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