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Sida's work in Kosovo

Around a third of Kosovo's population live in poverty, making it one of the poorest countries in Europe. Sida's support for human rights, democratisation and sustainable development aims to create the conditions for the young country to move closer to the EU.

Sida’s support in Kosovo 2021

Total development assistance 128857000 SEK, Reform cooperation 128857000 SEK.

Progress has been made

The highest growth in the region

Kosovo has had the highest economic growth in the region for a decade 1. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a halt in economic development in 2020.2

More money for schools and healthcare

In 2018, a new property tax law was introduced that improves local government finances and provides more money for important sectors such as schools and healthcare.3

Stronger rights for the people

International conventions on human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination have been written into Kosovo’s constitution.

Challenges remain

Increased poverty

More people have found life difficult on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy has weakened and many people are unemployed and have lower incomes. The country’s economy does not contribute to equitable social development.4

Corruption on the rise

Kosovo is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, and the newly-elected government won the election largely on the back of promises to fight corruption.5

Widespread violence against women

Gender-based violence and human rights violations remain widespread. The pandemic has further exacerbated the situation.

Reform cooperation in Kosovo

Kosovo is about the size the swedish county of Skåne and is the youngest country in Europe. Previously, Kosovo was part of neighbouring Serbia, which does not want to recognise the state of Kosovo. Relations between the countries continue to be fraught. Several other countries also refuse to recognise Kosovo as a state. Society is characterised by poverty and patriarchal structures. Unemployment is high and discrimination and violence against women are widespread.

Economic development

There is strong popular support for joining the EU. The country took important steps towards EU membership in 2015. Kosovo signed an agreement with the EU on economic assistance and cooperation, free trade, political dialogue, alignment with EU legislation and cooperation in areas such as criminal justice and policing. The road to EU membership is still long as the government has not made it a priority.

Improved working conditions

Unemployment in Kosovo is high and incomes have fallen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.6 Women are discriminated against and largely excluded from the labour market. With the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Sida is working to improve people’s working conditions and make work safer.

UNOPS’ website

Easier to start a business

Many women and young people are outside the labour market. Sida is therefore supporting Innovation Centre Kosovo, which aims to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation and create more jobs.

Innovation Centre Kosovo’s website

Democracy and human rights

Kosovo is politically unstable and has experienced several governmental crises in a short period of time. In addition, the country is one of the most corrupt in Europe. On Transparency International’s corruption index for 2020, Kosovo is ranked 104 out of 180 countries.7

Strengthening civil society

In Kosovo, there are few opportunities for citizens to make their voices heard. Through a partnership with the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), Sida is helping train and strengthen civil society organisations.

KCFS’ website

One step closer to the EU

Although both the government and the opposition want Kosovo to join the EU, many people feel that the necessary reforms are not being implemented fast enough. Sida is supporting the GAP institute, which promotes good governance, conducts research and offers policy recommendations with the aim of bringing Kosovo closer to the EU.

GAP’s website

Gender equality in legislation

Kosovo is a male-dominated society and, despite good legislation, the country still lacks gender equality. Women are significantly under-represented in the labour market and in decision-making roles. Sida’s support for the Agency for Gender Equality is contributing to the organisation’s work to incorporate gender equality in government policies and frameworks.

Agency for Gender Equality’s website

Environment and climate

Kosovo has major environmental problems. Almost all electricity is produced in coal-fired power plants and forests are illegally felled. Waste and wastewater management is deficient. As Kosovo is not a member of the UN, it is not involved in international initiatives to reduce climate change and environmental problems.

Increased protection for biological diversity

Kosovo’s environmental legislation is substandard. In partnership with the country’s Ministry of the Environment, Sida is helping train actors at state and municipal level in environmental issues. The goal is environmental legislation in line with EU Directives. The aid also helps increase biodiversity protection and improve the management of natural areas.

Sustainable forestry

Illegal felling is a major environmental problem in Kosovo. Through the organisation Connecting Natural Values with People (CNVP), Sida is supporting local forestry associations that organise rural inhabitants to promote sustainable, decentralised forestry.

CNVP’s website

Updated: December 29, 2021