Students in group work in a vocational high school in Mitrovica, Kosovo. The organization Spark is, with support from Sida, organizing trainings with the aim to give young people skills that lead to jobs, but also to diminish ethnic tensions.
Our work in Kosovo
Sida is working to improve living conditions for people living in poverty in Kosovo. That will require a more efficient public administration, but also measures to improve the environment as well as private sector development to create new jobs.
Sida's support to Kosovo began after the Balkan wars and was focused on reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. Refugees were assisted to return and rebuild their homes. Today Sida supports Kosovo's reforms for strengthened democracy, rule of law, transparency, and sustainable economic development. Kosovo is one of the poorest countries of Europe, and the objective of the development cooperation is to improve living conditions while making it possible for Kosovo to integrate with the EU.
Democratic governance and human rights
Efficiency and transparency are essential elements of a democratic and well-functioning public administration and those are also requirements for an EU membership. Kosovo faces major challenges in this area, including inefficiency, and the country is also one of the most corrupt in Europe.
Sida contributes in several different ways to the strengthening of the public administration of Kosovo, including capacity development of the ministry of education. Extensive support is also given to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics to increase transparency, credibility and accessibility of public data. The support contributed to the Kosovo Census in 2011 which was conducted according to international standards.
Since 2008 Sida has been supporting the implementation of property tax in Kosovo, which has resultet in an increase of municipal revenues from property taxes by 75 percent over five years. The tax revenues have been used to improve public services such as schools and infrastructure. The project was expanded in 2014 to also include land value tax.
Gender equality is a priority in Sida's development cooperation with Kosovo with a focus on increasing women's participation in decision making, combating gender-based violence and promoting cooperation between women of different ethnic backgrounds. Sida has also contributed to a gender analysis at the national level that highlights several important challenges before an EU integration. Sida is also working actively to promote LGBT rights.
Sida's democracy support also aims to strengthen the opportunities of citizens and civil society to actively participate in the development of society, for example by supporting the development of free and independent media. Sida has also contributed to minority groups getting public information in their native language, which promotes social inclusion and opportunities to participate in public life.
A major challenge for Kosovo is private sector development which would create jobs and reduce the very high unemployment, especially for the young population and for women.
Sida supports the International Business College of Mitrovica, a higher vocational multiethnic school located in the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica. The school aims to improve the employability of its students by providing them with practical skills, experience from working in multi-ethnic environments as well as knowledge of EU trade and EU integration. The students are prepared for self-employment and for taking jobs in the public sector.
There are also plans to promote small and medium enterprises.
Environment and climate
Kosovo is dependent on coal power plants for its energy production and illegal logging leads to erosion. There are also problems with the management of waste and wastewater. Large investments are required, and Sida supports Kosovo's efforts to increase local environmental investments, improve environmental management at both central and local levels, and to update the national environmental strategy and environmental action plan.
The government of Kosovo has also received support in developing a national strategy for environmentally sustainable forestry, which will now be implemented in dialogue with partners and stakeholders. The goal is to increase forestry productivity, contribute to positive environmental effects and create jobs.
The environmental work also includes the development of alternative and renewable energy sources.