The Cultural Heritage Act No 9048, approved on 7/04/2003, provides the most important legal framework for all the activities in relation to preserving, promoting and managing the Albanian national heritage. On 27/07/2006, certain amendments were made by Act No 9592, which introduced the National Committee of National Heritage as an advisory body. This Committee is composed of a series of senior officials who are directly responsible for the promotion of cultural heritage in Albania. Article 17 provides for the establishment of a National Council for Restoration, which controls permission for any interventions to cultural heritage buildings or monuments. Amongst others it aims to solve some important issues in the sector, for example:
- to regulate the institutional and administrative co-operation between authorities that are responsible for cultural heritage, urbanisation and the natural ecosystem;
- to define the relationship between the state and the individual in the administration of cultural monuments under private ownership;
- to introduce new methods of protecting and restoring cultural heritage, which need to be reformulated in accordance with experiences in West European countries;
- to define the measures against illegal trade in the realm of cultural heritage;
- to clarify the responsibilities of the local authorities in the protection of cultural heritage;
- to resolve the questions concerning the rights of individuals relating to ownership of land and buildings that are recognised as immovable heritage assets and in relation to moveable heritage objects.
Since the collapse of the old regime, owners of buildings (private persons, religious groups) can reclaim possession of their property. A Commission for the Restitution of Properties to deal with this question was established in 1994. According to the current legislation, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports either keeps the private buildings and pays an appropriate rent to the proprietors or it dispossesses the proprietors.
Administrative responsibilities for the built heritage and cultural environment have yet to be allocated between state, regional and municipal authorities. On the other hand, Museum Act No 9386, approved on 04/05/2005, aimed to create the necessary legal framework to support the local and national networks of museums in Albania. Article 5 created the State Committee for Museums as an advisory and decision-making structure, which plays an important role in defining the policies and rules on museum management. On 23 November 2005, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports launched a Document entitled “Towards a Strategy of Cultural and Ecological Tourism Development”. It was followed on 17 December 2005 by the Strategy and Plan of Action for Cultural and Environmental Tourism Development. Within this framework, cultural heritage is seen as the main attraction and is expected to receive a stronger funding commitment by the government for the archaeological and architectural sites of Albania.